The grass is always greener

I have a problem with life not being fair. I know this isn’t a newsflash for the few of you who have been in my Camry with me as I negotiate driving from Highway 59 on the ramp that leads to 610. The exit is CLEARLY marked, yet thousands of motorists blow by the nice cars who are following the rules in the right lane, so they can squeeze in the very last minute where 610 splits to go either left or right (I’m also directionally challenged) while the rest of us wait patiently. Or curse loudly.

This drives me insane. Don’t get me started on the number of times I let another car in front of me because my Mama didn’t raise a heathen, only to sit in stunned silence as the fancy pants driver doesn’t even acknowledge my existence. I’m convinced this is gateway behavior that will eventually lead to selling drugs on street corners. HOW HARD IS A COURTESY WAVE, PEOPLE?

Other things that aren’t fair in my life:

  • I struggle with muffin top on a daily basis and my mother has never been a three-digit weight.
  • My sister was blessed with gorgeous, flowing hair while I got stringy locks that resemble and old-timey mop.
  • Gummy bears, Oreos and Dr Pepper insist on being chock-full of calories.
  • Ryan Gosling never calls.
  • Friday Night Lights is over.
  • My expensive anti-wrinkle cream doesn’t seem to be working.
  • My apartment complex is kicking us all out by the summer.
  • My ex-husband has a wife and two kids.
  • I’m still single.

It’s easy to look around at other people in my life and be tremendously jealous of their lives in comparison to my own. Why can she eat whatever she wants and never gain weight? How come I don’t have a husband, two kids and a dog? Will I ever be able to afford one of those cars that looks like NASA control center on the inside? Why do boys ask her out, yet I haven’t been on a date since the Clinton Administration?

It’s the classic example of “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”

This week I watched a simulcast of the IF Gathering. A man by the name of Eugene Cho spoke about the “grass is always greener phenomenon” and made this bold statement:

“If the grass looks greener on the other side, it might be time for you to water your own grass.”

Consider my mind blown.

Some of you know that I volunteer at a homeless shelter called Star of Hope in downtown Houston. The ladies at my church provide manicures and pedicures to the women living there each month. I am constantly overwhelmed by their experiences and hardships, yet RARELY do I hear them complaining about green grass on the other side of the fence. They could easily look at my nice, clean, new Nikes and long for a pair to replace their worn shoes. They may notice my friend’s shiny diamond ring and cry out for a beloved husband of their own. They marvel at the countless choices of colorful nail polishes, remembering the day so long ago when they had the extra money to buy a bottle of OPI Candy Apple Red, which no longer makes financial sense when you live in a homeless center.

No. Many times these ladies cry out to the Lord in THANKSGIVING! They praise Him for soaking feet in hot water, hands massaged in smelly lotions, random strangers with smiling faces and the one woman who took time out of her day to stop looking at everyone else’s grass in order to water her own.

“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”
— Galatians 6:4-5 (Message)

Excuse me while I go purchase a much-needed watering can for my dry and thirsty grass.

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February 8, 2016 1:33 pm

Thank you for sharing your heart and struggles with all of us. More than once I’ve been encouraged by your reflections, and I often find myself sending the link to your blog posts to friends who are walking through similar struggles. God is using your experiences to reach people in ways you might not have ever dreamed they would.

February 8, 2016 1:34 pm

I struggle with the same feelings more than I would like to admit. My ex pulls in about 5 or 6 times what I do! A friend introduced me to Nick Vujicic He is so inspiring and made my grass appear greener instantly!

February 8, 2016 1:50 pm

Lincee, I love you. Thanks for being vulnerable, and for sharing this message. It speaks to me today! I’m going to go look for a watering can!

February 8, 2016 3:20 pm

Thank you Lincee! I try to live life this way, but something about that quote:

“If the grass looks greener on the other side, it might be time for you to water your own grass.”

just brings it home in a very succinct way. Thank you!

February 8, 2016 3:32 pm

You are my JAM Lincee!!! Love your spirit!!!

February 8, 2016 3:34 pm

Thank you Lincee. I love this. Social media certain doesn’t help matters and it’s easy to sit behind a computer monitor and wonder why ALL your friends have SO much and you struggle for everything you have. We don’t know the struggles those neighbors with greener grass have, so we just assume their lives are perfect.

Thank you for that Scripture passage…I’m going to save it and read it on a daily basis because my grass is brown and dead.

February 8, 2016 3:43 pm

Thank you so much for the beautiful post. A much-needed reminder.

Tanya T.
Tanya T.
February 8, 2016 3:57 pm

Thanks for the reminder.

February 8, 2016 4:19 pm

Thank you for sharing ! This post really spoke to me today. I often ask myself many of the “whys” that listed and then have to remind myself of my many many blessings.

P.S. I just saw an article that they were doing a Friday Night Lights reunion. Not sure if this is a reunion show or just a reunion of the cast for a festival!

February 8, 2016 4:31 pm

You might not want to hear this, but traffic patterns are designed for maximum efficiency and the ideal is the late merge. When everyone merges far in advance of a lane closure, there’s actually more delay than necessary on traffic. (That said, it’s obviously most courteous to merge if everyone else is merging rather than zipping along and doing the late merge; but traffic planners really want an equal number of cars in all open lanes until the exact time the lane closes.) But to your actual point, I used to lament being the only single person in my circle of friends and someone said to me once, if you want to be married, your citizenship alone offers you hundreds of thousands of potential husbands. Somehow that turned on a light for me and I started to realize that some of the marriages I saw were not near as good as my single life and I tried to appreciate my own grass (and its benefits) more. I didn’t want to be married just to be married, I only wanted to get married if it really was the right guy and enough to give up all the good parts of the single life.

February 8, 2016 6:27 pm
Reply to  Carina

There are no merging lanes at the interchange that she is speaking of.

SGT Cole
SGT Cole
February 8, 2016 5:53 pm

My dearest cousin Lincee, I don’t know why life has been particularly unfair to you. I don’t know why it has been so good to me – far better than I deserve. All I can tell you is that your life, your heart, and your soul bring warmth into a nasty, indifferent world. Such that I feel much more apt to admire than pity you.

February 8, 2016 6:33 pm

This obviously was not the point of your post, but I drive that all the time, so the exiting onto 610 comment cracked. me. up.

February 9, 2016 12:27 am

You are such a gem Lincee! You have a gift of putting into words what others are thinking, but in such a creative, thoughtful way. It’s always a pleasure to read your work. Remember, Mindy Kaling wrote a book called ‘Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?’. The idea that some of us are lacking what others seem to easily have is universal. And fwiw, Gosling never calls me either!

February 9, 2016 6:53 am

You might need to water your own grass, or that green grass on the other side might in fact be astroturf. Sometimes you see the happy green grass of someone else, and it turns out that it’s fake. Everyone goes through struggles and most people try to hide those less-than-perfect parts of their life. You sound so very grounded and like a really wonderful person – I’m betting your grass is plenty green already.

February 9, 2016 7:54 am

I have hear a similar saying, that the grass is always greener on the other side, but it still has to be mowed.
Same, but different, and I thinks it is about maintenance. You take care of something and it thrives and it doesn’t go without notice. But agreed, take care of what God has given you and your need to compare will lessen. Have an attitude of gratitude, and always remember a smile increases your face value!!
Love your insight and wit….xoxoxo

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