Is the grass really always greener on the other side?
Posted by Chris Scott (Senior Leader Bridge Church)
We have all heard that well know phrase 'The grass is always greener on the other side.’ The essence behind this phrase is there are times in life when it feels like other people, other places and other environments, appear to be more exciting, more rewarding and more fulfilling than where you are right now! It's all too common for people to use this lens to view their work situation, finances, maybe their church, where they live, or even tragically their relationships.
At times it seems like as we peer over the garden wall of our life, all we see is an explosion of vibrant green foliage next door; a garden bursting out in radiant and resplendent brilliance. Then as our eyes return to our side of the wall we just see a muddy bog, or a weed-ridden, bramble filled jungle!
Lets be honest, there are times, when this saying may contain some semblance of truth, but I do strongly suspect that the vast majority of the time, this rose-tinted view of the ‘other side’ is misleading and delusional. It is an illusion that grows from an unhealthy attitude to what we have, or perhaps more accurately, what we don't have, and this has more to do with the lens through which we are looking, rather than with what we are truly seeing.
Here is a truth that will keep us all in good stead:-
The grass is not greener next door, it’s greener where we water it!
Luscious green grass is a product of intentional care and nurturing rather than a random consequence of circumstance. Every garden has the potential to be greener than it currently is, but for that to happen, we need to change the way we treat it, and that is a choice we must make.
The starting point for this garden makeover is to adopt an ‘attitude of gratitude.’ As someone once said ‘Gratitude waters the garden of our heart with wonder, joy, and faith.’ Gratitude changes the lens through which we see ourselves and our circumstances.
Paul says in 1 Thess 5:18 that we are to ‘give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus’
Now let’s be clear here, these words are more than just a casual recommendation or a bit of friendly advice. Paul declares unapologetically, this is ‘Gods will for you in Christ.’ In other words, this is the way God purposed us to live! As a response to being ‘in Christ’, we can and should have a disposition of thankfulness in every situation. Why is this so important? Because God knows that an attitude of gratitude will break the power of greed and self-reliance over our life, and these are the true enemies of a secure, faith-driven life.
An attitude of gratitude can obliterate fear, hopelessness, and doubt. It can heal broken hearts and restore broken relationships. Gratitude finds the good in everything and creates hope. Hope brings joy, and it is in that joy that we find our strength. A positive mindset won’t necessarily mean you will get to do everything you want in life, but it will radically transform the way you do what you do!
So, rather than hate the work you do, choose to be thankful you have a job. Many don’t! Rather than seeing your boss or colleague as your enemy, be thankful that you can change that through prayer, and start to pray for him/her. Rather than wishing you were married to, or with someone different; be thankful you are not alone, and start feeding your relationship with love, respect, and honour. Rather than criticising your church for not meeting all your needs, start being thankful that you have an opportunity to meet the needs of others. It's truly amazing, but the more we appreciate what we have, and the more we water our garden with a renewed sense of thankfulness, believe me, it won’t take long for things to start greening up!
So, is the grass greener on the other side? Probably not. Don't buy into that lie. The grass will be greenest where you water it, and I suspect that as you live this way, you will thrive, and if you look carefully enough, you may well find that someone on the other side of the garden wall is looking at you and thinking exactly the same way!