I believe that this way of living . . . , this intense concentration not on the news headlines but on the flowers growing in your own garden, the children growing in your own home, this way of living has the potential to open up the heavens, to yield a glittering handful of diamonds where a second ago there was coal. –Shauna Niequist (quoted in Gary Thomas, Pure Pleasure.)
This quote touches on something that has been floating around in my mind. I’ve been considering the effects of the internet and other media on our lives. The effects are multitude to be sure, and some are certainly positive. (I would not have had the book to read and get the quote were it not for the internet!)
But this ability to be so much a part of the whole world…I am not sure this is a good thing. I think it limits us far too much. What I mean is this. Say I find myself interested in, well, almost anything. I can research it online, find out where to buy whatever it is I need to do it. How to do it. Opinions on it, and who the best are at it. All of this before I have ever picked up the paint brush or tennis racket or guitar.
This can be quite demoralizing and keep us from even trying. It can also leave us perpetually dissatisfied with our efforts at our chosen pursuit. We feel the need to compare ourselves (for whatever reason) and the internet allows us to compare ourselves to the entire world. This is not fair. It is akin to a 40-year old who decides to take up jogging to shed a few pounds trying to compete in the Olympics.
There is pleasure to be had in a myriad of pursuits. In some ways, the internet helps. It is much easier to network with and find resources for others who share your interest. Especially if it is something a little less main stream. But this networking can quickly lead to comparing which can lead to dissatisfaction.
The same can be true of our kids and our spouse, our pets and our house. If we compare them…I am pretty sure God said something to Israel about that through Moses on a mountain…
I came upon a profound quote on a “de-motivational” poster once that has stuck with me.
“If you can’t learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly.”
Underneath the sarcasm and the picture of the skier wiping out that graced this print, I think there is some truth. So what if I can’t play piano as well as someone else. I still enjoy sitting at it and plucking out some of my favorite hymns on occasion. I’m not a 5-star chef, but I enjoy preparing a meal for my family that they appreciate and enjoy. I may not be a master carpenter, but I can make some stuff that has proven useful for my family and me.
Our job isn’t to compare what God has blessed us with with His blessings to anyone else. Not my neighbor across the street or on Facebook or anywhere else. We should learn to say “than you” more and “I wish” less. I think we would all be more content. I know I am when I live this way.