My junior year of college, I gave up Vogue for Lent.

Some people fast for forty days. Some give up sugar, or pray for someone daily, or get really crazy and give up Facebook. I gave up a pretentious, ad-filled, once-monthly magazine. And since Lent is forty days long, that amounted to … one issue.

Writing that now, it feels pathetic. But in so many ways, it changed my life.

I love fashion. I write about it a fair amount on my blog, and Oscar night is like Christmas to me. And I think that's okay. Cliché though it may sound, what you wear can be a great expression of who you are, what mood you're in, what interests you.

But I had gotten to a point with what I read in Vogue and other magazines that I found myself, in my free time, thinking about how I could expand my already-large closet, and how I looked in comparison with the people in those pages and the people around me.

More than wanting certain things, I had grown to want a certain lifestyle. It wasn't just the $400 cashmere throws or gorgeous jackets that cost ten times our monthly rent. It was that I wanted a lifestyle that would provide me with whatever I want, whenever I wanted it. I grew to believe that this lifestyle would provide real security, especially against the anxiety that I've struggled with most of my life. If anxiety could be measured in units, I would simply buy them away, one boutique purchase at a time. After all, the people in the glossy pages of these magazines looked so happy! So contented by their overstuffed white furniture and handmade leather boots and month-long trips to the Amalfi Coast. If I could just have what they had, surely I would be happier, more at peace.

And now, I know why not coveting is important enough to have made it into the Ten Commandments. It will eat away at your heart. Nothing (and more importantly, no one) will ever be good enough for you, because you live in a world that doesn't exist. Coveting is the business of, as my mom has often said, comparing your insides to someone else's outsides.

This may not be Vogue for you. It may be who brings the best cupcakes to the neighbor's birthday party, or how clean your house is, or how well you do relative to your colleagues at work. We all have our unique issues – and mine, I have learned, goes beyond clothes and appearance much more deeply into image.

In John 21, Jesus makes a post-Resurrection appearance to some of the Disciples and asks Peter, in a lovely echo of Peter's earlier denial, if he loves Jesus. Three times, Jesus asks, and three times, Peter responds. Jesus continues the conversation remarking on how Peter will die. (This is very uplifting stuff.) Peter, in his poignant and earnest and eminently relatable humanity, looks back at John and says to Jesus: "What about him?"

It is a question I have spent much of my life asking. What about him? What about her, the woman whose wardrobe I envy? What about him, the friend whose ease with others is a source of jealousy for me? What about them, the people who have what I want (or what I think I want)?

What about me?

"What is it to you if I allow him to live until the day that I return?" Jesus responds to Peter.

The sin of comparison, while certainly not unique to women, does seem to be one of our favorites. But we live with and worship and are transformed into the image of a God who says things like "What is it to you?" and "Do not concern yourself with what you wear" (Mt. 6:25) and calls us to venture largely on a unique journey with him. The more time we spend comparing and coveting, the less we are able to identify, use, and live out of our core giftedness and personhood in Christ.

It's a new Lenten season, and I still read an issue of Vogue from time to time. I still struggle with the sins of comparison and coveting, and I suspect that I will for some time. But I am learning in deep and large and small and daring ways that there is a richness to life outside of wanting what other people have. There is freedom there. And where there is freedom, there is God.