Assigned to Abundance
In a world of constant noise, it’s really hard not to peek in on other’s lives and think:
“Wow, they really have it all together.”
“Their marriage is so happy.”
“They’re always going on the best adventures!”
“They have the best house. It’s always so clean!”
However, we only see what’s presented to us, via picture, story, or in a snapshot of a moment.
It’s easy to look around and think that everyone else has better. This can feel exceptionally true when we turn around or look up from our screens and see the chaos of life around us. I know I’m guilty of it, especially when my three year old is laying on the floor in Walmart, in the toothpaste aisle, because he wants the bubblemint toothpaste in the Mickey tube. But guess what? He doesn’t even like bubblemint toothpaste. Frustrated, I think: I bet ___________’s children don’t do this in public, as I pick him up from the floor, screaming.
I’ve also been on the other end of it. I’ve had friends who chose to walk away because of comparison. It’s a hard game to play, because we can never win. We can never be happy with being the “best” or lying in the wake of someone who we designate as the “best”.
We can experience it in different capacities: at work, at home, in friendships, with strangers, in family, and throughout the day-to-day. Here’s the truth though: It’s not from God. Comparison steals our happiness, kills our contentment, and destroys our inner self. John 10:10 says, “A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy…” That thief is satan, and he uses comparison as a tool to sabotage our contentment and joy.
But then there’s Jesus, who came so that we may have life and have it in abundance” (John 10:10). He came to give us life, and not just your average amount of life, but life in abundance. Life in abundance for me is the sound of little giggles coming from under the dining room table. It’s the sound of feet running up and down the hallway. It’s the messy dishes from a well enjoyed meal with family and friends who choose to love us. It’s the quiet moments of peace that sneak in throughout each day. It’s the “I love you’s” and the “I’m sorry’s” and the grace that permeates the authentic relationships we have been gifted. We all have an abundance of life, but we’ve got to look around in our own chaos to find the beauty of it.
Paul writes in his letter to Corinth, “For we don’t dare classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. But in measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves by themselves, they lack understanding” (2 Corinthians 10:12). He says we don’t dare classify or compare ourselves with others. Instead, we should compare ourselves by ourselves. Paul continues to write in verse 13, that we shouldn’t compare or boast beyond measure, but instead we should measure the area of ministry that God has assigned to us. Read that again: We should measure the area of ministry that God has ASSIGNED to us. That's an interesting thought right – especially all hot and bothered in the toothpaste aisle of Walmart. God assigned these children to me. God assigned this husband to me. And the same goes for you: God assigned your people to you. He assigned your job to you. He assigned your spouse to you. You were made for purpose, and in that, you were assigned to love your people with abundance.
They may drive us nuts. They may be dirty all the time. Our homes may have dust lurking in the corners, but ya know what? That’s OK – because we have the opportunity to be better moms, friends, wives, sisters, employees, or bosses today. We have the opportunity to choose to see the beauty in a sink full of dishes, versus a perfectly manicured photo of a kitchen on Instagram. We have the opportunity to snuggle our babies and kiss their precious little faces while they're in our care, instead of scrolling through perfect family photos on Facebook. We have the opportunity to give our spouses a hug and say, “I’m so thankful for you,” instead of watching our friends’ marriages through a lens on social media.
I read once somewhere that we only get to see the best 10% of a person on social media. It’s a snapshot. So, let’s close our apps, cheer on our friendships where we choose each other as we are, love our people well, and find beauty in this gift of life that God has given us in abundance.