Posted by: jennyo | March 11, 2010

Thoughts on Contentment and Comparisons

I ran across this post today and it spurred a lot of thought for me.  It’s long- it’s worth it- but if you only have time, look over points #1-8.

Something I’ve been on a huge platform about lately is how much we compare ourselves to other people.  Through many changes in my life and self- reflection, I have realized how many times I am not actually living the moment I’m in but analyzing the circumstances, my mental state, and what other people would be thinking about the moment I’m in.  This presumes a level of serious arrogance about my judgments about what other people are thinking, for one thing, but it also requires me, as the blogger points out, to assume complete transparency about the circumstances and character of others.

Last week I read and reread Romans 14 and 15.  From verses 1-8:

1Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

5One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

I find this challenging with regard to assuming the best of others.  I find it comforting with regard to the freedom to be myself in Christ.  When it comes to areas that I worry about- my marriage, my career, my friendships and am I doing any of this right?- it is to my own master that I stand or fall- and the Lord is able to make me stand.  He has taught me particular things, given me particular circumstances and perspectives on things, and it’s ok to have my own unique place in the world.  It really makes me wish I could reclaim years and years of not celebrating that!

I would say that, for me, this has been WAY different from an exercise in self-esteem or self- validation.  Strangely enough, it has become an exercise in contentment, rejoicing, prayerfulness and trust in Emmanuel, the God who is WITH ME.

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