"Comparing ourselves with others. Our culture seems to be obsessed with it. We have influences everywhere telling us who we are supposed to be. Advertisements portray images of beauty in the form of luxury. Social media encourages us to create the perfect display of our lives, posting pictures of vacations and possessions. We are bombarded with depictions of the perfect life. This causes one to wonder what the effect of all this has on us.
There appears to be a number of outcomes. Some perceive other people's lives to be much better, creating feelings of inadequacy. Some try to point out the faults of others in order to bring them down to their own perceived level. Others become determined to make their lives better than everyone else's. The only thing that doesn't seem to be a result of all this is contentment. It is a rare thing in this culture of bigger, better, more. However, there is a perspective that can help us achieve contentment, even in the midst of such powerful influences.
Turning to God helps us to see things differently. It shifts our perspective. We realize that our purpose in life is not to be the best, but rather to love and be loved. We stop pointing out faults in others because we realize we are all corrupt compared to God. Instead, when we see those faults, we thank God for His mercy to forgive them. We stop envying lives of luxury because the riches of contentment in God's love are more valuable than all the finest luxuries combined. We realize that we can't take anything with us when we die, but that we can be saved through faith in Jesus Christ, and that is enough.
None of this is to say that life will be easier if we turn to God. In many ways it gets harder. However, by turning to God we obtain the strength and perspective to endure. We exchange anxiety for peace, anger for forgiveness, envy for contentment, and hatred for love. Our minds are renewed, and we begin to learn the mysteries of God's love. The influences of a culture obsessed with making the "self" god over all lose their power. Our attention migrates to the living God, and we surrender control to the One who created us. It truly is amazing to have the privilege of a personal relationship with a Being so mighty and powerful. There is nothing like sending up a prayer and getting it answered in a way that coincidence can't account for. When it happens, the reality of God becomes manifest, and the soul fills with joy and contentment.
William Joseph Scheremet