Have you ever thought you knew everything there was to know about a topic, only to be completely humbled? That’s where I was on the topic of …what dating has taught me about singleness
A few months ago, I came across a quote by Theodore Roosevelt that resided as the background on my phone for a week or two. I read it every time I checked the time (which is much more often than I would like to admit) and I thought I understood it in all its perceived simplicity.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Six simple words to a depth which I still don’t believe I fully conceive. Because I, as I have walked through nearly twenty-two years of life, have known in nearly every moment the depths of comparison and how often I have allowed them to steal my joy. If you’re still reading this, maybe you have too.
The other day I rediscovered some old images from a photoshoot I got to do with a talented friend. When she sent them originally, I remember being critical of them, but looking at them now I got to see myself as lovely for a moment. It couldn’t have come at a better time after I had spent the day psychoanalyzing the number of likes I had on my Facebook profile picture.
There are SO many negative things that stem from that deeply rooted comparison. It’s ugly. It rears up its head when we especially don’t need it’s company. It tears apart healthy friendships and eats away at fellowship with the Lord. I wonder how much it breaks His heart when we compare ourselves with His children around us.
Once I realize the thought process I’m getting caught up in, I try to turn away from it – searching for verses and quotes to try to make myself remember that comparison that leads to bitterness is bad and I should just stop. Of course, it’s not quite that easy…
This time around, I found another quote, however:
“We won’t be distracted by comparison if we are captivated with purpose.”
It comes from Bob Goff. Wise words.
Friend, let your comparison fuel joy rather than steal it. This is the challenge, to find purpose and pursue it.
To leave no room for comparison.
And maybe when she gets more comments or likes than you and you’re wondering why or becoming resentful, you might reach out and compliment her too.
Or perhaps, when you feel like you don’t get the acknowledgement you deserve, find someone else to gift with what you feel you missed out on.
The way we share love through genuine compliments is a way to defeat the hold that comparison can have in our lives. It’s also away we live in our purpose in Christ, by showing His love to those around us.
As for joy? Well, that’s yours to keep and to share with those around you too and you’ll want to when comparison loses the space it once had in your heart.
I stumbled across a photo of myself and it brought me to a point of reflection. Tough, but true reflection.
I used to know that girl, and I remember her well..
On her way to her first dance, in 8th grade, knowing that once she got there, it was unlikely that she would have any friends to dance with.
Squinty eyes, probably looking into the sun, and hardly able to smile because of how lonely she felt.
Her hair professionally done, just for fun, and makeup she didn’t usually wear only to feel even further from beautiful.
I know middle school isn’t great for anyone, but gosh, if I could block out this four year experience I would without hesitation. I had TWO friends, and many friend groups that would let me in and then want nothing to do with me. The lunchroom scenes felt dramatic and painful, I remember sitting down with the people I usually ate with, and them all getting up and leaving in 5th grade, I remember being told by my friends in 7th that I didn’t fit in with them because I was too quiet and should find somewhere else to go, the same year my grandpa died and a rumor went around my class that I wanted to commit suicide. Then finally 8th grade where I chose to leave on my own accord yet another group where most days, I felt ignored.
My goals every year were always the same: get a boyfriend, be pretty, fine a best friend – fit in.
I want to block it out. And sometimes, I do.
Then I stumble across things like a photo that get me all sad and reflective again over a season of life that built me.
I am so glad that I do not know this girl any longer. I’m so glad that the God of the Universe brought her to Himself.
The only song I still have somewhat memorized from my piano playing days is “¿Con Qué Pagaremos?” arranged by Lorie Line. Roughly translated, its title means “With what can we repay?”. I’ve been thinking a lot about this question, especially on days like this.
You may have noticed that it is Good Friday. If you follow any Christian 20-something women, they probably shared a verse or quote to their story this morning about it. If you’re not familiar, this is the day each spring that the Church commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
It’s on this day that I’ll probably turn to one of the gospels and read about His last moments, teary-eyed because thanks to The Passion of the Christ, I can now picture the excruciating moments as He carried the cross.
As He was nailed there.
As He breathed His last.
And there’s that question, scrolling ominously through my mind: “with what can we repay?” And I have to conclude that there is nothing with which you or I can pay back the debt owed for an innocent life taken in our places. It doesn’t seem very worth it for Him, to gain nothing in exchange for arguably the worst death you can die.
That is why it could only be done in perfect love. For me, for you too. Maybe you feel like you aren’t good enough to even come to His feet. Or maybe you know Him but still feel as though you owe a debt for the death we remember today.
The truth is, there is nothing by which we can repay because WE DON’T HAVE TO. A free gift of grace was His last breath when the world went dark and the veil was torn. It’s a gift you owe nothing more to than to accept it as your own.
And spoiler alert: He raises again, defeating death forever and ever. That celebration is a few days away.
We are a week into this 31 Days of Dresses Challenge and right about now is when I should post another statistic or two on my social media about the impact of trafficking on the world around us. I could tell you how “my heart” is for victims of trafficking…but that wouldn’t be entirely truthful.
Today, all I can think about is how I don’t lay awake at night hurting for those trapped in modern slavery because I live a life of blessing and comfort.
How often do we forget that all that we have isn’t a reality for everyone in our world? Maybe a better question is: how often do we not care?
I should have a heart for those who continue in bondage — spiritual or physical. Why? As a follower of Christ, a truth I believe is that Jesus redeemed me from sin. He has given me freedom. Therefore, I am a freed slave.
As I continue to grow in my relationship with God, it slowly becomes more and more my desire to continue in the ministry that Jesus himself began during his time on earth, to proclaim good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to set free those who are oppressed (Luke 4:18).
For me, as the days of this month go on and people donate their time or their money to the prevention and awareness of modern slavery… all I can really claim my own is a humble prayer. It isn’t for more money donated to my campaign or cute outfits every day, or even that I would be able to convince you all that this is an issue close to my selfish heart.
It’s simply that God would show me how to love in a different way, and that He would give me “His heart” for the oppressed.
When I began college and realized I could make myself as busy as I wanted to be, I grasped excitedly at this new way of living.
So until the start of this summer, I really spent the last two years not allowing myself to think more than necessary. Self revelation, I knew, was a slow and often painful process.
And it, like many things, terrified me to the point of careful and intentional avoidance.
Fast forward to today when I’ve been going through about two months of internal processing. Some days I am full of joy, confident in my identity and able to see my worth.
Some days are like today where I wish I were a lot of things that I just don’t amount to.
If I were confident and captivating, I would no longer need to vie for attention, would no longer find myself spoken over.
If I had some true talent, would I not be seen? If I were lovely, would I not be pursued?
If I were independent, I wouldn’t wonder what others thought of me. I wouldn’t apologize for every action or word that spills out of my mouth and I wouldn’t feel the need to constantly build walls in fierce protection of my heart.
I wish that no matter how many times someone might try to convince me otherwise, I didn’t believe this all to be true.
And perhaps some of them are.
But there are two parts the self revelation.
The painful part.
And the aftermath, the part we are compelled by.
So, I am slowly allowing God to stitch back together the things I know to be true in my heart – that my identity is in Him – and the places my mind sometimes goes that leave me broken.
And I’m learning to be okay with self revelation.
You could watch a million sunrises.
Share one hundred smiles.
Count the freckles on a face or the stars in the sky.
Hug a friend and never want to let go.
Laugh so hard that tears run freely down your cheeks.
Be awed by the twinkling of city lights.
Fall in love with another who lights your soul on fire.
Enjoy the sweet giggles of a child.
Or breathe in the sweet smell of a summer evening as the moon lights the night sky.
You can do all these things and more.
But even the most beautiful in life won’t ever, EVER, hold a candle to the love of the One who created it all.
So embrace the beautiful moments.
Experience the best.
Appreciate love and joy and friendship.
But never forget, not for a second, that through each little moment we can catch a glimpse of the Lord of the Universe, ceaselessly loving you and me.
Guard your heart above all else,
it determines the course of your life…
…Look straight ahead,
and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
Mark out a straight path for your feet;
stay on the safe path.
Don’t get sidetracked;
keep your feet from following evil.
Proverbs 4:23, 25-27
My recent thoughts have been pretty focused on what my career might be. I know that I have time to figure it out, but I feel like I am somehow behind since I don’t have a clue what I want to do. I’ve been sending out emails to advisors and researching in an effort to calm myself only to realize that this caused more stress than comfort. The more options I am presented with, the more confused I get and it is honestly starting to make me a little crazy.But yesterday, instead of putting off my homework by stressing about my future career, I decided it was time to get caught up on my Bible reading – still putting off my homework, but shh. My readings was the first four chapters of Proverbs. I almost gave up and talked myself out of continuing after Proverbs 2 but I am sure glad I didn’t. The last piece I read is the set of verses you see above. It couldn’t have been more perfect.
Over and over again we have heard that God has a plan for our lives. I know I’m really hoping that this is the truth, but the harder part of this is truly trusting that He is in control. It’s easy to say we do, but whether or not we act on this is the goal.
Are you willing to fix your eyes on God and His plan for your life? Instead of being consumed by all the distractions this world offers to us, we can place all our trust and focus on the path before us and following the steps that God has mapped out for us. Will we slip up? Absolutely! He wants us to trust Him so much that we are willing to let Him pick us up and carry us through the turmoils of life every once in awhile. But if we are focused on avoiding evil, following God’s will and guarding our hearts from life’s temptations and distractions, the course of our lives will be for the glory of Him.
In my case, that means that someday I will know what my career is meant to be. Instead of panicking and annoying advisors with my confused emails, I have to be focused on what lies ahead and listen for the voice of the Lord.
The best part? God’s plans are so much better than anything we can work out. It will be so worth it.
Just some thoughts from quiet time today…
Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
Can one allow their soul find rest in God alone? Not in searching, in wondering about the future or regretting the past; in losing themselves in friendships, work or school, relationships, but in Him alone? Yet our souls can reside there, in Him alone and not in all of those other distractions.
Our salvation comes from Him.
Through the cross we are saved.
Not because of anything that we did, but because of what Christ did for us. Even though we are each in our own way unworthy of such a sacrifice, still it was freely given.
So now I can sit here, in awe, because He is my salvation.
And every time we hit what can only be called rock bottom, there he is.
The rock at the bottom.
Unmoved, unwavering, and waiting patiently for us to run back into his open arms.
A fortress surrounding us.
Nothing, and I mean nothing, can penetrate the ultimate protection freely given to us by the ultimate protector.
No storms of life, no trials, NOTHING can separate us from God’s love, and because of that we cannot allow ourselves to be shaken from where we stand.
Oh sweet soul, you have been wandering for much too long. Allow Him to be your protector, your salvation, your fortress, your rock…