So far, my blog posts have been about things that I’m struggling with. Through the conviction of the Holy Spirit, I find comfort in searching the Word for help and writing up what I’ve found to share with you. So this blog post is about something I think we all struggle with from time to time: contentment vs. comparison. (This one is a long one, so buckle up and stay with me!)
College and the rest of your twenties is truly a time of finding yourself and building the person you want to become. This is a lot easier said than done, especially in the era of social media when it seems like everyone on your news feed is posting pictures of their latest accomplishments: new outfits, friends, jobs, events, engagement rings, ultrasounds, etc.
I mean am I the only one out there just trying to wake up and put on real clothes for class? I’ve found myself feeling overwhelmed with juggling the amount of things I want to do and actually budgeting the time and motivation to do them, then, comparing where I’m at to my friends and peers. What I’ve been telling myself during these frustrating times of comparison is this: run your race.
Run your race. Play the cards you were dealt. Because let me tell ya, friends, God doesn’t make mistakes. And His will for you and your life is infinite, whole, and perfect in itself. What does this mean? It means that His will for you is not contingent upon His will for others.
Just because you’re not graduated, engaged, or promoted, and people around you are, does not mean that your portion is bad and theirs is good.
(This one may be more personal but,) Just because someone else got a new cute puppy, does not mean that you need to go a rescue another one, Rebecca. Be content with your portion and the two amazing animals you do have. Be faithful to them.
If you are meant to get that job, you will. And that is not contingent upon if you someone else applied or got the same job. So don’t worry about them.
If you are meant to end up with that guy (or girl), you will. And that is not contingent upon if he (or she) meets someone new in class or work. So don’t worry about them.
If you are meant to end up at that school, you will. And that is not contingent upon if so and so has better test scores that you. So don’t worry.
If it is written in God’s will, it will be.
“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:27
Now hear me out, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t work hard for things that you want. Not at all. As a matter of fact, the bible instructs us to put forth all of our effort into our works.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” Colossians 3:23
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:21
Run your race. Play the cards you were dealt. No one cares that you could have had a royal flush with your neighbor’s jack of clubs. If it’s not yours, it’s not yours. God’s plan for your life is not contingent upon someone else’s plan. Be content with your portion, be faithful to what you do have, and live your life the way God wants you to: joyful in trusting His plans for you.
What are some ways that the enemy secretly breaks down your trust for God’s will for you life? He will plant the nasty seeds of comparison, envy, and covet in your mind; and, through these things, break down the contentment and peace for your own life.
The Bible instructs us to be happy with who we are, what we have, and furthermore, not to worry about the things of the world. Paul writes about the secret of contentment:
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13
Contentment does not mean you are happy all the time. Contentment is being satisfied with life because you know God is in control. (Source)
Here are a few motivational verses for specific needs of encouragement.
When you need help loving yourself:
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14
God does not make mistakes. You are not a mistake. Nothing about you is a mistake. Your hair is beautiful. Your skin is beautiful. Your size is beautiful. You are beautiful. Most importantly, you are made in the image of God. God created you, modeled you, after himself! Don’t allow yourself to be disappointed with the reflection in the mirror, then you are also disappointed in God and His beautiful, beautiful creation.
“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” Samuel 16:7
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4
“Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next.” 1 Timothy 4:8
Through these verses we see that your spiritual value is not based on your physical appearance. Humans may judge your worth based on outward appearance, but God judges your worth based on what’s in your heart. So, as your running your race, where is your finish line: adornment from humans or adornment from God?
When you need help being content:
“Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8
“You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.” James 4:2-3
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrew 13:5
“And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15
“A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.” Proverbs 14:30
Covet, doubt, and envy are all the opposite of contentment. Why do you think coveting is on the big list of no-no’s (the 10 commandments) right behind murder and adultery? It plants a seed of doubt in God: His promise, His abilities and His existence. When you say “yes” to these things by allowing them into your heart and mind, you say “no” to God’s sovereignty. Allow peace into your life, for your days have been written in a book with God as the author. When you reach a moment of doubt or disappointment don’t stay on that page, instead keep reading. Persevere and pursue God. He is faithful and so worth our trust.
When you need help readjusting your finish line:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” 1 John 2:15-17
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24
“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many grieves.” 1 Timothy 6:10
“Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire” 1 Timothy 2:9
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” Matthew 16:26
“Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 5:10
“For where your treasure is, your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21
So what are we investing our time, money, and attention on? Is it something that is growing our worldly possessions or our eternal value? Don’t invest in the “meaningless.” For believers, this life isn’t about the money, fame, or possessions. It’s about the kingdom.
The world will always let you down. You will not be pretty enough, rich enough, smart enough, strong enough, talented enough, or just flat out good enough by someone’s standards. How beautiful is it to know that to The One, the creator of the universe, you are enough. Earthly and material things will never fill the space in your heart that was created for Jesus. Let Him in. Let love in. Fix your eyes, your heart, and your destination on Jesus.
Thanks to the Cross and God’s great mercy, we have the pass to live free of these distractions. Jesus died to our sins, so that we no longer have to feel the hurt and grief that accompanies envy, doubt, and discontent. Jesus paid the price and set free our souls to live peacefully with God. Run your race on the track that God has carved out for your life, and always strive to be content with your portion. Your portion was not an accident. Be faithful to it as He is to you.
Choose joy, friends, choose Jesus.
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2