Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Grass is Always Greener

So the saying is older than dirt, and we've all heard it. "The grass is always greener on the other side." One variation I read said, "The grass is always greener on the other side of the septic tank." Those of you who have never lived "out in the country" will have to ask someone with different life experience to explain that one to you. Once you understand it, it's especially ummm.... profound? Something like that, anyway.

Our Lord speaks to us PLENTY about contentment in his word. I won't go through all the scriptures here, but I'd encourage you to take a look. There's a whole lot of wisdom there. I'm thinking that maybe those things we struggle with most get an exceptional amount of attention in God's word. You know, idolatry of all sorts, taming our tongues, being focused on worldly things... those seem to be issues that we all struggle with at some time or another. So I'm guessing I'm not alone in constantly having to force myself to put my eyes and heart on things of importance, rather than being distracted by the "haves" and the "have nots."

I wish this was only an adult issue, or that it only related to the car you drive, the house you live in, or the job you work at, but unfortunately it runs so much deeper than that. Girls (and at a frighteningly young age) are thinking they'd be just perfect if they had Janie's hair/lips/curves/shoulders/boyfriend/parents/room/stuff. That scares me to death for my own daughters. Here's another scary facet of the same issue: how can I teach my girls to value what God has created them to be if I can't find my own happy place? One night I made a slightly disparaging comment about my own appearance to my husband (not in front of my girls, mind you), and do you know what he had the nerve to say to me? "What about all those things you tell our girls? That God made them perfect. That they are just right the way they are." Ugggghhhh. I HATE it when he's right. Of course, I didn't immediately respond with, "Honey, you're so right. I see the err of my ways and the contradiction in my thinking. I am just right the way I am. And I'm thankful for how God made me." Nope. I didn't say any of those things. I said, "Well, that stuff's for them to hear." Weak defense, huh?

I'm seeing greener pastures in someone else's field. I'm having to remind myself that my pasture is exactly where I'm supposed to be, and the color of my grass is just right for me at this time in my life. Or at the very least, the color of my grass is seriously affected by the color of my own glasses. Ok, that metaphor got a little deep, but do you understand what I mean? My grass is only as green as I think it is. And the awesome thing about that little tidbit is that if I want my grass to be greener -- a vibrant, Eastery, other-wordly green -- all I have to do is decide that it is! Voila! Magic green grass!

The implications of seeing our own grass as washed-out and dying can be serious. If our color-blindness is in relationship to our own self-image, then everything is at risk Such a deep unhappiness with who we are as people will no doubt have an impact on ALL of our relationships. Fellow married ladies, it will affect your marriage. I've got a little piece of information for you that you may not be aware of. Ready? Here it is: your husband thinks you're awesome! I know, it's hard to believe, but he really does! And he'd like for you to at least partially agree with him on occasion. You know how annoying it is when you have lunch with a friend who's constantly fishing for compliments? It's no less frustrating for your husband to constantly have to persuade you that you are not ugly/disgusting/not good enough. Give it up already. You won him. Stop seeing the grass on your side of the fence as a weak, pukey, almost-brown-from-too-much-August-sun green. Decide that you're the perfect color of grass for your own husband, and work with what you've got!

One day I'll have it all together. I won't care what size my jeans are, it won't matter to me if I'm 45 and my face is still breaking out, I won't be concerned with whether someone else is making their kids homemade cookies when my dough comes out of a tub from the refrigerator. I'll be happy with things just the way they are. I'll be content, no matter the circumstances. I'll forget about what everyone else is doing, or what works for someone else, and I'll stay focused on doing things the ways that are best suited to me and my family. I'll just be focused on glorifying God in everything I do. Until then, though, I'll keep reminding myself that my grass is plenty green enough. Way greener than some people will ever have. And definitely much greener than I deserve.

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
I Timothy 6:6-7

Thursday, March 17, 2011

How shallow is the deep end?

So, today's my birthday. And I get to stay home from school (which is work for me) because Cassidy's sick. It's been pretty ok, with the exception of a minor hormone-related breakdown we won't talk about. We ended up going to the doctor because her ear was hurting again, and as I suspected her ear infection from last week never cleared up. I should have been a doctor. (That was a joke.)

We had a little time to kill after the doctor visit since the Nurse Practitioner had faxed a prescription in to Fred's Pharmacy for us. Time to kill demands retail therapy! My birthday was totally redeemed in a matter of minutes. I took my $10 off any $10 purchase to the local JCPenney and hit a $2.97 sale rack right off the bat. Nothing like that to lift the mood! In addition, the shirts I tried on fit like a dream, thanks to some recent time in the gym and
adjustments to the old eating habits. But that's not even the best part. Wait for it, wait for it...
AREN'T THEY GORGEOUS???!!! Now, you may be thinking, "What's the big deal? They're red shoes!" Yes. Yes, they are. They are THE red shoes I found at JCPenney on sale in NOVEMBER that have been out of stock both in the store and online ever since. They are THE red shoes that I was so sad were no longer available. And they are THE red shoes that I got myself for my birthday.

I realize that may sound pretty shallow and materialistic. But it's not like I cried about not getting the shoes, or obsessed over it, or bought other junk I didn't need instead. I just got really, really happy today when I was able to buy them. On sale. With my $10 off coupon. In addition to my $2.97 shirts. So you may say it's shallow and materialistic, but I say it's relishing the small things. Besides, the shallow end can be a little shallow. It's the deep end that can't. And I have a deep end that isn't so concerned with shoes and purses. I do happen to love both, partly because they only make you look better and almost never make you look fat. But I also care about world peace. So for now, I'm just gonna be happy about my new shoes.

"Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me...."