I Want What She Has
Lysa TerKeurst

"A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones." Proverbs14:30 (NIV)

Chances are, if you're like me, you've struggled with comparison and envy.

My house looks great until a friend redecorates. Her clever color combination and crafty restoration abilities have created rooms that look as though they've stepped straight from a magazine. Suddenly my home feels outdated and plain.

My kids seem great until I'm around someone else's who excel in areas my kids struggle in. I see her kids quietly reading books that are well advanced for their age and loving every minute of it. I compare that to mine who would rather have their right arm cut off than to read books that are barely grade level all the while asking me when they can go do something else more exciting. Suddenly I judge myself for not making reading more of a priority when they were younger and feel like a sub-par mom.

Suddenly all that I'm blessed with pales in the face of comparison. I'm blinded from seeing what I do have in the face of what I don't have. My heart is drawn into a place of ungratefulness and assumption. As I assume everything is great for those that possess what I don't, I become less and less thankful for what's mine.

And here's the real kicker… things for the person I'm comparing myself to are almost never what they seem. If there's one thing that living 40 years has taught me, it's that everybody has not-so-great sides to their lives. Whenever I get an idyllic view of someone else's life, I will often say out loud, "I am not equipped to handle what they have, both good and bad."

God has taught me a lot about how to nip a comparison in the bud so it doesn't develop into full blown envy and jealously.

The statement, "I am not equipped to handle what they have, both good and bad," has been one of the greatest realizations God has given me. Every situation has both good and bad. When I want someone else's good, I must realize that I'm also asking for the bad that comes along with it. It's always a package deal. And usually if I'll just give something enough time to unfold I can often be found thanking God that I didn't get someone else's package.

One of the first times I came to understand this truth was in middle school when I met a beautiful girl at the Children's Theater in my town. We were both budding child actors cast in a Christmas play. During rehearsals I can remember seeing her long dancers legs move in ways my stubby limbs never could. Her legs were muscular and lean and graceful. Mine couldn't be described with any of those adjectives.

One day there was an unusual pain in her left leg. And then a doctor's appointment turned into a battery of tests that turned into a hospital stay that turned into a diagnosis. Cancer. A surgery to remove a tumor turned into an amputation turned into a complete life change. Her world became filled with words no child should ever have to know: chemotherapy, prosthetics, hair loss, and walking canes.

As a young girl I was stunned by the whole thing. Especially because I clearly remember night after night after watching her glide across stage, I would ask God for legs exactly like hers.

… not equipped to handle what they have, both good and bad.

I don't want to paint the picture that every good thing someone else has will end with a tragedy. That's not the case. Sometimes others' good things are simply fantastic. But they are fantastic for them - not me.

…not equipped to handle what they have, both good and bad.

Dear Lord, thank You for only entrusting me with what I have and who I am. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Lysa’s blog for a give-away you don’t want to miss! You could win four copies of Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl to share with your friends.

Today’s devo is taken from Lysa’s new book just released: Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl. If you enjoyed this devo, you will want to order the book!

What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst

Application Steps:
What I must remember is to consciously make the choice to redirect my thinking when I find myself comparing and wanting.

Think of something you've wanted that someone else has. Have you been lured into thinking, "If only I had _______ like that person, my life would be great!"

Now, practice redirecting those thoughts by instead saying:

I am not equipped for their good.

I am not equipped for their bad.

I am not equipped to be them in any way.

I am, however, perfectly equipped to be me.

Reflections:
When I compare myself to others and start wanting what others have, it quite simply wears me out. I start feeling weary from wanting and burdened by trying to figure out how to have more, be more, and do more.

In light of all we've been talking about, isn't it interesting what Jesus instructs worn out people to do? Look at the power verse below.

Power Verses:
Matthew 11:28-30 finds Jesus instructing us, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (NIV)

© 2009 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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21 Comments:

Anonymous Teresa said...

Thank you Lysa for this devo. I can openly admit that sometimes I am stricken with cases of regret & wish-itis. I do replay past mishaps in my life and wish I had done something different. I look at other women in my life and in general thinking sometimes why did I not do this or that...but then, I think about my husband and children and THANK GOD!! He helps me to see that this is the plan HE has for me. You are so right in this devo that I not equipped to handle what I envy. That bad that goes along with the good may be something that would be very detrimental, physically, spiritually, financially, etc... The old adage "the grass is not always greener on the other side" comes to mind too. I thank God and also thank you for helping remind me that He has crafted me to be just who I am meant to be. He has also entrusted me with a wonderful husband, two beautiful & often rambunctious boys, great family and friends, whom I am truly grateful for in my life. Blessings.

Blogger Jessica said...

Thank you Lysa for showing me that I am not the only one who struggles with this. It seems that I am often thinking that if I had what she had my life would be great. Well, my life is great with what I have! Thank you for reminding me to be thankful for the blessings I do have!

Blogger Kate said...

Thanks for the devotion. Ive been wanting a few things other people had for a while. That really mad me relize i truely dont want it. Thanks! I feel like im going to have a great day. its a great way to start out your morning!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great thing to read this morning. I have had many experiences that have humbled me and made me so thankful for everything, good and bad, that makes up my life.

My ex-husband and I were friends with another couple. The guys were competitive in materials ways such as who had the better paying job, who had more toys and things like that. I got caught up in that for a long time. I envied the big house, the nice cars and their lifestyle in general.

The other husband died last year after a hard battle with cancer. His wife still has the house, the cars and all that "stuff" but she doesn't have him.

I have learned through this example and others that things are not always what they seem and we need to be careful what we wish for because we just might get it.

Anonymous Crystal M. said...

I am SO guilty of this that it isn't even funny. Thanks for letting the Lord use you. My house is never clean enough and my kids never behave well enough. That is the devil trying to distract me. It's hilarious how we can focus on what we don't have, but it is so hard to stop and be thankful for what we have avoided.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this devo. I too struggle with wanting what others have. I find myself focusing on what I don't have rather than on what I do have. The grass may be greener on the other side but it is also just as brown as well. I thank God for this reminder through this devo.

Anonymous Christina said...

God is Great! I thank God for waking me up early this morning to read your devo. Im 43 years old and find my self comparing my aging body to other womens beauty. I actually get myself into deep depression over it and start to feel less desirable has a woman of God. For example, I find myself wishing I could wear dresses like other women, but i can't because of the apparent spider veins that I have all down my legs. There are other things to mention, but don't do any good dwelling upon. I know I need to love and see myself as Christ sees me, but with much prayer and studying Gods word and using the tools God gives me through such mediums as this website and others, I know Jesus will restore my soul and mind. Thank you for your comforting and encouraging words Lysa. God bless you and your ministry.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

God is so good. Literally minutes before I read this I was struggling with comparison regarding my financial situation. I felt discouraged and needed some encouragement from the Lord, some Godly perspective. Thank you for these daily devotions, they do more good than you will ever know. God Bless.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

AMEN! The grass is not greener on the other side, the grass is not greener on your side, THE GRASS IS GREENEST WHERE YOU WATER IT!

Blogger Christi said...

Thanks Lysa. Some how, some way, God always knows what to tell you to tell me. He is an amazing God!

Comparison has always been an area of struggle for me. I have never thought about considering that the person I am comparing myself to or want to trade places with also has struggles (the good comes with the bad) or that simply praying for that person will wash away the threat of envy. Thanks for a new approach to dealing with comparison and battling envy and jealousy -- "I am not equipped to handle what they have, both good and bad" and, simply, praying for the person of comparison.

You always bless me with your daily blogs!

Christi

Anonymous Anonymous said...

yep! i've struggled with it and sometimes i still do. thank you for this devotional to help me realized God is good for giving me everything i can handle and not give me what i could not handle. :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you reading my journal? Can you read my mind? This devo is EXACTLY what I need to hear right now. Thank you for putting it so eloquently and for giving me my new favorite daily reminder!

Anonymous Janey said...

What an awesome God we serve!! He knows what we need, what we can handle and what we can't. I read what you all wrote and like you I from time to time envy what others have. To think of it as with that good also comes the bad is so true and makes me apperciate the great life the Lord has given me and how much He loves me meeting me right where I'm at. Reflecting on all the good He has given me of which I am so unworthy of receiving. He loves me and continues to work in our lives and bless us everyday. I am so excited to see what He will do next because good or bad He is at work and will be glorified no matter the situation.
Thanks so much for the devo. today and for all of you that commented. I'm not alone!! God is soo good!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Lysa...You always have the right devotion for me. I do often times struggle with wanting things other people have, when I should be thankful for what the Lord has blessed me with.
I look at my life and sometimes wonder where that perfect little life I had always pictured as a child had gone. The money, good job, big house, and expensive car. Thank you Lord that was not what I could handle, I could have missed so much!
Now, I am a stay at home mom, with a two year old little boy, and a wonderful husband who works hard for our family so I can do what the Lord called me to do, be a MOM. Thank you Lord for only giving me what you know I can handle and what I need when I need it. I am so blessed.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Lord for impressing upon Lysa's heart to say just the things we need to hear. It is nice to know we are not alone in our struggles as women, mothers, wives, sisters.....
I end each busy, cram-filled day reading these devotions, and have decided to turn it around and make time in the morning to start my day with these blessings!
Thank you Lysa & Proverbs 31 ministries for all you do!

Blogger Holly said...

Wow, this devotion could not have come on a better day. I am truly EXHAUSTED from constantly comparing myself, my house, my financial situation, my car...etc. to others. and yet, my husband and I keep wondering and praying when it will all be our turn. I think I am growing wiser as I get older and understand that truly the only thing that matters is my family, happy, healthy, and safe by my side. Thank you so much for clearing my brain to realize, God is great and loves for who we are and truly, he has a great plan for us all!

Blogger Sharon said...

Lysa the way God have been using you is Awesome. You are such a blessing to me and I am Thankful that you said Yes to God. I read your book and said Yes too. Radical Obedience! Thanks for the devotions. God Bless you and your family. We must be sisters in the Spirit world. lol

Anonymous Meg said...

"thank You for only entrusting me with what I have and who I am"

This is so true. I often look at myself in the mirror and struggle with what I see looking back. Sometimes it's tough for me to thank God for making me the way I am.
Yet, who better person to be. I have to believe that God entrusted me with this specific life for a reason and is molding me daily into the person "He" wants me to be. It doesn't matter how other people look or what they have, because that's them, I'm me, a broken, saved, creation of God, ready to do his will.

Blogger Vintage Girl said...

Well, It's 12:30 in the morning, and I am up in pain, crying because I realize that I have a problem with just being me. My friend is beautiful and rich, clever and perfect. I feel like a failure! I need God to show up and show me who I am in Christ, I need to be at ease around others. Stop comparing, it's like a weight around my head taking me under. Restore me Lord, I need you tonight.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.

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