You’ve probably heard the old saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” It reminds us that while someone else’s situation may look better than ours, that’s not necessarily the case.
Looking across the fence at someone else’s yard, we see only the positives. Their grass is healthy, lush, and green. We glance down at our yard, and notice the brown patches and weeds. In our own yard, we see only the negatives.
We see the mom with her well-behaved children, especially the teenage daughter who seems to adore her. (Okay, that’s what I notice these days, ha!) Her house is decorated, inside and out, in a Pinterest-perfect way. And not only does she homeschool her children, she also manages a non-profit, brings homemade desserts to every church potluck, has weekly date nights with her husband, and runs five miles a day!
Then we look at ourselves, breaking up fights between our children as we throw peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches into a plastic grocery bag for our kids’ school lunches. Dirty dishes are piled high in the sink as we herd everyone to the car. The laundry basket is overflowing, we’re driving to school in our pajamas, and the only exercise planned for today is scrubbing the shower.
We may think that other mother has it all together, but I can pretty much guarantee that’s not the case. Her life, from the outside, may look perfect, but she’s likely struggling, in some way, as we are.
I like how Emily P. Freeman takes the truth of this saying to another level. In her book, A Million Little Ways, she says “There are no greener grasses, only different lawns.”
I’ve previously written about comparison, and the dangers that come with it. Yet it’s good to be reminded that each of us is planted in a different place.
God has put each one of us in the exact situation with the specific set of circumstances He wants us to have. Do our foolish choices sometimes impact that? Yes. But God is bigger than our mistakes, and He can grow us exactly where we are.
When we’re tempted to think that someone else has an easier life, a more loving husband, or better-behaved children, chase those thoughts away. Don’t let comparison make you feel that others are so much better off than you are.
The opposite can be true as well. For example, we may look at a parent who has a disabled child and think, “How hard their life must be.” Yet God can give them the grace, peace, and joy they need to flourish in that relationship. They may experience far more blessings than we could even guess.
None of us can see from our current vantage point what God is doing in the lives of others. Just like He has a plan for us, He has a plan for them, too.
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” ~Philippians 2:13
Instead of wanting someone else’s lawn, let’s accept ours. Let’s thank God for what we have, then set about to accomplish His purpose right we are.
Be content. Get so busy cultivating your own grass that you don’t have time to focus on how your neighbor’s grass is growing.
With God’s help, do the best you can in every area of your life. Then trust God to make your “lawn” all that He would have it to be, for His honor and glory.