While putting my son to bed one night, he mentioned, in an annoyed voice, that he wished we were like the family he watches on YouTube. You know, the kids with the mega huge house, all the latest and greatest toys and both mom and dad who stay home and played with them.
I knew exactly how he felt. I had felt that way a time or two as well after being on social media for too long. So I gave him a little squeeze and explained that what we see on YouTube is only a sliver of great moments patched together into one video. While that family might seem to have it all, we do not know what happens when the cameras are turned off.
After my conversation, however, I couldn’t help but think that even though he might only be 10 years old, his reactions to seeing someone with all that ‘stuff’ is similar to my own reaction when I see a friend’s vacation posts on Facebook or another’s gorgeous house on Instagram.
I’m sure you’ve felt that way before as well.
Especially when we see others with all the things we strive to have as well.
And there is nothing wrong with admiring the good in someone else’s life. But when that feeling threatens to take your joy and makes you lose sight of all the good in your own life, then its time to change your perspective and do some self-reflection.
How I deal with feelings of jealously
I have learned something so wonderful that I wanted to share it with you, in the hopes that it will help you, especially, if you are dealing with discontentment in your life or if you’re wondering why you are not as happy as you should be.
You see, as my relationship with Jesus continues to evolve and grow, I am able to look at the ‘riches’ of other so differently now.
The truth is we compare ourselves to others daily. But as the saying goes, there will always be people who have less than us and there will always be those who have more than you or I. And, quite frankly, that’s okay.
I love the reading from Mark 10:17 about the rich man and was last Sunday’s gospel reading. This man had followed all the commandments and was kind and humble it seems. He tried to live a good life and genuinely wanted to get to heaven. He was also very wealthy.
When he asked Jesus what he had to do to get into heaven, Jesus said to him,
“you need only one thing. Go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me.”
Of course when the rich man heard this, he was sad because he could not fathom selling everything he had and be left with nothing. Perhaps he had worked hard for his fortune, maybe it was given to him from his family. We do not really know how he got his money, but the message from Jesus is clear.
This is the same thing Jesus is saying to you and I. Not necessary to sell everything we have but rather, He challenges us to answer this crucial question: what is the thing that is standing between me and my relationship with Jesus.
What are your proverbial ‘riches’ that are preventing you from keeping your eyes firmly on Jesus and building a relationship with him?
What steals your joy or occupies much of your time and heart?
Filling the Void
I believe that we are all created for a purpose. God made you and I and sent us to earth with a mission that we should complete.
God in all His goodness did not send us alone though. He sent our guardian angels to watch over us and the Holy Spirit, the source of our joy, to guide us. There is a yearning inside each of us for peace, joy and contentment and we do all we can to find it.
Sadly, many of us try to fill the empty space with money, indulgences, other people, wealth, stardom, recognition, you name it, we go on thinking, hoping and wishing that the next big accomplishment or person will make us feel content.
Yet what I have come to realize is that no one can find lasting peace and joy without being in a relationship with Jesus and through Him have a relationship with God, our Father.
I believe with all my heart, that there is a space in each of us that only God can fill. When we were created, God left a small space in our hearts that only the Holy Spirit can fit in. No matter what we try to jam in there, only God can give us the true joy we are seeking.
Your husband cannot do it.
Your kids cannot do it.
That corporate job with the fancy title cannot do it.
The house with the Pottery Barn furniture cannot do it.
Your friends cannot do it.
The expensive vacation cannot do it.
Only God can!
All these things makes us happy, and brings us temporary joy but when we rely on them as our sole source of contentment then we are like the rich man and putting those things in between us and God.
Lucky for us, Jesus Christ is our savior and He is not only able, but He is willing, ready and waiting for you to invite Him into that space; a space made especially for His presence.
Isn’t that so amazing?
When we start living life with that knowledge tucked in our heart; that conviction that only through a relationship with Jesus can we find the peace and joy we seek, we start to truly find lasting contentment.
Truthfully, we all want to live comfortably, go on vacations with our families, be able to afford nice things and not worry about the month being longer than the paycheck. And there is nothing wrong with wanting and having nice things. I want those things too.
But let us not make the pursuit of riches be our focus and purpose. You and I were created for much, much bigger things.
Starting today, let us remove all the things in our lives that stand between us and Jesus. And with Jesus as our focus let us move forward with the firm knowledge that He alone is our guide and our joy!
When we have Jesus as our shepherd, our sole source of guidance and protection, we will find that the riches we seek are already ours and the riches we do accumulate here on earth are just the cherry on top of the goodness that only Jesus can bring.
I hope that you will move on with your day knowing that you are loved by your God, and that the joy your seek is the Holy Spirit that is already within you!