Unshakable Hope

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

A Temptation I Can Relate To

Do you ever feel as if your Facebook friends have more exciting lives than yours; that by comparison your life is boring?

I recently read about a study, which concluded that Facebook and other social networking sites are leading many users to feel “dissatisfied with their lives.”  The study found that, “Witnessing friends’ vacations, love lives and work successes on Facebook can cause envy and trigger feelings of misery and loneliness.” Additionally, some people admitted that Facebook caused them to feel “frustrated or angry.”

Covet: To desire what belongs to another. (Webster’s Dictionary)   

As someone who rarely leaves home, I can relate to this. If it wasn’t for the Discovery Channel and the Travel Channel, I’d never even have imaginary adventures or vacations. When ALS forced me to quit work and began limiting my ability to travel, I quickly figured out just how dangerous and depressing coveting (the health and lifestyle of others) could be. Thankfully, with God’s help, I’ve moved beyond that temptation and am now genuinely happy when I see family and friends enjoying the health and wealth that God has blessed them with.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)

Thankfully, a few years after being diagnosed with ALS, I figured out that one of the problems with jealousy, or what the Bible calls covetousness, is that it keeps you from truly Rejoicing with those who rejoice” and, when you’re having a pity party, it’s also impossible to genuinely empathize with others – we cannot “weep with those who weep” because they’re stealing the spotlight that we think should be on us.

If you are one of the 33 percent of Facebook users that gets jealous when you read posts about your friends successes or see pictures of their fun vacations etc, ask yourself if you would be happy if none of your friends had any successes and never took vacations. I hope, like me, that’s the last thing you would want. In fact, to be honest, I only get frustrated with able-bodied couch potatoes; if I could speak I’d tell them to get up and go enjoy their life – like my mom used to tell me when, as a teenager, I was sitting on the couch watching Gilligan’s Island on a beautiful summer afternoon. If medical science ever makes it possible to do head transplants, watch out couch potatoes – I know of a lot of people with ALS and other disabilities that would make good use of your sedentary bodies.

The problem with sites like Facebook is that most people only post the highlights of the lives; they post pictures of their vacations, but rarely do they post pictures of themselves working. Mary’s sister is an executive with a large airline and for several years she would take our girls on exotic summer vacations; fun places like resorts in the Caribbean and Cabo San Lucas or the mountains of Colorado. Because their Aunt Kathy lives far away in another city, these trips were usually the only time the girls got to spend with her; they never saw her coming home exhausted after one of her frequent long days at work. Like our girls only seeing the good part of Aunt Kathy’s life, I think that Facebook, and the Internet in general, can give us a distorted view of reality.

You cannot be grateful for what you have when you’re focusing on what you desire.

“Thou shalt not kill,” “Thou shalt not commit adultery” and “Thou shalt not steal,” seem to get all the press these days, but “Thou shalt not covet” is still one of the Ten Commandments.

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183 thoughts on “A Temptation I Can Relate To

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  1. Reblogged this on Christine's Collection and commented:
    So Facebook isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!

    Plus all the movies and novels giving folks the feeling they are really missing out, the impression others lead such exciting lives. By comparison reality is so dull! And with glossy magazines showing us what our homes, yards, bodies, and vacations could look like. No wonder contentment is such a rare commodity. But, as Bill tells us here, it is possible to find and hang onto.

  2. FB reflects what happens in our work place, neighborhood and life in general but, praise be to God for FB, through it, I have meet people like you with several followers shining the light of God on my path. Though I have few followers, I appreciate them all for affirming my convictions and helping me to do better. May God deliver his followers from the spirit of Covetousness and people who are covetous.

  3. Bill,
    I found a wonderful surprise in my Inbox this morning; a like from you on a recent post that led me to your blog! Fifteen minutes later I know I’ve discovered a new resource for spiritual strength and insight.
    Thank you for sharing what God is teaching you through this extended trial called ALS.
    A few of my favorite inspirational books are by Amy Carmichael. She was a missionary to India and began a work with orphans. She was injured and spent the remainder of her time (over 30 years) bedridden. She continued to serve and lead from her bed of pain. Her writings reveal the depth of her suffering and the incredible God given insights she received as she waited upon the Lord and meditated on His word.
    Your insights into Romans 12:15 reminded me of Amy’s insights shared with many. Maybe there’s a book in your future.

  4. FB can be a negative out let if one allows it to be.
    I use FB for different things. One is posting things which I deem valuable or for people who I have accepted as friends, also one for those who I call my prayer warriors. Those to me are very important. The prayer warriors. For some times I want prayer for things I do not wish to share with those who know me. Private things I may be struggling with.
    People put too much emphasis on negativity. Whether it is on FB or in real life. I try to steer clear of those things. The enemy is really good at throwing that in your face.
    I had a guy in the building where I live, just the other day talking about another tenant in a negative way. Every time I tried to steer the topic to a more positive one he went right back to the negative track he was on. Then finally I said I had to go.
    Some times we just have to be polite & excuse our selves and pray for them in the mean while.
    If we’re living our life to the best we know how, the way God wants us to live it, will reflect all things towards God eventually.
    Bill I am so inspired from reading your blog. You are truly blessed to have a high quality woman beside you and a family who loves you.
    Keep up the inspired work your doing. God Bless!

    • Thank you so much for your comments. I agree with you that we shouldn’t focus on the negative; the research I cited found that about a third of FB users have a problem with envy (over their friends posts). That means that two thirds of FB users, like you, don’t have a problem with this.

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