Tuesday, September 9, 2014

avoiding comparison: the art of the intentional life

I have a love hate relationship with Pinterest. Most home magazines spur strong emotions in me as well. I’m suspicious that you feel the same way.

The reason I love them is clear. Abundant ideas, great recipes, and drool worthy gardens are enough to get my creative juices flowing. 

Unfortunately, I look at those things and then I look at the reality of my home.

The chickens have eaten my lavender plant. The kids have scratched up all the walls. The dogs have left icky stains on the carpet. And a cast iron skillet made its mark on the corner of my beautiful tile-right next to my newly scratched up kitchen sink. 

I cannot win this home decorating game. Don’t even get me started on the holes in my bedroom wall. 

I see the beautiful things on Pinterest and in magazines and rather than feeling inspired, I get heartburn. It’s clear that the intended inspiration got misplaced somewhere between my eyes seeing the image, and my brain processing the reality.

For me, living intentionally means that I avoid things like Pinterest and magazines. I wish it were otherwise, but they just seem to create this discontent in me that I cannot get around. When I’m  not content, I spend too much time focusing on what I don’t have, rather than appreciating all that I do have. 

Life is too short to spend it wanting what I don’t have. This concept is such a big deal that it headlines on God’s top ten list. Thou shalt not covet. Other versions put it as being envious or lusting.

The Hebrew defines it simply as desiring something. It doesn’t seem bad, but when we spend our days wanting things we don’t have, we end up not liking the things we do have. That’s not a fun way to be. 

My intentional life is one where I don’t focus on what I'm missing. Instead, I choose to be grateful for what I do have. For me, this is much easier when I’m off Pinterest and magazines. I’m not saying that this is something for everyone, it's something that I know God is asking of me. 

My heart is really sinful, and honestly, I know I’m not the only one. When the things I see in magazines draw my focus away from what God's given me; and instead put my focus on the material stuff of home, I can easily slip into idolatry. Sound harsh? It’s true. An idol is anything we idealize and honor more than God, it’s something that takes our focus away from God. 

Having idols also headlines on God’s top ten list, in fact, it’s number two. There, God says that we shall not make any type of idol for ourselves. In this day and age, we don’t often erect physical idols like the people of Israel did. But we do elevate ideas and thoughts and stuff higher than God. 

Intentional living means avoiding the things that I know cause problems in my heart, whether they’re magazines or friendships or food. 

What about you? Do you suffer from the same magazine inspired envy?


  1. I applaude you for being sensitive to God's prompting, calling you away from Pintrest and magazines. That's not an issue for me, BUT, we're planning a wedding for our daughter and I find myself wrestling with pride. At this time in our life we could afford to give an impressive wedding, but I know that wouldn't be wise or what God would want. I must remind myself daily that it's not about impressing the guests, which in some ways would feed my pride, but instead we should help our daughter and fiancé have a memorable wedding that is focused on this holy commitment rather trying to make things bigger and better to impress. That's not who our family is or what we're about.

    1. Man, I can totally see where you're coming from here. My daughters are a long way from marriage, but as a girl who loves to plan a party-I can see this totally being an issue for me. Funny how pride sneaks in, may God meet you here and bless your daughter with the just perfect wedding day!

  2. Amen to that! "I cannot win this home decorating game." Such true words. And while it's fun to dream and imagine, life is sticky and messy and chipped paint and all. Sometimes it can be hard to see that through some simple photos online!


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