“The grass is always greener…” was one of the many cliché quotes my parents would often chant at me when I was growing up. Usually, it came up when I was complaining about [insert typical complaint from a teenager]. It was often said along with “Don’t cry over spilt milk”, “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?”, and perhaps my least favorite, and most accurate one of all, “You’ll understand when you’re older.” I responded to all of these sayings with a classic eye roll and an expertly practiced groan. However, the reality of it all is that many of these things have so much hidden truth. Now that I’m older, I have come to realize that we all fight what I call the greener complex.
We tend to wish for different times to happen, and for them to happen now.
Life moves fast; I don’t need to tell you that. It seems to change in the blink of an eye. The days and weeks seem to drag, but the years fly by (yes, another wise word from my folks). When we are stuck in periods of our lives that are complicated, messy, difficult, and just plain awful, we feel like the season will never end. We tend to wish for different times to happen, and for them to happen now.
I am currently engaged to a pretty incredible guy, and we’ve been together for over 2 and half years. The catch is, we have been long distance for almost our entire relationship. Now that we’re engaged, all I have been looking forward to is finally being with him. Long distance is no picnic, and the longer we do it, the harder it seems to become. Being content with current circumstances is not something I am well known for, especially when they are circumstances that test me. Now that there is an end date on the horizon, I have been continually wishing for this season to hurry up and end. Convincing myself that the next season has to be better than this long distance nightmare we’ve been stuck in for over two years.
The greener complex is when we have the thought of “if only…” (you finish the sentence). If only we could get out of debt, things would be easier. If only the kids were out of this challenging phase, things wouldn’t be this hard. If only I could get the promotion at work, then I wouldn’t have to worry as much. If only I could hurry up and start the next stage of my life, because whatever is next has to be better than what I’m leaving behind, it has to. We’ve all done it. We’ve wished away entire moments, stages, and seasons of our lives because we are so sure that whatever is next is better and most certainly greener than where we are now. While sometimes it’s true, we can’t fall into the trap of wishing away our current circumstances — that’s not what God wants for us.
We can’t fall into the trap of wishing away our current circumstances, that’s not what God wants for us.
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth,” Colossians 3:1-2. He is constantly teaching us and using us in ways we can’t even fathom in our current circumstances. He doesn’t want us to always be dissatisfied with our situations, no, that is the worldliness in us. Paul says it best in Philippians 4:11 “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” In WHATEVER situation, we are to be content…we all go through hardships, but wallowing in them and wishing them away is not the answer. This life is not easy, and it never will be if we are living for Jesus. “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do ALL things through HIM who strengthens me”, Philippians 4:12-13.
We always have control over whether or not we are content.
We all have lows and seasons we want to end, but God is always faithful and never leaves us. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” Philippians 4:6-7. We can’t control everything that happens to us in this life, but we can control how we think and act in those circumstances. We always have control over whether or not we are content. While the easy path is to wish for the greener side of things rather than face what we don’t want to, that is not the path God calls us to. We find our contentment in trusting Jesus Christ and knowing that He is faithful. Find peace from the one who offers strength and understanding, and don’t wish away the seasons we currently face. We will never be content in this world because we are not meant to be. That’s why our contentment comes from our God. Striving to find His contentment in all circumstances is so much better than wishing for something greener, because it is real.
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About the Author
Kelsey is the Kids Kount Outreach Coordinator and a graduate of Concordia University in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her favorite week of the year is VBS, she loves to quote the TV show Friends, and she’s an avid Michigan fan (sorry not sorry, Husker fans).