Why the Grass is Never Greener on the Other Side of the Fence

I love the suburban town we live in because there are pastures full of cows & horses interspersed between neighborhoods & many of the roads are still 2 lane pass through.  It gives me the feeling of living somewhat in the country while having the conveniences of the city.  Last summer as I drove from one side of town to the other,  I noticed this cow straining to get his head through a fenced area to eat the grass just outside his own pasture.  I chuckled at how far he had pushed his body up to the barbed wire fence, just to get a little taste of the grass on the other side. 

My mind drifted swiftly to that old phrase, “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.”

I thought about how true this had been in my life.  About how I had spent seasons of my life, looking so forward to the next phase or transition, that I had wasted valuable time.  I thought when the expected times arrived things would be better, but upon the occurrence of ‘the other side,' I would find, the same difficulties, trials & discontentment.

When I was young, I thought getting out of school would bring the freedom & happiness I longed for.  Then I thought the right job would satisfy, then it was marriage & then it was kids & then it was moving into the right house.  The list goes on & on, but somehow with each change of scenery, I still found the same frustrations & adversity. 

As I thought about that cow pressing against the fence, I thought how foolish I was ever to think the grass was greener on the other side.  When what I have really come to realize is that the grass is greener where I let my Shepherd {Jesus} lead me.

Once I finally realized that the key to green, lush grass is taking my eyes off my situation & placing them persistently on Jesus, I began to find that expected times & events were just things the Lord was blessing me with but I no longer had to look to them for fulfillment.  

And I realized something; even the most beautiful, lush, green pasture still has cow poop in it. 

So even when my situation isn't any better off, my relationships aren't perfect & my circumstances aren't ideal, my Shepherd is leading me through green pastures & my focus becomes clear so that I don't step in the cow poop!  I no longer have to strive to get to greener grass.

But I have a choice in the matter.  I can keep my eyes on the side of the fence where I can't go {thinking there is no poop over there} or I can keep my eyes on the Shepherd that leads me through the pastures He wants me in.  Even when my life doesn't look the way I had ever hoped or dreamed, the Father still is leading me every step & I can trust in Him.

That day, driving down the road,  I also thought about Psalm 23.   The passage we all know as the key scripture for funerals everywhere, but is genuinely 6 verses full of complete direction for the living.   All that kept running through my head was the verse that says "He makes me lie down in green pastures," so I read the chapter again & came to see how Psalm 23 shows so clearly the depth of the abundant life we have in Jesus. {John 10:10}

The Lord is my shepherd.  I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You{god} are with me; Your rod & Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
Surely goodness & mercy will follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
{Psalm 23}

Here’s what I realized about the pasture I'm walking through: 

The LORD is with me ~  He is my Shepherd.  A Shepherd never leaves His sheep because if he did, a thief or predator would come.  I can relax in the place that Jesus has me in right now because He is with me.  He calls me by name & meets my every need.  {Psalm 23:1, John 10:3}

The LORD is beside me ~ He is leading me beside still waters.  That means He is always close enough to touch & I can rest in His goodness.  He is the One Who restores my soul.  That means when my life is spinning out of control, I can stop & catch my breath with Him & He will take me to a good place.  Practically, when I have lost hope in life, I can call on Him to restore my hope. {Psalm 23:2, John 10:4}

The LORD is before me ~ I don't have to fear anything in the future of my life because He is already before me.  He knows what's coming in my life & He is not surprised by anything that comes my way.  If I trust Him to be there already, then I can trust Him to sustain me while I walk through whatever my circumstances are. {Psalm 23:3, John 10:9}

The LORD is covering me ~ He protects my life from evil & danger & He is there comforting me as I go through difficulties.  He is the good Shepherd & a Shepherd never leaves his flock. {Psalm 23:4, John 10:11}

The LORD is around me ~ He’s constantly blessing me even in the face of the enemy.  My cup runs over.  The blessings in my life so far outnumber the heartache.  God has been so faithful to me, even when I was faithless, even when I was in the middle of some of the hardest times of my life, He was around me.  Orchestrating events so that He could work everything for my good. {Psalm 23:5, John 10:14}

The LORD is beyond me ~ I have the promise that goodness & mercy are my constant companion & that I have a home in heaven for eternity.  Even in the thick of the hardest times, I have the great assurance that my eternity is secure & that is comforting. {Psalm 23:6, John 10:28}

Are you looking for greener pastures?  Could you allow your focus to be on Jesus right now & give Him the circumstances that are disappointing you?