Keeping Up With the Joneses
Why do we work so very hard to accumulate things to impress others? Why do we waste so much of our precious time comparing ourselves to others? Why do we feel so dissatisfied, like we never have enough or do enough to be content? Why do we crave more, and more, and more?
Our paths in life are uniquely our own. We may walk alongside others for a season, but we have each been given a role to play in this world, one that is designed specifically for us.
We don't have to strive to attain what those around us have. We can choose to focus on the path we're on, appreciate what we have, and work toward our own goals. Not everyone is called to the same lifestyle. Those around you aren't called to the same purpose you are; they have their own just as you have yours. And when we all go boldly in the direction of our own path, our actions work together with those of others, creating a beautiful piece of art that wouldn't have been possible if we had all tried to paint with the same color.
When we spend too much time looking at what others have and what they're doing with their lives, we lose focus on our own lives. We think we need to copy them in order to be happy. So we pursue the things they have, do the things they do. And yet, somehow the result isn't a reflection of their happiness. We're still empty. We're surrounded by things we worked really hard to attain, but haven't found satisfaction in. We don't feel comfortable in our own skin because we've been trying to fit ourselves and our lives into the box we've created from our misled expectations.
Social media has made it even easier to constantly compare our lives with those of our peers. But what we have to keep in mind is the fact that the things we see online are just small glimpses into the lives of others, and often only the highlights. Our friends and family members may also be a few steps ahead of us, and it's only going to discourage us if we keep comparing our progress to theirs instead of focusing on our own paths. So let's set our eyes on the goals we have set for ourselves and resist the temptation to draw comparisons between our lives and the pieces of others' lives that we see.
If we can see that we were uniquely created for a specific place in this world that nobody else can fill, we just might find the ability to deviate from the course we thought we had to walk down and instead forge our own path toward a much greater destination, one specifically designed for us by our Creator.
Consider this your permission to do just that-- throw off the weight of the expectations placed on you, the constraints of the box you've never been able to fit comfortably in, and the hoops you've tried so unsuccessfully to jump through. May you and I walk confidently toward what lies ahead of us, freed from the burdens we've carried, ready to embrace our unique paths and all life has to offer as we travel them.
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