Stop Comparing – Focus On YOUR Gifts

I continue to take my eyes off of the prize. I continue to slip. To look around. To watch others. And, you know what … when this happens, I start to feel a shift inside of me. I start comparing. I compare. It’s no good. It’s simply bad for me. But, it’s a truth that I struggle with. It’s not quite as green and ugly as straight up envy or jealously. It’s more subtle, swirling around inside of me and whispering, “You need that. You should have that, too. That is so cute. You deserve that.” Maybe the fact that it’s so subtle is what makes it so evil. I don’t think that I feel envious of others. I don’t feel jealous. So, I don’t even notice that it’s happening. Yet, when I give in – when I start comparing, I stop focusing on what’s truly important and I fall, like Alice, down a materialistic shaped rabbit hole. So, how do I stop, ya know, “coveting thy neighbor’s kitchen“?

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I know y’all love Glennon over at Momastery, right?! If you don’t know who I’m talking about, you need to. I think she’s probably the Queen of the Mommy/Woman Blogging World. That’s what I’ll call her. Queen G. She is always honest and brutiful, and she says, “I think comparison and competition exist partly because we believe that there is a scarcity of good things in the universe. And that belief makes us kind of small and scared and unable to feel true joy for others or peace for ourselves.” Wow, right?! But, there is enough, y’all. And, WE are ENOUGH.

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Why do we think we need MORE all of the time?? It’s something that’s been weighing on my heart and mind a lot lately. Why do you think you need more? Why are we all constantly looking to the next better thing? Ugh. It feels kinda gross, doesn’t it? It feels sinful and ugly for sure. Why do I think I need more? I have everything. I am in love with my husband, and he happens to adore me too. I like our marriage. A lot. We have two healthy, beautiful, contagiously happy children and a fantastically, loyal doggy companion. We have LOVE. We own our own home and have food in the fridge. We have cars to drive. I have supportive and loving parents, that also happen to be supportive and loving grandparents. I get along with my mother-in-law. She’s kinda awesome. What more is there? For real?!

Maybe I need to spend a little less time daydreaming about what color my cabinets are … and more time encouraging the fruits of the spirit within my children.

Maybe I need to spend less time looking at houses online and more time reading The Word, writing from my heart and creating something beautiful.

Maybe I need to spend less time thinking about what I can do better or how I can be better … when the truth is I am already enough. I am enough. We are enough.

The materialistic things that I don’t have, the things that I think that I want or need, won’t make me more. They won’t make me more of anything. That won’t make me happier or more fulfilled. Things don’t make us more or less. They are things. They are JUST things. We are not defined by what we have. We are not defined by THINGS.

Our lives are not meant to be the same as someone else’s. Our things aren’t meant to be the same. And, our GIFTS are not meant to be the same as someone else’s. At times, we might even find greatness in the midst of our own imperfection. We must embrace it. We must share it. We were created unique for a reason. We may to0 often analyze ourselves and focus on where we think we are lacking. We may consider something to be a weakness … when, in fact, that “weakness” may be the very thing that inspires or saves someone else. So, let’s stop. Or, attempt to stop. Or, at the very least, let’s just tone it all down a bit. Let’s stop looking around to see what everyone else is doing and wearing and keep focused. Keep our eyes fixed on The Lord. Feed our hearts and our souls.

“We were made for so much more than ordinary lives. It’s time for us to more than just survive. We were made to fly!” (Casting Crowns)

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing they way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

“Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as a standard of measurement. How ignorant.” (2 Corinthians 10:12)

“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” (Galatians 1:7)

 

Photo Credit: 1.  Thrive Moms – Empowering Imperfect Moms With His Perfect Grace. 2. Momastery – Truth Tells and Hope Spreaders. Check ’em out!

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Day In, Day Out – My Messy Beautiful

IMG_1179Day in, day out, these little piggies march on. We carry on. And, so the story goes…

When my first (my sweet Little Man) arrived, the fog that blanketed my life was thick. The first few months were a haze. I was in survival mode. I missed so much of his precious newborn stage. I was here, of course. I was present for all of it. Still, I missed so much. The anxiety that I felt, that I carried around, was nearly crippling. I wasn’t prepared for it. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t know what to do. I cried a lot. I cried because I was sad. Because I was so happy. Because I was scared. Because I felt alone. My heart felt swollen. I was raw.

I don’t think I fell in love with him instantly. I mean, in a way, yes, sure, most definitely. Yet, no, I didn’t. With N, it felt a little like dating. We took our time. We got to know each other. I learned. I learned even more. My heart and my love grew slowly and steadily each day, as I adjusted to my new role. Guiltily, I mourned my old life, I grieved it’s passing, while marveling at my new one. It was such a time of change. It didn’t all happen overnight, but as time marched on, I began to feel like a mother. Slowly, I stopped thinking about the freedom that I no longer had and started looking at all that I DID have… so much. As the fog began to fade, a new normal was born. Life evolves.

With my second (my Little Miss), the fog fell lighter. I could still see. I was still me. My life, though changed, was not unhinged by this new addition. My love came hard and fast. With her, I fell immediately. I looked at her and I already knew her. I knew what she needed. I knew what to give her. But, it was only because N had paved the way for her. He taught me, changed me, made me a mother. So, when A came along, that’s what I was – a mother. That’s what I did – I mothered. Thanks to him.

One thing that I was totally unprepared for, one thing no one told me about motherhood, was how lonely it would sometimes be. I am surrounded by love, yet at times, all alone. It’s strange. A contradiction of emotions.

I didn’t know how I’d miss my friends. I do. My friendships have evolved and shifted as we each, one by one, step into motherhood. Things change. Friendships change. They don’t know that I need them more than ever. Connection. But, I do. Yet, we are all knee deep in our own day in, day out, messy, beautiful lives.

After N was born, I went back to work. I was too busy to feel lonely. I was focused. When A arrived, I didn’t go back. I became a stay-at-home-mom (for so many different reasons). From day one, it was more than I was expecting. More than I was prepared for. More than I can even explain. It’s a blessing. The three of us – N, A and I, we get to be together – for better, for worse, we are together.  Day in, day out, I’m right in the middle of this beautiful mess that’s my life right now. It has been such a journey for me. I knew it would be hard. I didn’t know that it would be the most trying, amazing time of my life. I didn’t know that I could feel so much, so much of the time. I didn’t know how I’d be pushed to the brink of madness. I didn’t know how much I’d learn about myself. I’d never prayed about my own character before. Now, there are days when I hit my knees and pray for more patience, for more strength, for more kindness … for more of myself to give. I didn’t know that I’d be striped raw. Exposed. The good, the bad and the ugly. I didn’t know that it was possible to have so many different moments and emotions in a single day. Some days, I swear, consist of multiple lifetimes, all wrapped up in a single day. I can go from having a moving, loving moment with my boy to losing my mind in mere seconds. We can go from happy, crafting, baking, “look how together I am” moments to hiding in the bathroom so maybe I can be alone for one single friggin second … but no, here comes N and he wants to sit on my lap WHILE I PEE. Yep. It’s messy. It’s beautiful. It’s mine. We are marching on through these moments in time. Making it ours. Making it count. I’m carrying on with you, Warriors!

 

This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!

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