For instance, the garden produces to the level that I cannot get out to harvest anything. It is a new Truth of Life recently discovered. I have also noticed that The Food Network, The Cooking Channel, and even PBS... they all could use some new cooking shows.
I now know at what time of the day it is best to catch Tec the Tractor on the channel which is supposed to be for people who have babies and preschoolers (what can I say, it is filmed in Wales and so very cute) and what morning's PBS lineup I like best.
But what I really learned during this process is that one who must stay fairly quiet and in one place should not view Instagram in the Summer... or perhaps I should include Winter for Australia is in Summer mode then. For it will make you believe that everyone else in the whole wide world is out vacationing at a beach, in the mountains, or at least in some really fun amusement park.
When you are trying to get up to make cereal for dinner,
I learned long ago that the contentment I feel towards God in general and life in particular has much to do with not comparing myself to others. For I can always find what I'm looking for... if I want to look righteous then I know where to look for people with obvious sins. If I want to feel miserable then I can always find someone who is more successful, richer, more attractive, and healthier.
As if I think God doesn't know what I am doing. Hey Lord, look at them. I'm better than them! Hey Lord, I can write just as good as that person so why does she have yet another book on the Top Ten list at Amazon? Ummm... God. You do know that photo on Instagram shows exactly the place I've always wanted to go and never made it?
Where are you, God? Why am I flat on my back and everyone else in the entire world is out there having fun and writing books and eating delicious meals in amazing places. You obviously have either 1) forgotten about me, or 2) you don't care. Sheesh.
But as I leave my pitty party brought on by comparing my lot in life to those with iPhone photos on Instagram... He opens my eyes to the millions upon millions of people suffering in this world. Many of them love Him as I do. Most suffering far more than I will ever suffer this side of Eternity.
For you see, if there is one thing the enemy of our souls knows will cause the average Christian to turn their backs on the Lord, it is in the simple act of comparing oneself to others... and it is rarely people who have it far worse than we do that the enemy brings upon our path.
No... it is usually the person who has what we want whether it is as simple as a pizza made in some fancy backyard brick oven or a house decorated just in the style we love. The enemy loves to have us compare our old car with the neighbor's new Porsche, even if our family would not fit in to such a small automobile.
We notice that he takes better photos than us and that we can never write as good as her and that her dress is made with expensive fabric and that their kids always behave and if they show one more Instagram photo of their new baby when you long for a child so much it hurts... the enemy knows how it affects you and me and us and all God's children.
So do you close your Instagram account and never go on Facebook? Unfortunately, while it may add a lot more time to your day, it will never get rid of the human need to compare our life to another. It has been going on since the days of Cain and Abel.
This Summer I learned how to battle the devil formerly known as Lucifer by doing something simple. You know all about how the Lord told us to pray for our enemies? Well, I learned to pray for those people posting pretty images on Instagram and be thankful for them.
For those I know either personally or have an Internet acquaintance... I pray for them as God leads. The people I know only through pretty photos and I'm fairly sure don't know my Friend... I pray for their salvation. For writers with new books and artists with gorgeous paintings and craftspeople with the most amazing works of art and people who get paid to cook coming up with the most delicious recipes... I thank God for their creativity.
A thankful heart cannot live in a bitter soul... or should I turn that around? Bitterness will not be able to flourish in a thankful soul. So thank God for what you have and know if you are able to read this on a computer or other device, you are richer than 99.9% of the world. Even if your dinner is not Instagram worthy.
When jealousy sets in, think of children whose homes have been wiped out by war and floods and fires. Somehow it makes laying on a comfy sofa with one's fluffed up pillow and access to lots of books and beverages and flowers on the deck and a Maine Coon snoozing beside the sofa seem like Heaven on earth.
Artist: Susan Wheeler