Don’t Let Comparison Steal Your Joy

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Comparison is the thief of joy. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

This quote attributed to Theodore Roosevelt is one that can resonate well with us all. As humans, we’re always comparing ourselves to each other. We choose someone else’s standard of living or success, and we attempt to hold ourselves accountable to it rather than focus on our uniqueness or distinct individual characteristics given to us by our Creator. We are made in our God’s image, and He gave us a standard in and through Christ, so ultimately His likeness should be our goal. We should strive to be Christlike, not copycat versions of each other.

If you stop and think about the lack of joy you may be experiencing in your life, likely you’ll be able to attribute it to comparison. You might be unhappy about your physical appearance because you’re comparing it to someone else’s standard of size, shape, weight, athleticism, etc. You might be unhappy about your career because you’re comparing yours to the standard of professional success you witness all around you. Or maybe you can’t find joy in your relationships because you’re comparing them to everyone else’s. Many people are quick to blame the media–TV, magazines, Hollywood, Facebook, Instagram, the Internet, and the list could go on. But, in the end, we get to decide our standards. We get to choose joy or misery. It’s easy to point the blame elsewhere, but we can only blame ourselves for not choosing to live the unique calling that our Creator God so beautifully and wonderfully made us to live (see Pslam 139:13).

So, are you unhappy? Do you struggle with finding joy and rejoicing with others? Are you always comparing your life’s successes or failures with someone else’s?

If the answer is yes, maybe it’s time to do a spiritual inventory within your own heart. Here are some suggestions to reflect upon:

1. Talk to God about His unique purpose or calling for you. God wants to guide you. He wants you to seek His direction. Ask God where and how He wants to use you, and then open your eyes to where He’s leading you.

2. Spend some time reading, meditating, and memorizing God’s Word. We seem to forget, but God gives us the answers to life’s greatest questions within Scripture. Sure, the Bible may not always be clear or make sense to the complex human mind, but there’s a great consistency throughout the entire message of the Bible. Don’t just chew on a few tidbits–really dive deep into Scripture and wrestle with it. Just be ready for God to wow you.

3. Redirect your worship to God Himself and away from others or the things of this world. There are distractions at every turn, but stay focused on the Lord. Don’t let the Enemy cleverly and cunningly win your full attention and keep you from being able to live a life of worship to God. Offer God the glory for what He’s doing in your life. Embrace an attitude of gratitude daily.

4. Find ways to serve and encourage others. The greatest joy is often found in investing our energies into serving and encouraging those around us. Use your words to uplift, not criticize. Celebrate others’ victories and successes rather than allowing yourself to be jealous or envious. As you lift up others, you’ll also find encouragement for yourself.

5. Stop comparing yourself to others. Just be the very best version of you. At best, you will only be a poor imitation of someone else, but you can be the greatest you that has ever lived.

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Why Changing It Up Is A Must

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Change is hard, especially if you’re a creature of habit. No one can argue that life can be much more comfortable when we keep our environments familiar, stable, and within our control. But sometimes, change is necessary–even if it requires us to get uncomfortable. Changing up our routines, patterns, and ways of living can be for our good.

The past few months in my life have introduced a series of changes that have caused me to reflect on the value of change. In the midst of these recent changes, I’ve learned a few valuable lessons:

1. God is in control. Though we may think we’re in control of decision-making, God always has the final word. It may take some time to see God’s hand working in the midst of a difficult change, but if your perspective and heart are both in the right place, you’ll eventually see that God was walking with you all along the way.

2. There’s always room for improvement. The older we get, the easier it is to get cozy in a familiar setting or environment, especially a career. But when opportunities appear to put a new skill or talent to use in a different way, be open to giving it a shot. You might quickly realize it was the best decision you ever made. You might struggle in the early stages yet eventually discover that perseverance pays off. You might even find it wasn’t the best move, but in the end you can at least say you tried. Ultimately, give yourself some room to grow and make yourself better.

3. Wisdom comes from experience. Want wisdom? Get out there and live! The wisest people are those who experience new things and new places. Travel when you can. Interact with new people. Explore new environments. You’ll not only better appreciate your own upbringing and culture, but you’ll have a better perspective of how others think, feel, and react to life’s circumstances. Ultimately, don’t live your life in a box.

The late great actress Lucille Ball was credited with the quote, “I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.” And while there could be arguments for or against this saying, there’s wisdom in these words when it comes to change. Allow yourself to get uncomfortable enough to experience something that could change your life for the better. Change may hurt a little, but with a positive perspective, you’ll become wiser and better as you let go and allow God to lead you on the journey.

Do you have a story or testimony of how changing something up in your life made you better? I’d love to hear it. Comment below.

The One Way Street Known As “Jesus”

 

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Several things can be observed from driving down a one-way street. It can be awkward and confusing at times. It’s often narrow. And sometimes, it forces you to slow down. But a one-way street can also reduce crashes, simplify pedestrian crossings, and effectively keep drivers from being distracted by those going in the opposite direction. Though a one-way street might not be the most popular type of route to travel, it can protect us and guide us safely to our destination.

The claim that Jesus is the only way to God isn’t always the popular route. It can be awkward and confusing at times. It’s the narrow way. Sometimes, it forces us to slow down. But, it can reduce collisions in life. For those who wish to cross it, the experience is much more pleasant than a two-way or multiple-way path to the Father. And for those traveling in God’s direction, it’s much easier to focus ahead with Jesus as the guide.

So how can we know that Jesus is the only way to God? The answer is clear in the Bible. There is ONE SON (John 3:16-18), ONE WAY (John 14:6-11), and ONE MEDIATOR (1 Timothy 2:3-6). Jesus never apologized for saying that He is the only way to God, and if we claim to follow Him, neither should we.

Have you been driving down a two-way street in your faith? Are you at a busy junction or maybe a high-traffic intersection? Maybe it’s time you make a turn onto the one-way street known as Jesus.