When I was a girl, I used to dream longingly of having a sidewalk in front of my house where I could roller skate or ride my bike or play hopscotch. In my daydreams, I would play on that sidewalk with my neighbor who lived right next door. So close, in fact, that we could whisper secret plans to each other from our bedroom windows.
You see, I grew up in the country. There were no sidewalks, only gravel roads. I didn't have roller skates because nobody roller skates on a gravel road. There was no neighbor right next door, only a pasture and a barn.
I remember hearing about other kids getting an allowance and I thought that parents in the country must not know they were supposed to pay their kids for doing the dishes, and I guessed my parents hadn't heard that neighborhood kids never had to hoe the garden or feed the chickens.
I remember thinking that I would never live in the country when I grew up. I wanted sidewalks and next door neighbors! The good life!
What I didn't know then was that there were other little girls who dreamed longingly of riding horses and petting kittens in a hayloft and finding eggs in the hen house. All of the things that were part of my life were things that other people were wishing they could have, just like I was wishing for what they had.
Isn't that the way it is all too often? We look at what others have, sanitize it, romanticize it, and then spend our time wishing we had it?
The truth is, "the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" (Jer 17:9)
I guess that's why the apostle Paul reminded us that "godliness with contentment is great gain". (1 Tim 6:6) God knew that the human heart would be tempted to covet our neighbor's possessions, and we are reminded to learn to be content no matter what the circumstances. (Phil 4:11)
Notice Paul says, "I have learned to be content..." Yes, it is a learning process.
I'm still learning. How about you?