Picture rolling hills covered with lush grass meadows… that is part of the scenery of where we stayed as a family recently.
The grass really was very green! The place was incredibly peaceful! It was refreshing to be there and the mountains were amazing. But you know it is also great to be writing this at home.. no mountain landscape here and at our house, no grass at all!!
I realise that certain phrases or sayings do not necessarily work in all languages and cultures. But in English one that is quite often used is ‘the grass is greener on the other side of the fence’.
It refers to looking at other people’s lives and thinking they are so much better off! Or if only I had that house, that job, that relationship, that car, that holiday, those looks, that friendship group, that popularity…. Or all kinds of other things that could come to mind.
Yet is the grass really greener in someone else’s life?
Why is it that we are discontent? What is causing us to look around?
Some words from the Bible that I find challenging every time I read them are:
‘for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed of hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me the strength‘. (Philippians 4:11-13)
Paul who wrote these words had experienced beatings, stonings and arrests due to his following of Christ. He’d been shipwrecked and given up for dead at times. He’d be in real need and had times of really having his needs met. But whatever the situation, he didn’t seem to give into the idea of the ‘grass being greener’ elsewhere!
Am I suggesting that we have to put up with everything? No of course not – abusive or dangerous circumstances for instance are not things that we should just stay within. We need to seek help in such times.
But generally speaking, many are not facing circumstances like that though. How then to be content? What is the secret of being content that he writes of? Well he links it into his following of Christ.
Elsewhere Paul wrote,
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Note he does not write give thanks for all circumstances but in all circumstances! And that is part of God’s will for us in Christ Jesus (that is it can be done through His help).
Challenging words which I am not going to seek to water down in anyway.
I simply finish with suggesting one more question to countering the ‘grass is greener’ syndrome:
What can we be grateful for?
Perhaps that is a good question to think on this summer!