Reflections on Leaving: The Grass is Not Greener

As I am down to mere days before leaving, it seemed fitting to take some time during these last days to reflect and write. These short writings will either be on what God has been doing in my life during my years in this city or they will be about things that are deeply important to me as I leave.

With as much time as I spend outside walking or staring out windows, I see a lot of grass and green things. But the only time I truly see the grass as exceptionally vibrant is when it is in contrast to a brown field or a sun-baked backyard. (Or after I got glasses last year.)

But for the vast majority of grass, it is not greener, it just looks different from the way the sun slants on it, how long it has grown, or how beautiful the trees are that dot the land. It is in our eyes.

Sadly, for far too many years of my life, I have stared out windows and seen green. All around me, there have been people with lives, relationships, ministries, and families that I wished I had. Always, I was waiting to walk out one gate and into another field. To my eyes, my grass looked more than a little wilted and a good deal more faded that what I was seeing elsewhere.

King Ahab had this problem with his neighbor’s vineyard (1 Kings 21). Naboth’s grapes were just a bit bigger and juicier. His plants looked just a tad bit taller and the soil looked a little more rich. This vineyard was something Ahab didn’t have and he was willing to kill to get it. That’s how evil and all-consuming envy can be. Envy destroys lives, relationships, churches, and ministries. Envy cuts our gaze off from seeing Jesus to seeing something that he hasn’t given us—something we think he should have.

As I prepare to leave this town that I couldn’t wait to get away from as a teen and twenty-something, how well I know that what I am going to is not better than what I’ve had here for this season. My future will look different but that does not mean that it is better. This city was the place God had for me and it was what I needed and where he meant for me to be for a time or two. The grass is not greener in some far off land and it sure isn’t greener in the middle of the city. It is simply different, depending on seasons, how the light gets in, and what God has called each one of us to.

It’s in the eyes and in the heart.

Jesus, would you give us eyes to see that where you have put us and what you have purposed for our days is the very best for us? Would you be glorified in our lives, as we take our eyes off our neighbors and look at your face? And would you help us taste and see that you are good, even (and maybe especially) when our lives feel wind-tossed and sun-burnt?

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