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Mom of five lovely daughters, wife of one dashing man. Born in Utah, grew up in Oregon, live in Georgia.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Thou shalt not covet

All of the ten commandments are pretty strait forward. There is not much interpretation to "thou shalt not kill." But we know that when Christ came, He taught a higher law. "Thou shalt not kill" prompted teachings about avoiding anger and judgment.

It's my feeling that the higher law for "thou shalt not covet" is "thou shalt not compare." Coveting implies seeing something and desiring it so much that you'd do almost anything to get it. I doubt many of us go to that extreme. But, I do look upon someone's possessions, qualities, or situation and compare them to my own-- which comparison leads to feelings of inadequacy, jealousy, or pride. And could ultimately lead to covetousness.

A couple weekends ago I was showing my sisters a blog of a lady I've been comparing myself too. I don't know her personally, but via her blog she seems practically perfect. She's beautiful, talented, wealthy, spiritual, accomplished, skinny, and strong. She has trials in her life, but she seems to handle them with faith and determination. And even when she admits her personal short-comings it makes her seem even more perfect because it shows that she's humble. In showing my sisters the blog they didn't seem quite as impressed as I was. And finally Abbi said, "I've come to the conclusion that someone will always be prettier than me. And more talented. And more spiritual. And more popular. And have a better blog...." At first we laughed, but then I realized the truth in Abbi's comment. There will ALWAYS be someone better. So unless I am a machinists and want to continually torment myself with messages of "you're not good enough..." I think it's in my best interest to stop comparing myself to others. Not easy. But it is a higher law I hope to strive for.

And to help buoy up my commitment I re-read Elder Jeffery R. Holland's conference address, "The Other Prodigal." In it he reminds us that "No one of us is less treasured or cherished of God than another." He says, "I testify that He loves each of us—insecurities, anxieties, self-image, and all." And later he says, "All are privileged, the one like unto the other. Walk peacefully. Walk confidently. Walk without fear and without envy. Be reassured of Heavenly Father’s abundance to you always. As we do this, we can help others, calling down blessings on them even as they make supplication for us. We can cheer every talent and ability, wherever it is bestowed, thus making life here more nearly what it will be like in heaven."

Even though God does not bless us all in the same ways, when we seek His will and strive to follow His path, He gives us exactly what we need. In comparing myself to others I'm essentially saying, "Lord, what you've given me is not right. See that person over there? I want you to do it like that." But what folly that would be! I would miss out on the abundance that God has given me. And the opportunities that are uniquely mine.

10 comments:

Sweetest Of All said...

nicely put.
I'll stop coveting your life.
:)

Chris said...

And you never know what is going on behind closed doors of someone you think has things so perfect. I think we'd all be surprised. It's taken me a lot of years to realize that and to accept me and my life for what it is. I'm so grateful for it too.

stephanie said...

that's such a great quote from Elder Holland. thank you for a great post!

Elaine said...

Don't ever underestimate yourself. Good advice to remember and re-remember throughout our whole life.
I would be locked in my room in fetal position 24/7 if I compared my life to other's. It's just not worth it.

Dani said...

Such wisdom in this post! I love it! Thank you so much for sharing!

Stacey said...

This is a great post! I learned in my current real estate training class that I should never judge my insides with someone else's outsides. We've talked a lot about being grateful and finding ways to be grateful even with situations we don't find favorable. I've tried really hard to be grateful for my trials and look for a postive or lesson I've learned. It seems to help keep me from feeling sorry for myself or thinking the pasture is greener on the other side of the fence:) Thanks for another reminder of that.

Audra said...

So perfectly said. Thank you!

Michelle said...

I love this!!! And I think as women, we are more prone to this very thing. Thank you for the great insight! You are great, Jessi!

Shannon said...

Such a smart post and beautifully written. Thanks so much for your encouragement.

Abbi said...

This is so wonderful! I've been thinking about a very similar topic lately (hopefully I'll blog about it soon) and I love the insights you have in this post. Our differences are blessings, not a curse, and once we embrace them, the world is a much happier place to be!