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.
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This is so true! We have a saying at church that everyone is going through something; we just may not know what it is. And as you say, we can’t compare what we’re going through to what someone else is dealing with because what may be big for me might be small for you. Again, as you say, it’s better to focus on our own yard instead of wishing for someone else’s.
I’ve heard that saying before, too, and it’s so accurate ~ we have no idea what someone else is going through. Most of us can put on a good face in public, but can be dealing with pain and heartache privately.
Amen amen amen!!! I love that quote: “There are no greener grasses, only different lawns.”
Elizabeth @ Guilty Chocoholic Mama says
As ALWAYS, Tracey, your words are exactly what I needed to read right now. Contentment–or lack thereof–is a huge, ongoing struggle for me, and comparison does NOT help me win that battle. I love the way you tie contentment into gratitude. I’ve long loved the quote that “comparison is the thief of joy,” but I also think it’s the thief of joy’s precursor, gratitude. Thank you for the reminder to be grateful for my own grass! 😉 Blessings to you! P.S. How’s senior year going so far?
Senior year is going well! She’s got a full schedule of classes, work, and extra-curriculars, but she’s managing it all well (so far 😉
It seems almost surreal to me. Even on the first day of school, it just felt like she was headed off to start another year. Didn’t feel monumental like THIS IS IT ~ HER LAST FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL! I am, however, trying to enjoy the ride, because it’s already passing so quickly.
She’s often the last one home at night, after a ballgame or work. When I hear the garage door opening, I can rest easy ’cause I know she’s made it home safely and is in for the night. Got a little weepy this morning as I realized that a year from now, I won’t have that same reassuring sound to listen for…
So there’s a long response to your question…and thanks for asking!! 🙂