Note to self: It’s not a competition, stupid.
I am enormously blessed to have many friends.
Some of my friends have parents who were able to pay for their education. One of my friends’ parents even paid for their car, still pay for their credit card, and for their ticket home to visit.
Some of my friends have bought houses already, and have yards, and weekend projects, and beautiful interior decorating schemes.
Some of my friends really lucked out in the job department, and are making tons of money doing awesome things. Some of my friends married men who are making a good amount of money, and can afford to stay home, or – at least – to find endeavors which they enjoy, without the stress of making ‘enough’ money.
Some of my friends live lives where they are constantly on adventure. One of my friends has traveled to Thailand, India, Jerusalem, Morocco, New Zealand. One of my friends is a party girl in the big city, has been backstage at amazing concerts, and has partied with glitterati in clubs in Prague, LA, Paris.
Some of my friends live surrounded by their family, hang out with their brothers and sisters on the reg, and can hug their mother or ask their father’s advice on a bad day.
Some of my friends are blessed (yes, blessed) with children – either on the way or already here – who turn their lives upside down. Some of my friends have cycles like clockwork, symptoms that are easy-to-read, and bodies which cooperate.
One of my friends can eat whatever she wants and stay model-thin.
One of my friends has a marvelous wardrobe and a sophisticated sense of style, so she always looks put together and polished. One of my friends could put a fabulous outfit together even if she were dropped blindfolded into a clown closet – and still look awesome.
And then there’s me.
And I cannot tell you how many times I have sat in confession and had to confess jealousy, envy, and an inability to rely on God to provide.
Except, here’s the thing: I am exactly where and who I am supposed to be. I am married to a man who is so perfectly my match that I cannot for a moment doubt that God intended him for me.
I don’t know where the problem comes from. Is it me? Am I by nature an envious person? Is it our culture? Commercials, movies, television, programming me to want more and more? I don’t know, and I don’t know that it matters.
Here’s what I do know, on an intellectual level, and what I strive to internalize and know on a more visceral level:
It’s not a competition.
We’re not racing. There’s no prize for the first person to pay off their college loans, and the one with the biggest TV certainly doesn’t win. Why is this so hard for me to understand? Why can’t I just get it?
Everything we have on earth is temporary, ephemeral in the face of our eternal life. We’re working for something much bigger & better than any vaulted ceilings, any six-figure income, or anything you could put on a credit card. So why can’t I stay focused on what’s actually important?
It’s not a competition. It isn’t. You can’t win, and you can’t lose. The people around me aren’t my opponents, they’re not adversaries, they’re my teammates – allies. So how do I conquer this envy? How do I overcome this icky feeling?
I guess the only way I know how is to pray hard, and to focus on the good things I do have.
So what about you, any advice on how to overcome this fascination with the material?