I like to read blogs, it is my guilty pleasure. If you are my husband you class blog reading as a time waster, but I think it is great. Well, great most of the time. Sometimes I get great ideas for crafts and cooking. I catch up on friends lives who are far away. I get to see pictures of the latest additions to families and hear all the fun stories that I don't get experience first hand. Sometimes blog reading is the high light of my day. But sometimes it is not so positive. Instead of being a guilty plasure, I become guilt ridden becasue of my attitude.
If I had to narrow down all of my faults and shortcomings and pick the worst one, I would have to say it is comparison. I have an (awful) tendency to compare my life and situation to others. not all the time, but jsut enough to make it an issue. And if that wasn't bad enough, I compare regardless of circumstances. That really gets me because you can not take a persons life out of context- everyone has their own set of struggles and complexities even if on the surface (i.e. their blog) everything seems perfectly fine. Even though my head knows this, sometimes my heart (and head too) forget this. And I compare as I read. Bad idea.
When I 'blog compare' one of two things happens:
Option 1: I end up feeling annoyed that other people have a house, space, expendable income, family close by, a dog, two cars, a gym they belong to, a donut shop near by, chick-fil-a...you get the picture. I get annoyed that they have things or conveniences that I don't. I never stop to think about all the benefits and advantages that my life offers. I never remember those when I am getting annoyed....no, no it's all doom and gloom.
Option 2: Self righteous Kristina comes out and I say (only to myself) that the author of the blog is either selfish, ungrateful, wasteful, arrogant, too 'Americanized' and so on. Both options suck and they both leave me feeling guilty and annoyed at myself for being so trivial.
It's a cycle and I know exactly how it is going to end and yet it happens anyway. You would think the easy solution would be to stop reading blogs. But the blog comparing only happens about 5% of the time, so I justify its ok. (I have an amazing knack for justifying my actions)
But it happened two days ago. Option 2 came out in full force. It was a fluke really. I just happened to read 4 blogs all of which discussed moving. The first one I read was a great story about God's provision and I was genuinely pleased for said blogger. But it all went down hill after that. The other 3 blogs mentioned how they wanted to move, but couldn't. They wanted/needed more space but had to try to be content in their 2, 3 and 4 bedroom houses respectively. Yikes- watch out world here comes self righteous Kristina- and she is not very nice!
My first thought was "seriously? you are a family of 3 and live in a 4 bedroom house and are complaining? Not enough space eh? Oh, poor little rich southern family. Try living in a flat the size of a one car garage with a family of 3 and then complain!" Gosh, when I type it out, I sound like a _____!! I did warn you, self righteous Kristina is not very pleasant. I should have stopped reading then. I knew I was getting frustrated for no reason. Every one's situation is different. Sure I may have lived in a tiny flat, but I lived in London. And I LOVED it. So I had no reason to complain. But logical thoughts do not win when I am being self righteous. So I kept reading the blogs.
These were random people too! I didn't even know them and I was getting frustrated! It was craziness. I kept reading and kept getting more annoyed that people wanted to move and have more space and bigger houses and a 3rd or 4th car. Never mind the number of materialistic posted I have written about the things that I want. No, no self righteous Kristina is perfect. I got frustrated and decided to tell Rhys all about it when he came home, because I just knew he would agree with me.
And I almost did too. But we got distracted playing with Ele, and eating dinner, and laughing....and then it happened. Conviction. Perspective.
We put on a BBC program about Thailand. The crux of the show was explaining how yes, tourism is a huge benefit to the Thai people, but there is a darker side as well. The Thai people are suffering because of high cost and poor conditions. Big hotel industries come in, buy up Thai land displacing hundreds of local people. The prices of goods (i.e. food, drinks etc..) goes up for the tourists, but the locals are then forced to pay the higher prices as well. The show profiled several different places and types of people, but the one that stoof out ther most was a group of 5 women working for a popular resort hotel. They were 2 plus hours from their families, living together in one room, working 6 days a week, 9 hour days and making a whopping £4.50 a day. And that is above minimum wage. These women were grateful for the work and they worked hard too. They were willing to do what it took to provide for their families, even if it meant being far away and working long hours.
One point the show tried to make was that the British tourist comes and goes freely in Thailand because it is so cheap. They spend hundreds on drinks, boating trips and spa treatments, however, they rarely tip. Leaving even something as small as a £1 or £2 tip could make the difference between eating and not eating to these women and their families. These women were really grateful to be making £4.50 a day. They were thankful to have a decent, clean place to live as so many others they knew were on the streets.
Yeah, I suck.
Here I am complaining about my jet setting European lifestyle and these women were thankful to even have a life. Ok, so maybe not 'jet setting' but I have lived and travelled freely around the UK and Europe and some of that freedom was because we lived in a smaller flat that was more affordable. We always had food, we always had more than enough clothes and even had enough money for extras. What was I complaining about again? And yeah, I wanted more space, just like the people whose blogs I was reading. Remind me again what was wrong with that? Self righteous Kristina sucks.
I am blessed. Really and truly blessed. I have an awesome life. There is honestly nothing to complain about. And there is absolutely no need to compare either. It starts of slow process of self destruction. Comparing myself with others robs me of the joy I should have. Not only rejoicing with others when things are going well for them, but also rejoicing in whatever my particular circumstance is. Being self righteous and negative doesn't uplift others and it certainly isn't positive for me either. Even if no one but me sees the self righteous Kristina, it is a prideful attitude that has no place in my life. Blog comparison (or any other type for that matter) sucks.
Maybe it goes to show that in our human nature we will always want more. Maybe part of that is longing for the home we are promised but don't yet have. Maybe it is just me and no one else struggles with comparison or 'the grass is greener over there' syndrome. But whatever the issue, I am grateful for the BBC helping me put it in perspective. (Although I have a sneaky feeling it was someone else reminding me to be grateful and thankful.)
"Give thanks in ALL circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18
"Pride goes before destruction, ahaguhty spirit before a fall. Better to be lowly with the oppressed than share in the plunder of the proud." Provers 18:18-19