Let’s (not) Compare

So the other day my husband and I were sitting on the couch and out of the blue my husband turns to me and says, “do you ever think that Facebook is just a place where people…” he started to trail off and so I helpfully inserted, “post only the good things about their lives and never any bad?” To which he responded very emphatically, “YES”.

Um…only all the time.

This isn’t to call anyone out, or to knock Facebook. Social media can be and usually is a good thing – you can catch up with people from your past you’d otherwise never see or talk to, you can get accurate information on a nearby restaurant recommendation, you can share pictures and videos with friends and family…heck, one of my friends used Facebook Live to stream a birthday party for her son! Which was great, considering she lives like twelve states away. There are lots of good applications. But my husband hit on one of the more negative sides of social media: jealousy. How easy is it to check out your old high school rival’s facebook page and compare yourself to everything you see? How many times have you scrolled through your newsfeed, picking out all the things you wish you were doing, or that baby you wish was growing inside your belly, or that wedding you wish you were planning, or that house you wish you could afford? How many times does it make you feel like your life doesn’t compare?

I do it. All the time.

To be honest – there was one point where I had to take a social media hiatus because I was working myself into a fit every time I got online. But as my husband puts it, “you are comparing someone else’s highlights reel to your blooper reel.” Isn’t that the truth? (FYI: my husband is wicked smart.)

What does God tell us about jealousy?

James 3:16 says, “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” (ESV)

Adding to that, Proverbs 14:30 tells us that, “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.” (ESV)

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be in the midst of “disorder and every vile practice”, and I certainly don’t want to participate in anything that “makes bones rot”! Unfortunately, we know that jealous, envy, etc are bi-products of our sinful human nature. Fortunately, God loves us and forgives us when we ask for it, and if we live our lives for Him, He will helps us with these struggles.

When I start to feel jealousy, or when I begin to compare my life to other people’s, I fall back on the words of David in Psalms 139:

“You made my whole being; you formed me in my mother’s body. I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well. You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother’s body. When I was put together there, you saw my body as it was formed. All the days planned for me  were written in your book before I was one day old.” Psalm 139:13-16 (NCV)

God made me to be exactly who He wants me to be. He planned my days and He knows what I am going to do, when I am going to do it, and what I’m going to have. I am fearfully and wonderfully made, in His image. How could I compare myself then to anyone else?

I’m not saying it’s easy – some days are much harder than others. But it also helps me to think about all the blessings I have in my life – God has blessed me with a loving husband, a beautiful stepson, a house, a job, a car, a family. God crafted me to be exactly who He wants and needs me to be – and I can rest in the promises of His love.

And to God – we are all his highlights.

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For I know the plans…

jeremiah

I had a job interview the other day. It’s for an internal position and I’m not even certain if I want the job or not, but I had myself so stressed out the night before that I actually thought I was going to be sick to my stomach. I obsessed over practice questions, I rehearsed my answers while pacing my living room, I scribbled some notes and crossed them out and then scribbled some more.

From the moment I opened my eyes on the morning of the interview I was worrying about it. Practicing answers in my head some more, considering every buzzword and phrase, wondering what else I could do to my answers better, fretting because I hadn’t started preparing for the interview earlier. I couldn’t even finish the fabulous breakfast my husband prepared for me because my stomach was so upset.

It wasn’t until I was sitting in the car on my way in for the interview when I came to a realization. The announcers on my local Christian radio station helped. They were talking about jobs and promotions and how sometimes we hear God calling us to these really great opportunities when all of the sudden we are struck with the paralyzing fear of wondering if we can handle whatever it is He’s given us. And that’s when Jeremiah 29:11 sprang to mind.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

I realized in that moment that I had absolutely nothing to worry about. Why? Because God already knows the outcome of the interview. Every single moment of my life has already been mapped out according to His perfect purpose for my life. What’s the “worst” that can happen? I don’t get the job? So be it! God already knows what is going to happen – He has called me for a purpose – so why am I making myself literally sick over something I shouldn’t worry about?

And so in that moment, I prayed. I prayed for peace, and I thanked God for the outcome of the interview, whatever it may be. Because whatever the outcome is I can rest assured that it is what God wants for me. And you know what? I felt better.

Now, I’m certainly not saying that the next time you have a job interview that you shouldn’t prepare for it. It’s a professional courtesy to at least have an idea of what you’re going to say. I’m just saying that there is no reason to make yourself physically sick over it, like I was. Relax. Say a prayer. God’s got this.

And the interview? Went off without a hitch.

Love One Another

the greatest commandment | eatwriterunrepeat.com

In our discipleship group and as part of the #gomultiply study we’re doing, we’ve been discussing what it means to be a disciple. Francis Chan says in his book, “It all comes down to love. Peter expressed it well for people like us, who didn’t see Jesus on earth but follow Him nonetheless: “Thought you have not seen him, you love him. Thought you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.” (1 Peter 1:8) Following Jesus is not about diligently keeping a set of rules or conjuring up the moral fortitude to lead good lives. It’s about loving God and enjoying Him.”

The book then poses a question: “As you look at your life, how would you say that your love for God is shown in your actions? (If you’re having trouble coming up with an answer, take some time to think through some changes you may need to make in your lifestyle.)

Ouch. Tough question, isn’t it? It certainly made me take a closer look at my own life. Do I really love others like I love God? Do I really love others like Jesus loves them? Let’s take some time this Sunday to think about love – Godly love. Loving one another. Loving yourself. Loving God.

Because when you really look at it, it all comes down to love.