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Here’s the scenario:

It’s the first day of school and you pile your kiddos into your comfy, paid-for minivan to drop them off.  As you enter the school premises, you notice very big and shiny SUVs (the kind you always wanted) scattered all over the parking lot.  Your well-used, paid-for minivan doesn’t seem so comfy anymore…

Does this sound familiar?  Remotely?

This is how I felt when I first moved to the South.  I had enrolled my daughter in private school and when I drove into the parking lot, my little red minivan was dwarfed by huge, expensive SUVs.  I felt small and envious. Looking back now, I see a few things wrong with this picture.

FIRST, why in the world are people driving SUV’s in the South?!?  It barely snows here and when it does, everything shuts down!  When we lived in Maryland, we had a blizzard so bad that they shut down the interstate to all traffic except for emergency workers.  My husband, who was an Army nurse, had to ask my neighbor for a ride to Walter Reed Army Med Center because our neighbor had an SUV and my husband had to get to work.  (What?  You didn’t know that the Army doesn’t give days off for weather?)

SECOND, I had a working, paid-for vehicle and the only problem was me.  Did you know that the only person that cares what you drive is you?  That same person, you, also only cares where you live.  When I see someone that is driving a car that is lesser than mine, I barely notice. However, I do notice when I see someone driving a car that’s better than mine.  Interesting how that works.

It’s been 6 years since that day in the parking lot.  I have learned that paid-for is definitely better, but I still fight with myself on a regular basis to not be envious about what I don’t have.  I am continually remind myself to be content with what I have and what circumstances I am in.  The Apostle Paul was a good example of being content in his circumstance when he was jailed and writing to the church of Phillipi:

Philippians 4:11-13 (New International Version)

11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I 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 or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.

To conquer the envy, I need to train myself to take my eyes off what others have and look at how the Lord has already blessed me.  I have also learned that when you take your eyes of yourself and help others it’s much more gratifying than any material possession can offer.