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13
Not What It Seems by Amy Peterman
September 13, 2014

This summer, my husband and I celebrated our twentieth anniversary. As a gift to ourselves, we bought a trailer, something we had wanted for several years. We carefully planned a trip for our anniversary week, meticulously crossed items off our packing list, and took off for what we hoped would be a memorable week in the woods.

It rained for twenty-four hours straight.

Our campground neighbours argued loudly most of the evening.

It was so cold that we couldn’t even sit outside and enjoy the scenery.

The trailer needed a mechanic.

It rained again. And again.

There were snakes.

Does this sound like the anniversary of your dreams? Unfortunately, those are all true statements about our trip. 

But fortunately, that’s only part of the story. There are other details that I haven’t even mentioned yet: On the morning of our anniversary day, against all odds and certainly against the local weather report, the rain stopped and the sun came out. It shone all day. We rented a canoe and paddled among beautiful islands. We saw two loons perform a stunning synchronized swimming routine, which is one of my all-time favourite wilderness memories. 

The neighbours quit fighting. 

We discovered that the heater in the trailer works really well.

At exactly the right time, God led us to a small-town mechanic who was able to help us out, charging us significantly less than we probably would have paid elsewhere.

Right next to our campsite, we saw a scarlet tanager and several beautiful woodpeckers.

And the snakes? They never came near us. In fact, we admired them from the safety of our canoe and got some good pictures.

The trip was fun, and God provided everything we needed. Not only did we love the park, but also the views were magnificent, the birds were gorgeous, and the hiking was excellent (even in the rain!). 

If you had only some of the information, you might think this sounds like a pretty bad camping trip. But that’s the problem with incomplete information. . . . it leads to incorrect assumptions.

We forget that we have only some of the information about the people around us. Looking at them, we assume incorrectly that their lives are beautiful and problem-free. It’s so easy to think that “everyone else” has it all together. The lies fill our heads, and we find ourselves wishing we could trade places with someone else.

But things aren’t always what they seem. 

Those people that seem to have it all also have troubles. And hurts. And pain. And insecurities. And they’re looking at someone else and wishing they could have that person’s “easy” life.

How quickly we buy into the lies of insecurity and dissatisfaction. The antidote to the lies we believe is truth: 

Dwell on praiseworthy things, not negativity: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil. 4:8 ESV). 

You are highly valuable to God: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 ESV). 

In a group as large as the one we’re expecting at the Living Proof Live Simulcast, there will be ample opportunity—or temptation—to compare yourself to others. Resist. The people who seem to have everything together would be the first ones to tell you that they don’t. Rather than wishing away your life in discontent, turn your focus outward instead of inward. Reach out to someone in generosity, encouragement, kindness, and love. We all need that.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10 ESV). 

 

Father God, help us to be content, to walk in love, and to build each other up.

Amy Peterman

Filed under: Simulcast Blogs

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