Picture Perfect – Covetousness to Gratitude
There are so many reasons why we feel the need to give the appearance of perfection. Last week we talked about how our conceit can make us want to give the illusion of perfection, but that we can combat that with gentle humility using Jesus as our example. Thinking of others before ourselves shifts everything back into the appropriate order.
Another reason we feel the need for perfection is covetousness. This particularly hits hard on social media. We see this friend who just got back from an amazing cruise, and this other friend who got a promotion. That friend has angelic, adorable children. And then there’s the other one who’s husband bought her flowers for no reason. We see all of these things and we want them to be ours. Because of this, we want to portray our own life in a perfect manner so we can keep up with our friends – or better yet – one up them!
What we forget is that what we see tends to be the highlight reel of life. Studies have shown that time spent on social media can lead to depression because everyone’s life seems better than ours, but there’s so much we don’t see. We don’t see that the friend that went on the cruise saved for a year to make it happen or the late nights at work that led to the promotion. We don’t see the temper tantrums in the grocery store or the arguments between spouses – and we don’t need to see all those things. But we do need to be aware that there’s so much more behind the scenes that is going on than what we see.
This same concept applies off of social media as well. That family at church that seems to have it all together may be dealing with struggles you know nothing about. The neighbor that just bought a brand new car may have desperately needed a reliable new vehicle. We can’t see into everyone’s deepest parts of their lives, but we can see our own.
To combat this we need to focus on our blessings. Gratitude will overcome covetousness. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 it says, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” This isn’t a suggestion or a helpful hint. This is God’s will for our lives. To give thanks in ALL circumstances. There are many reasons for this, but one is to keep our focus on our blessings – and more importantly on the One who is the giver of all good things – and keep our minds off of what we’re “missing out” on.
The last time my husband gave me flowers was nearly 11 years ago, and I know this because it was right before I gave birth to our son. So when I see a friend who just got flowers from her husband I could be jealous of what she has, wishing my husband was more like hers, or I can choose gratitude. Joel doesn’t say it with flowers, but there’s so many things I am thankful for. He provides for our family and is a good father who partners with me in parenting our children. He takes out the trash without me having to ask him, and will cook dinner without complaint when I need him to. There’s so much to be thankful for that I have no reason left to be jealous.
Gratitude will get us through many negative emotions – covetousness being only one of them.We can be grateful for what we have and not feel the pressure to embellish or “one up” others because we already have so much.
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