A popular saying right now is "If the grass looks greener on the other side, maybe you should water your own." Or something very much like that. My neighbors have a beautiful yard. They tend to their grass and each bush is perfectly trimmed and symmetrical. Their flowers are things of beauty. When I run by, I often wish that my yard looked like that. My yard on the other hand has many types of grass but to be honest, it is mostly clover(which helps my other neighbors' bees, right?). At least, it is green except when it flowers and then it's white, but, I digress. My azaleas are trimmed but to many different shapes. My 1 rose bush is pretty but is completely random.
I got to thinking about my yard. If I wanted a nice yard, I could get out there everyday and tend to it. I could fertilize it and water it. I could plant more flowers and love on them. But, I don't! I go on wishing that some landscape fairy will come and fix it.
Many people live their personal lives like that. They want or covet what others have. Maybe, someone has a nicer home or nicer car. Maybe, they are skinnier or prettier. Maybe, they are better parents or have a closer marriage. Whatever we see when we are running by, we may desire or wish for the life fairy to descend into our life with a magic wand and make our own more like those we are watching. There is no fairy that will make life all better and perfect.
We have to work hard for the things that we want and that includes our relationships. That, also, includes our own selves. We can't starve and dehydrate our family and ourselves and expect them to bloom into these beautifully landscaped designs. We must water them with love and fertilize them with respect. We must prune them with discipline and sometimes we must even weed out the bad ones. The bad ones like clover are only good for other people's bees. They are not good for you.
If you want a better marriage, husbands, love your wives. Wives, respect your husband(Ephesians). If you want better kids, love them and discipline. Don't provoke them to wrath. Proverbs 22:6 says for us to train up our children in the ways that they should go and when they are old they will not turn from it. Whatever training you give your children is what they will return to when they are old. As for yourself, what you fill yourself with is what you will give off and worse yet, determines how you feel about yourself inside. Anger, jealousy, hatred, envy, betrayal and lies put in will determine what comes out. Respect, love, forgiveness, and mercy will produce more beauty in a person. If you want a better body, eat better food and exercise. If you want nicer things, well, maybe you should take stock in the things you actually have instead of trying to get more. Most of us have too much as it is.
If we would take care of the life that God has given us instead of worrying about the things that we don't have, we would be much happier. Would I have chosen a normal family and a life without strife and heartache? Of course! But, those things have given me a strength and a faith that I might never have had. I learned this after 4 decades and man, did I fight it! I wanted to be skinnier (while in high school I wished for curves). I wanted to date a certain type of man but married another type completely different from what I thought I needed. I never wanted children but now I am the mother of 5 beautiful children, 4 living and 1 in Heaven. Do I wish I could go back and change things? Maybe! But, I can't so I try to live in the present and nurture that which God has blessed me.
How about you? Are you looking at your neighbors or people with whom you work and comparing yourself? Focus on what you have been given and take care of that. To whom much is given, much is required. You only have to answer to what you are given and your neighbors have to answer for theirs.