A few weeks ago I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, and I noticed a post written by a friend of mine about contentment. It struck a chord with me, so much so that I asked her to share more of her thoughts with us at TrueLoveDates.com. I’m so excited to share my space with Adrienne today in her guest post- because her words apply to so many of us at different stages of our lives. I know it this post will encourage you. And don’t forget to comment and leave her some love below! Blessings! — Debra
Over the past few weeks, a post has appeared repeatedly in my Facebook newsfeed. It’s looked like this: A friend writes, “It was a great year. Thanks for being part of it.” And then a montage of photos from his/her year follows. Have you seen this?
I’ve heard it said that our Facebook and Instagram culture creates an unrealistic view of people’s lives because we often see only the “pretty” or exciting parts, but not the hard or painful things. This can lead to discontentment with our own lives. I admit I have been experiencing this as I’ve seen people’s “year” on Facebook. While it is neat to see the highlights of friends’ years, it can also be hard.
I have looked at other people’s 2014 and have experienced comparison, envy and discontentment. If I’m totally honest, I haven’t even looked at most people’s collection of pictures because the cover photo alone (often a wedding picture) has triggered enough emotional reactions by itself.
I have felt bad about my year and my life because of what was, and more so wasn’t, part of mine. Truth be told, I would have really liked my 2014 to have ended with a boyfriend, fiancé or husband. (And I’m not picky—I would have taken any of the 3!) The holidays, and the end of another year, make me painfully aware of what I still don’t have. And the pain and the feeling of being alone are magnified when it seems like everyone else is getting to experience what I want. Maybe I’m the only one who has struggled with this comparison and discontentment, but I doubt it, and that’s why I’m writing this.
As I’ve journeyed this road more times than I’d like to admit, I have found that God wants to meet me in these painful places. While there has been pain because of deferred hope, unmet expectations and unfulfilled longings in my heart, there is still hope.
1. There is hope because of who God is:
God continually reminds me that He is a good, loving, trustworthy God who I can trust with my life. His plans and timing are perfect, and everything He does in my life is because of His deep love for me. My 2014 unfolded as He wanted it to; it is part of the story He is writing for me. It is good because He is good.
2. There is hope because God does not waste our pain:
God is purposeful in all He does. And He uses pain to bring about good in our lives. One of the biggest ways I have seen God use pain for good in my life is to grow my intimacy with Him. I am continually learning that I don’t have to walk through heartache alone. Not only is God always with me, but He promises that He is near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). When I am hurting, and run to Him, I experience a depth in our relationship that I wouldn’t otherwise.
3. There is hope because it can be different:
My story doesn’t have to be one of constant comparison, envy and discontentment. It can be different. For over a year, God has been teaching me to be more grateful. It has been deeply impactful because as I’ve chosen to give thanks for my circumstances, He has given me greater contentment and joy. I love the quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy” because I have experienced this to be so true. In contrast, I think that gratitude is the restorer of joy.
And so, while it is easy to compare and be discontent, I want to choose to be grateful. As 2015 is beginning, I want to recognize all that God has done in my life– the gifts He has given me, the challenges He’s taken me through, the painful things that have caused me to be desperate for Him, and most importantly, the reality that He allows me to know Him, to be in relationship with Him, and walk through this life with Him– and say, “Thank You.”
What about you? Are you entering 2015 with regret over what is or isn’t part of your life? Or are you entering this new year with gratitude? Comparison, envy and discontentment rob us of joy. But there is great hope and joy that come from an attitude of thankfulness.
Adrienne Minor is on staff with Cru and has served in the campus ministry for 9 years. She spent the last 5 years in Orlando, but is now “in transition” as she prepares to move to New York City to reach millennials there. She loves talking with women about eternal perspective, walking by faith and dating/singleness. She really, really likes sports, pop culture and international foods.[Additional Resources: For more on becoming the best version of yourself, making the most of singleness, and finding true love check out the book True Love Dates or visit our Top 10 relationship posts of 2014!]