Thoughts for Thursday: Joy-Robber

Take a look at this picture.

Take it all in.  Aside from my freakish laughing horse-face, do you see anything... off... in this picture?

Look more closely at the cake.  That was our wedding cake, with our topper below, on the table (a gorgeous Irish porcelain figurine).  We ordered a simple cake with whipped frosting, to be applied in a sort of messy way-- not polished looking, anyway.  But somehow in transport, our cake got lumpy, and it couldn't support our cake topper anymore.

The friend who transported the cake was beside herself.  What she didn't know is I was so, so thankful for her help, and so, so glad I didn't have to worry about the cake that day, that the state of my $20 Publix wedding cake was not going to upset me.

Notice our faces.  We clearly were not upset.  I found it hilarious, actually, that we were cutting our wedding "lump."

But I use this picture to illustrate a point I've been thinking about.  It would be easy to look at this picture and think, my wedding cake wasn't as good as so-and-so's.  I feel bad about it.  I wish I had had this.  I wish I had had that.  The day wasn't perfect because of this detail, and that bugs me.  Maybe that's a silly illustration, but I know I can't be alone in the comparison game.  As prideful people and sometimes perfectionists, maybe you (like me) want your everything to be "the best," and you find yourself constantly comparing yourself/things to others, making sure you measure up.

Why?  Why do I do that?  I didn't do it with my wedding cake, so it must be possible to stop doing, right?  I have found that comparison, as I've written before (don't know where I first heard this) kills your joy, kills your contentment.  Constant comparison of anything only makes you unhappy with your life as it stands and unable to find joy in the moment.

I've been thinking about this because I have this problem when it comes to different parts of my life, and I hate it.  It's so prideful and it's so wrong to be discontent with any part of this blessed life God has given me.  Confession: while I love wedding blogs that feature gorgeous weddings, I get slightly jealous that I hadn't gotten married on a boat/in the woods/in the city/on a rooftop or whatever.  I also love wedding photography, and while my photographer was both very talented and a great deal, I sometimes think, why didn't I get pictures like THAT?!  Another confession: my husband is fantastic.  But sometimes I compare him to what I think he should be doing, and it makes me discontent.  Why isn't he telling me I look pretty enough?  He doesn't bring me flowers.  He must be unhappy.  These confessions are hard for me to own up to, because they're embarrassing.

But they're real.  I think it's a natural, human, sinful instinct to compare yourself to others and either pridefully believe you're better, or to become discontent and wish for something else/better.  That strips life of joy.  Joy is peace and contentment whatever one's circumstances might be.  My life is far too wonderful to even begin to wish for something else/better (for the record, I don't want something else/better when it comes to my husband... he simply is THE best. :) ).  If I spent less time wanting what I think is better, perhaps I'd be more satisfied with what I have, and therefore better able to serve Christ as a wife, teacher, and friend.  After all, God's Word tells us that godliness with contentment is great gain.

So I'm thinking I'm going to apply the wedding "lump" approach to life.  Take whatever I have and enjoy it for what it is, not what it isn't or what it could be, and laugh along the way.  God's in control and everything is as it should be anyway, so I may as well not fret and strive for something else.  I don't want to let comparison rob me of my joy in each moment that God gives me.

How about you?

xoxo, A