How often do you find yourself snared in the comparison trap? Am I thin enough? Productive enough? Smart enough? Kind enough? Faithful enough?
I’ve found myself there more than a few times, friend. And I’m guessing that you have too based on the “Be Better than the Joneses” soundtrack that plays on many of our screens 24-7.
Comparison leaks into almost every part of our daily lives. Commercials tout quick fixes for our faults. Our neighbors’ newest addition makes us question our worth. Our children are measured at school and on the athletic field.
I’m not saying that all comparison is a bad thing. Sometimes it can motivate us to do great things in Christ’s name. If we see someone in need and we’re more fortunate, that comparison can lead to acts of love if we allow it to catapult us into helpful action.
That said, we do need to make an honest effort to prevent comparison from ruling our lives, choices, and felt worth. When we covet things like our neighbor’s possessions, looks, and accomplishments to the point of diminished self worth, it’s likely time to seek release from the comparison trap. At that point, we’re diminishing the value of Christ’s creation: us.
Plus, finding our feet caught in an unhealthy comparison trap can bring bigger problems if we allow the wounds it inflicts to infect us with things like exhaustion, poor health, and a bad attitude. These are all consequences that might just dim Christ’s light in us and slow our sanctification.
Perhaps to follow His lead, we might breathe as He did? His quick rest away from adoring crowds demonstrated that our earthly minds and bodies require rest to give their best to others. Time to connect with the Father and regain perspective. Time to replace comparison-gone-rouge and replace it with Christ-who-is-always-right.
Time to run your own race (Hebrews 12:1-3).
Not her race or his, but yours.
Your race, authored by the Master of the Universe, Chief Star-Scatterer, and Lord of Your Life.
So friend, before you count yourself out in the comparison game, see yourself through His lens and love your life’s custom lane.
Your crooked smile? Christ-crafted with care.
Your stutter? Made in Heaven.
Your smaller-than-the-next home? Provided by the One above.
Friend, let’s make space to breathe, reconnect, and let Christ release us from harmful comparison. Ask Him to infuse His perfect love in and let go of lesser things! I’ll be right there beside you inviting Him to set us all free!
Are you struggling with overwhelm? I’m definitely in it with you, friend!
I’ve noticed a growing number of us struggle to keep up with the blistering pace of modern life. Technology has blessed us with convenience, but cursed us with hurried hearts. And combined with pandemic overload, we’re all swimming in a sea of sharks ready to attack our peace on a moment’s notice!
One way we can prevent overwhelm is by creating boundaries. We can set boundaries with our time or with family and friends. Are you missing sticky notes from your paper planner or snapping at family and friends frequently? That might mean it’s time to set some boundaries in your life.
“But how?” you ask.
Admittedly, it isn’t easy. When we set boundaries to protect ourselves, sometimes they encroach on or offend those around us. But that’s when we have to rely on God’s leading to help us navigate that inevitable tension.
He taught us that boundaries keep us safe and protect us from harm. He is the vine and we are the branches (John 15:5). As branches, to thrive and produce fruit, we must be pruned to prevent overgrowth, disease, and death. We are also dependent on Him for our sustenance, as water and nutrients can only reach the branches via the vine.
So, for us to thrive and survive, we are meant to be cut back. Likewise, as Christ’s image-bearers, we are meant to mirror His example and prune our own lives. Clipping our calendar commitments might actually be an act of worship. Saying “no” to another invitation might be God’s whisper to spend more time with Him. Not responding right away to that text could give you time to pray about your response and better mirror His love.
When the pushback to our limits comes from the loud world around us and even some well-intentioned people we love, if we put Christ first, we’ll find that standing firm is worth any temporary pain. If we cling to His life-giving love, perhaps we’ll see that the boundaries others might deride actually bring us closer to our Source, our Creator, and our Guide. And friend, that’s a cure for overwhelm we can trust every time, everyday.
Hi Friends! Thought I would share this little nugget from my instagram microblog with y’all today! I hope it helps heal your heart and brightens your day! If you like quick reads, feel free to follow me on instagram for more!
If we’re honest, growth is forged through trials. And trials are definitely not my jam. I’d rather run from the pain they produce than dig in my heels and persevere.
But our trials prove purposeful if we pivot from our present pain to the future strength we’ll gain…
Hi friends and faithful readers! Yes, I’ve been gone for quite a while, but the pandemic has inspired me to get back to writing again! I’d love the chance to encourage you during these tumultuous times if you’ll join me.
And what better way to kick-start my blogging return than to share some exciting news JUST FOR YOU?!
Drumroll… I’m doing a GIVE-AWAY!
But first, here’s a little about it…
Do you suffer from “hurry sickness?” Treat your soul to the brand new book, Growing Slow: Lessons on Un-Hurrying Your Heart from an Accidental Farm Girl by Jennifer Dukes Lee! With her unique grace, humor, and warmth, she shares her personal struggle with a life hustled to exhaustion, but rescued by living fresh perspectives rooted in faith. Through Scripture, her “growing slow” life on an Iowa farm, and poignant personal stories, she takes you by the hand and guides you toward peace. This book will give you the tools you need to BREATHE in a harried world where hurry reigns. I pray it heals your heart as much as it has mine!
Thoughts careen off the corners of my mind faster than I can capture them. What do I need to do tomorrow? What do the kids need from me? What is urgent and not? What is my husband’s schedule? What help do I need from my parents? What’s priority for work?
As I pull the covers up tightly, I beg God to stop my thought barrage so I can catch some much-needed sleep. To place me in His sweet embrace so sleep will soothe my shredded mind.
Does this happen to you too? Your day is done, yet your mind is mulling. You long for sleep, yet your thoughts flail aimlessly like the tentacles of an angry octopus…
This is when I try to seek God’s whispers of self care. To obey His call to rest and slow my pace. I ask my in-dwelling Holy Spirit to cover me with calm and patience so I can care for myself and others in a way that honors Him. I don’t always succeed, but when I do, it opens the door to great gifts!
The beauty of complying with this call is the fruit patience produces. Invite patience – this beautiful fruit of the spirt – into your life. Allow God’s timing to rule over the world’s. Even better – patience can produce another fruit of the spirit: peace. (Galatians 5:22)
You’ll be amazed at what can happen once patience, and then peace, prune back your excess thoughts and the anxiety that accompanies them.
Here are five ways I’ve found patience can produce peace…
1. Inner peace – Inviting patience to preside over our lives produces an inner peace. It reminds us to take a breath when we feel anxiety and “rush-mode” coming on. To slow our thoughts and capture one at a time. To recognize that multi-tasking is actually a myth, as science shows our brains can truly only tackle one task well at a time. To forgive ourselves for forgetting the five thoughts that wandered into the wilderness of our minds.
2. Peace with others – When we are more patient with ourselves, we become more patient with others. We realize that the same thoughts racing an Indy 500 through our minds are running through everyone’s minds! That we all are desperately trying to catch up with our thoughts and that some just happen to escape the holding pin of our imperfectly human minds! That we all can be a little kinder and gentler with each other, knowing the battle we all face inside.
3. Clarity of thought – When we recognize our minds are treadmilling, our hearts are racing, and our breath is beyond its normal pace, it‘s God’s invitation to slow our thoughts, capture one at a time, and seek God’s grace to catch the ones that most honor Him, while leaving the others behind for now. Once our minds, hearts and breathing have slowed with God’s help, we find that He has provided us with a beautiful white space on which we can create His masterpiece. We enter a highway of thought motivated by His way, light and truth. One that is unfettered by the ways of this world but infused with the gifts God has for us.
4. Ability to hear God’s voice – Once we’ve accepted the call to clarity of thought in line with Christ’s, we’ve course-corrected our soul’s steering wheels, and we’re ready to ride alongside God. Clearing the clutter of our minds allows us easier access to our indwelling Holy Spirit, where we can curl up and let Him guide us down His path. Down a path where His voice shines brighter than any worldly worries coming our way.
5. Focus on eternal peace – When God’s voice is the loudest one in our minds, we’re sure to win. With His guidance at the helm of your heart, your guaranteed destination is Success Lane. Not success as the world would see it – but better – success that will lead us down the path to eternal peace. To a place beyond our wildest dreams where all the hurt, pain, and tears of this world are gone forever. Where peace abounds and love presides. Where hearts connect and divisions disappear. Where ultimate peace and patience reign.
Christ invites us to “learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” (Matthew 28) I’m in! Want to join me as we invite Him in to pace our race? Let’s embrace patience so we can seek His incomparable peace!
Make a comment on this blog post or on any of my social media and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Into the Deep: Diving into a Life of Courageous Faith by my super sweet friend, Lauren Gaskill. The winner will be notified by Tuesday, March 26, 2019. Good luck!
About this powerful and restorative book: Be prepared to be inspired, moved, and empowered by Lauren’s message! She leads us through her real life faith struggles with unabashed honesty, humor and warmth. From times when she professed to have less than a mustard seed of faith to learning to fully embrace Christ with steadfast courage, she offers empathy, inspiration, scripture, and practical steps to deepen our faith walks so we can live out the courageous faith our hearts desperately need and desire!
Lauren’s ministry: Learn more about Lauren’s exciting work as the founder and President of the nationwide ministry, She Found Joy! I’m honored to have been invited to work alongside her and the talented She Found Joy team! We invite you to join us for one of our Ladies Night Out events where Lauren and her ministry team provide a special evening of worship, food, fun and fellowship! See you there as we cross the country to a city near you! In the meantime, tune in to our weekly Podcasts and get all the latest She Found Joy updates by visiting our Facebook Page!