A friend on FaceBook recently shared this quotation: “You may think the grass is greener on the other side. But if you take the time to water your own grass, it would be just as green!” (anonymous). I don’t remember now who shared it, but I was struck by the implications of this simple statement and have been thinking about it ever since.
Girls, in general (and I definitely speak from experience here), have a tendency to gaze longingly at what someone else possesses and desire it for themselves. Have you ever seen a picture of a girl on the front of a magazine at the checkout stand, and thought something along the lines of “If only my hair was gorgeous like that!” or, “If only I had such flawless skin!” or, “I wish I could be a little skinnier…or curvier…or taller…or thinner…” or any other variation. Maybe you envy someone’s eyes, or their perfect teeth. Maybe you long for different clothes and shoes. I obviously don’t know the inner heart of every female on the planet, but I’ve spent enough time with young women to know that even the most self-assured girl longs for her “grass” to be a little greener than it is. We gaze across the fence into another’s life and are sure that somehow that person has it better than we do.
Unfortunately, this longing gaze causes us to neglect our own grass. Imagine along with me for a moment:
A young woman is put in charge of a garden patch. She doesn’t know much about gardening, but she starts out excited by the possibilities. Next door is a lovely, flourishing garden, and she can’t wait until hers look the same. Every day, she hurries to the fence to see how the neighbor’s garden is doing, and every day, she is thrilled by the new blossoms and wonderful scents that come from it. She watches as the neighbor waters her garden, pulls out the weeds, fertilizes, and trims back the dead foliage. Imagine that our young lady continues her vigil for a month. Day after day, she sees the wonderful beauty of the garden next door, and finally turns back to survey her own garden with disgust: overgrown with weeds, flowers dead or dying from lack of water, the smell of decay more prevalent than the smell of lovely roses…
Of course, this is a fanciful flight of the imagination, but I’m sure you understand where I’m going with this idea. This young lady’s garden could be aptly compared to the lives of many young women in the world who see something in someone else’s garden and want it, desire it, even lust after it…but never do anything about their own gardens.
Somehow we’ve tricked ourselves into the mindset that our lives are just going to be a miserable mess. That girl on the other side of the fence is just naturally gorgeous! That actress is just lucky to have men falling all over her. The popular girl at school just happened to have the right looks, or possessions, or charm. Notice, however, that I used the word “tricked.” Yes, life sometimes throws difficult circumstances our way, but that should never stop us from attending to our little garden/lives.
Carefully water, weed, and fertilize your own life, and I think you will be surprised at how remarkably beautiful your “garden” can become!
Note: In the next week or two, I will be sharing some of the ways I have discovered to take care of my little garden called life. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas, as well!