I shared this on my personal Instagram and Facebook a few days ago but felt it poignant enough to blog about it. It hit home for a few friends and I thought maybe it might help someone else going through the same thing.
I woke up this morning feeling a little bitter and I’m trying to shake it off, reading some verses and talking to Jesus. Wishing past mistakes weren’t made, decisions were different, that I had what I see so many others have. Making plans and feeling so excited for them, only to have the plans deflate right in front of you like a popped balloon. It’s disappointing and heartbreaking, and upsetting!
Coveting is a sin, it says so in Exodus. I know this, and yet I fall prey to it more often than I would care to admit. Am I alone here?
The silly part is that I am woke enough to know that the grass isn’t necessarily greener over there. I also recognize that my own life is something others covet, too – a loving, committed marriage of nearly two decades with my best friend; four healthy, incredible children; a booming, successful business. I am so grateful for the blessings in my life and yet still somehow feel less-than, inferior to, and not fulfilled.
Wanting more or something different isn’t wrong, but being bitter or angry about it? That’s a waste of your energy.
Am I jealous of my best friend since high school who went out with other friends to see our favorite 90s boy band without me last week? Ummm yes. But does that detract from our 25 year friendship or lessen my love for Backstreet Boys? Absolutely not. In fact, it makes me want to work that much harder so I can plan trips to Tennessee and Georgia to be with my two best friends in the world more often, and do more things together. God’s honest truth? It also makes me want to bust my ass so we can move closer to at least one of them. That’s definitely something I’ve been yearning for over the last several years and sometimes it feels like it’s never going to happen.
Do I wish I had more of the talent, skill and success of the other people in my industry? Yes, of course! But does that mean I have no talent, no skills and no success of my own? Absolutely not, because that is freaking silly. I’ve found success beyond my wildest dreams since I opened this little side hustle in 2010. There aren’t very many people who can say that they’ve photographed weddings from New York to LA, that they’ve been on reality TV, had their images printed in national ad campaigns, been interviewed by the NY Times, relocated their business half a dozen times cross-country without missing a beat, or been able to live the life I’ve lead. I don’t say these things to brag, but to remind myself that just because I don’t have thousands of followers on social media doesn’t mean I’m not successful. Success comes in all forms!!
Am I sad that we worked all summer toward a big plan to move back to the south and before we could even publicly announce that it had come to fruition, our carefully curated and much-prayed-for dreams crumbled like a sand castle at high tide? More than you could possibly know. I’ve been struggling with physically living up in the north, since losing my thyroid in 2020 and having weight loss surgery in 2021. I am so cold all the time that it’s become painful to be outside here 75% of the year in Wisconsin. Literally the day before we were going to share that we were finally moving to Texas and that Randy had this amazing new job lined up, some harsh truths about this job came to light. After heavy conversations and lots of praying about it, we decided it was better to wait for the right job than to take the wrong one, even if it meant being patient. Y’all, patience is not my strongest personality trait!
It’s very easy to be angry for things not working out the way you want, to be resentful of others’ lives and successes and to be jealous of everything under the sun. And choosing to be that way means that I am choosing to let the enemy whisper in my ear and listen to his lies, and worse: believe in the enemy’s words.
I’m here to tell you this: don’t do it, girl.
If anything, talking this through and praying about it lights a fire under me to do more, be more, to be specific with my time efforts. To be the proverbial hardest worker in the room, because there’s too few people who work hard enough to actually earn and deserve the dreams they desire. So if you need me, I’ll be over here – praying and putting in the work that needs to be done.
Instead of wishing I had what others have, I am going to focus instead of gratitude for what is in front of me. And I have SO MUCH. I am going to stay in my lane and continue to give 100% to my photography clients, to continue to develop my education for my photography and business students and not let envy detract from my pursuit of happiness. And I’m going to pray.
And instead of feeling less than or inferior of imposter syndrome, I am going to recognize where my cup is full and thriving. I know that have a ton to offer the world! Am I going to be the next Jasmine Star or Ben Hartley? Probably not. But I am going to continue to be happy being Ashley Durham because I’ve got my own experience, education and opinions to offer the world. And I’m going to pray.
Instead of being angry that mistakes were made or that decisions didn’t lead to where I thought they should, I am going to pause and ask myself, “what can I learn from this experience?” Not only that, but realizing that God’s plan for us is still in the works and that good things come to those who wait. And I’m going to pray.
Just some food for thought this morning.