Comparing Grass…

the grass is greener on the other side

Have you ever found yourself comparing yourself to those who seem to have it all so perfectly together in appearance?  They are the ones with the extremely well-behaved children, they look fabulous and fashionable, their houses are out of a magazine, they volunteer, they bring outstanding deserts or side dishes to functions, they have their Christmas shopping done in February…

It’s exhausting to even stand by and watch, yet it makes you feel so inadequate.   Their grass looks so much greener from your viewpoint.  And soon the green of envy makes you feel like they have something you should have.

Perhaps you have thought things like:

If my husband made more money I could look like that too…

If I didn’t have so many other responsibilities I could be a better housewife too…

If I would have gotten a more prestigious degree than I could have had a successful career…

If I stayed home I would have time to make gourmet meals 5 times a week…

If my kids acted like her kids, motherhood would be a breeze!

It’s something I think we all struggle with as women, yet often times we are wasting time comparing ourselves to something that isn’t even a reality.  Appearances are deceiving. We don’t know what happens behind closed doors.  We have no idea of the struggles they are facing on a daily basis.  Their outside façade may be hiding an abundance of hardship. Perhaps their grass is greener, but what’s inside their walls?

The world tells us that we should have this and that, and be treated and respected as royalty – yet we live in a reality that looks much different. And that gap of expectations versus the reality that we inhabit leads to discouragement, discontentment, frustration, disappointment.

I thought of this yesterday, as I had a particularly difficult day in motherhood.  I’m sure there aren’t too many comparing their selves to my life, as it looks far from perfect in appearance. However, I thought about my different encounters of the day, and how easy it is to play “put together”.

I can smile and say thank you when someone complements me about our boys behaving nicely. (Yet, they didn’t see how I nearly lost it after breaking up the 27th fight of the day.)

I can tell people how blessed we are when they make a comment in passing. (Yet, how quickly I forget to embrace thankfulness when faced with a stressful parenting moment.)

I can accomplish a few things on my list. (Yet I’m overwhelmed by the things I’m not able finish or the people I feel I’m letting down.)

I can carry on a surface conversation with ease. (Yet, you don’t see my hurts or fears.)

You may not see all of my flaws, my worries, my mistakes, my frustrations, or my “ugly grass”. My grass may look decent from the road, but if you look closely it’s full of weeds, and dead spots, and rocks.

I’m full of failure and a life in need of grace. He is the Shepherd of the greenest pastures and nothing I do compares to His perfection. He has chosen to take my filthy rotten rags and replace them with clean spotless linens. When I quit comparing my life to others and instead compare where I would be without the cross, nothing else matters. 

Grass grows, then fades, and is forgotten, but His love endures forever. 

Psalm 103:8-18

8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
   slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
   nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
   or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
   so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
   so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
   so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
   he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
   they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
   and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
   the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
   and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
   and remember to obey his precepts.

[Photo Credit: victoriapeckham]

10 thoughts on "Comparing Grass…"

  1. oh amanda says:

    This is the 3rd post today I’ve read about LOVE. About God LOVING us fiercely.

    Aren’t you glad? Where would we be without the One who loved us?

    {ps–love YOU, Jen! And even if you are full of rocks and weeds, I still think you are fabulous!}

  2. Kat @ Living Like the Kings says:

    There is this quote about the fact that everyone only how cases their best and we end up comparing ourselves to that. It’s. It that the grass is greener on the other side but the fact that you won’t see their problem spots. But yeah, I still totally agree.

  3. Carolynn says:

    Thanks for this… is one of those days that my spirit and soul needed a boost….and you did it! I am so quick to lessen my value rather than boost my accompliments without guilt feelings of things undone or neglected. I have to try to remember that He knows what I do is in His glory.

  4. Debbie says:

    What a great post. A friend of mine had it all – they were wealthy, her and her husband were outgoing, the life of every party, they always held hands, walked to church holding hands, cuddled all the time then, needless to say, those in our friend circle were absolutely shocked when they separated……it was a lesson I will always remember….

    I recently heard two things….1) “reasonable effort” ….we are called to make a resonable effort and not have to kill ourselves in the process…..

    And 2) those things worth doing, are worth doing poorly, in other words, those things worth doing are worth whatever effort we can put into them – do not put off doing for your family, home, faith waiting to do it perfectly….(hope that makes sense!!)

    Anyway, we all have flaws, worries, mistakes, frustrations, or “ugly grass”. Not one of us is perfect, only our God is… are doing a GREAT job mom!!

  5. One of my favorite quotes is “Comparison is the theif of joy.” It was said by Teddy Roosevelt. I bought a cross-stitch kit with the quote …and it’s about half-way done….I’m sure a better woman would have it finished, framed and hung by now! : ) Thanks for the reminder again through your post. I think you have lovely grass!

    1. MH in OH says:

      Susan, this made me laugh out loud.

      Jen, so true!

  6. Stacey McCastlain says:

    I can’t tell you how much I needed this today. Thank you!

  7. Crystal says:

    What a great post! I’m going to save and re-read for later.

  8. Emily says:

    Just what I needed to read tonight. Thanks for continuing to inspire and encourage!

  9. Kami says:

    Love it Jen! So true…well said! I too have seen that quote- Don’t let comparison steal your joy! I have those struggles with other homeschool moms as well- they seem to have it all together….while I struggle hourly most days. I’m so thankful though for all the trials because God is certainly growing me and my family and it’s allowing so many teachable moments for our kids. You’re awesome! 🙂

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