Most of us have heard this expression countless times: “The grass is always greener on the other side,” with the meaning that the situation somewhere else always seems better than where we are. Usually it’s an assumption that a different set of circumstances — job, family, location, weight, friends, spouse — would make us happier.
There’s also a thought-provoking counter expression: “The grass is always greener where you water it.” Or another way to phrase it — “fertilize the side you’re on.”
Sometimes it’s hard to be content on our own side. The Apostle Paul encourages us in Phil. 4:11-13 that there’s a secret to living content: be strengthened by God. Having been through shipwrecks, beatings, imprisonment, and even a snake bite, I think he probably has a clue about this contentment thing.
As for today, during this time of pandemic, there have been more rules and regulations placed upon us than ever before. Some regions require masks to be worn at all times, some areas have curfews in effect, some situations order a quarantine when traveling from certain areas, some schools are opening while others are not. All of these conditions have brought up quite a bit of conflict and discontentment. To be honest, they have for me. That’s why Father God brought me to these words from brother Paul.
Instead of wishing I could do “this,” or complaining because I can’t do “that,” what if I chose to water the grass I’m standing on instead of looking for greener grass?
- I could choose to be thankful and focus on the opportunities and privileges I do have rather than what I don’t.
- I could choose to be at rest and trust God for the uncertainties that lie before me, rather than be anxious and worry about the future.
If I have the ability to change my situation, I can take action — I don’t have to play a victim. If circumstances are beyond my control, then I need to rely on God’s promises and rest in His unfailing love. He’s a good Father.
In these verses, Paul states that he has “learned” to be content. I don’t think we’re born with contentment or else we’d see small children happy with whatever toy we give them and willing to share. No, this doesn’t usually happen. We have to learn to be satisfied with our present set of circumstances.
Learning is a process. There are lessons. Think of life as a class you’re going through, a journey of explorations. Be involved in it, don’t just let it happen to you.
So as much as we presume the other side has greener grass, let’s take a lesson from Paul and ask the Lord to give us strength to be content right where we are.
We may find out it’s actually better.