The Green Green Grass of Home
In a recent message our pastor, Don Nordon, joked that the grass is always greener over the septic tank. Ha! Great joke and wonderful analogy. Those people, places and things that seem so wonderful to us from a distance only seem that way because of the “crap” beneath the surface.
In reality, there is no greener grass than the yard our Heavenly Father planted you in. When we envy, it takes our focus away from the wonderful (or wonder filled) lives He has given us and turns our own hearts into stench reeking septic tanks.
Love Doesn’t Envy Other People’s Careers
The following is from the notes I took when I first started studying about Love a few years ago:
I have experienced envy in my life and my career as a professional musician. I had a plan when I matriculated into the University if Texas at El Paso. I was going to follow the proper channels that were certain to propel me into the music career that I saw in my head. When there was trouble during my fifth year as an undergrad, I made the mistake of leaving UTEP to move here to Houston to finish my degree at the University of Houston.
It turned out that the trumpet professor and I didn’t get along very well. Our relationship ended in conflict with him telling me to leave his studio and never return. He then told me that, in all his years of teaching he has only ever had two failures and that I was the second of those two.
As a result, nine years after I began my academic studies, my academic options had expired. With no degree and no financial resources to try yet another university, I was faced with a major career decision. Do I quit or do I try to fashion a career out of what I had, which at that time amounted to almost nothing.
I chose not to quit. I began the professional leg of my musical career with no credentials of any sort. On paper, my career was nonexistent and I was often criticized for it, quite harshly at times.
By the grace of God, I have enjoyed a successful musical career, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that there were times when I envied those who had credentials in their careers. I envied the players who went to universities like Julliard and the Eastman Conservatory. I envied the musicians who had toured the world with famous bands. I envied the teachers who had prominent teaching positions in respectable universities. I made bad decisions in my career and I wished I had the credentials they had.
There are people who use envy as a source of motivation. They actually invite the envy to control them because they believe they cannot accomplish anything valuable without that motivation. The problem is that envy takes our focus away from doing God’s will. Instead, through envy we focus on what we think we want, basing that want on the “advantage” that others posses.
What our Heavenly Father gives to other people is not better than what He is willing to give to us. The grass is not greener on the other side. I know people who envy me because I have had a successful career as a professional musician. I have lived the dream of a great many trumpet players, but most of them would cease to envy my life if they knew what I have had to sacrifice for it. Most of them know nothing of the sacrifices musicians must make in the context of their families and their life styles.
When we envy others, we are basically saying that we are not happy with what God has given us. We are not thankful.
Furthermore, envy causes us to be less giving into the lives of others. When we envy what others posses, we feel that we have nothing of value to give of ourselves. We said earlier that kindness is when we give what is not deserved, but when we fail to recognize our own worth, we are then less able to show kindness.
Trusting God With Your Worth
What I learned as a result of my lack of career credentials was that I needed to trust God to be the best judge of my worth (Joh 16:27), not myself and not other people. If God sees value in me, that should be all I need to see value in myself.
With that new attitude, I was able to stand on the strengths He gave me and grow into the career path God set in motion for me (Jeremiah 29:11). Ironically, those things that I previously saw as disadvantages have since turned into advantages (Romans 8:28). His plans for my career were far better than anything I wanted to do when I first made the decision to become a full time musician.
Let God Grow YOUR Career
I enjoy the successful career I do today because God sees value in me, not because I was able to “keep up with the Joneses.” When I finally understand that He sees worth in me, I was able to seek that worth myself and begin sharing that with other people. I encourage you to do the same. Stop trying to be something or someone that God never intended you to be. Stop trying to be “as good as” the other people in your line of work.
Instead, consult the one who set your career in motion. Ask God what your strengths are and what he wants you to do with them. When you align you career with His will, there is no limit to how far you can take it.