This week has been exciting, to say the absolute least. And almost everyday posed a new and exciting opportunity but it also punched me in the face a bit. I realized something in my life that seriously needs to be dealt with. Like… now… right now. Remember last week, how I mentioned that we need to be excited with what’s not on the list? Well, naturally because that list was blank, I mentally started to fill it with things. Stupid person moment #1. God totally opened my eyes to see that comparison is the thief of all joy. The other problem with comparison is that it’s a thief we totally invite. “Here thief, these are all of my goods and most prized possessions. I’m leaving now, but the house is unlocked; so make yourself at home!” It’s pretty much what we do. And sure enough, Comparison walks in, all gangster like, and makes us feel bad about everything we appreciate, enjoy and love! Honestly! I mean, why do we do this to ourselves???
To start off, Spring is literally just around the corner and that makes me ecstatic! A puppy freaking out over a milk bone = Me. This week I’ve been walking to the college and leaving the buggy at home a) because it was gorgeous outside and b) because my buggy needed a new battery soooooo I had to walk anyways. Ha. Anyways, I was gawking about how beautiful it’s been in the mornings that my friend asked if she could walk with me to the college one morning. So we decided to meet at the train tracks and then head to the college together! It was a fabulous morning, and God kept forcing me to see the perks in the unfortunate things that kept popping up. For example, my alarm went off an hour earlier than it was supposed to – unfortunate event. BUT, I got to drink coffee, have a longer date with God, AND drink more coffee because I had the extra time! While walking to the tracks I heard the train coming and sure enough as I turned the corner, the train started to go by – another unfortunate event. BUT, because I had to wait for the train, I got the squish coins on the tracks! Which is something that I’ve always wanted to do. When my friend came, the train stopped and we were able to crawl under the train and continue on our way to school. Talk about perfect timing.
I’m still loving school. That alone, is a complete and utter miracle. I have SO many friends right now that are just, done with it and want to be doing something else – and it’s only their first year also. I’m so thankful that God has ignited this urge inside me to know more and to want to learn about construction and design. I don’t know anything and sometimes it’s hard to wrap my mind around a concept, but half a year into studying these things and I’m still enthusiastic and inspired by it? Praise. The. Lord. No really. *Major Happy Dance* With that in mind, we wrote midterms last week… *Happy Dance slows to a happy bounce* aaaannnnnddd after midterm exams comes midterm grades *Happy Dance music stops* When I got my grades back, I was so sad. No, I didn’t bomb my exams – I still passed buuuuut I missed the mark of where I was aiming to score and that was super disappointing to find out this week. And guess what made that as discouraging as it was? Boom. Comparison thief. So after classes that day I hit the gym and then went directly home and made, the mother of a beast amount of cookie dough and I ate it. I baked a few cookies that way I had proof that something was actually accomplished but the amount of dough that was now satisfying me in my stomach was probably the same amount of actual baked cookies.
I started to think about all the things that were bugging me. I thought about people, jobs, frustrations, events, disappointments, stress and grief. Why did those people have to do that in front of me? How did I not get the grades that I’ve been working hard for; so and so got those grades! Why did that person say that to me? How come I’m not doing that or why don’t I have what that person has? What could I do to make that situation better? Etc…..Etc… Etc. I was puttering in my room trying to figure things out. As I was running my mind into the muck, God kinda whacked me, “Payton, what did you just read a couple of days ago?” So I flipped through my Jesus Calling devotional to February 28, which said, “STOP JUDGING AND EVALUATING YOURSELF, for this is not your role. Above all, stop comparing yourself with other people. This produces feelings of pride or inferiority; sometimes a mixture of both. I lead my children along a path that is uniquely tailor made for him or her. Comparing is not only wrong – it is also meaningless.” I kid you not, word for word – even the freaking capital words are not my own emphasis – they were the Lord’s. After I reread that, God continued to tell me exactly where I was comparing myself and why I felt the need to compare myself. It was incredibly humbling and extremely embarrassing. “Payton, what did you just post about?” “A blank list” I answered. “So where’s your blank list?” I couldn’t answer God. Guys, I don’t know how hard it was for you to be honest with yourself, to first of all write the three lists but to also be excited about the third blank one, but obviously I’m finding it challenging. Just like a kid is spanked for doing something bad and then the parent holds their kid while they cry; God did the same for me. While I cried; God comforted me. It was relieving. I don’t know about you, but I always seem to forget that not only does God know absolutely everything about me, but He also understands how I feel, why I feel that way and knows exactly how to encourage me to bring me toward Himself. “Oh Payton, I know right now it is hard. I am taking away the things that make you confident and build you up, but you need to understand that I am doing this to allow you to grow stronger and closer in your relationship with me. Do you remember when your Dad hacked your Mom’s rose bush? It was a mere stem; but in the summer time, it grew even bigger and more beautiful than it was the summer before! Trust that I am cutting away only what is necessary to allow to you to grow better.”
Comparison is harsh and brutal and makes every situation worse! God is working in my life and that Thievin’ lil Thiever; Comparison, is working double time to make me focus on the negative things in my life and even twisting situations to seem bad when really they’re not bad at all! Proverbs 24: 16, “For a righteous man falls seven times and rises [eight].” Guys, I’m going to try again, but this time in the Lord’s strength; to focus on the list that I am now, not only content about, but also thankful for. I’m going to have the blank list underneath and ask God to give me the patience to wait for Him to write on it. I’m going to add to the challenge for you too – since you’ve read this far *wink* What are you comparing yourself to? Is it a high standard at work to impress the boss? Or maybe to look good compared to the other people you work with? Is it high grades in school to impress your prof? Or to possibly be the best student in the class? Are you comparing yourself to your siblings and trying to earn your parents favoritism? Maybe comparing yourself to your friends or other people around you? What ever it may be, I found it interesting how my devotional pointed out two sides of the coin about comparison. Heads: You make yourself feel awesome and successful because you are better than the people you are comparing yourself to. This could be so many different things! You may have a great paying job, you may be one of the top students, you may have a nice car or classy clothes, you might be super fit and be able to show off in the gym, you could be in a relationship that fulfills you or in a family where you are the favorite child. No matter how good it makes you feel – it’s wrong and God will take away what brings you pride and confidence in your own abilities because we are taking those things and putting them in God’s spot. God says in His Word that He is a jealous God and He won’t stand down when His position in your life is challenged with something or someone. Deuteronomy 4:24, “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” Tails: You make yourself feel less fortunate or sorry for yourself because you are not as good as the people you are comparing yourself to. Almost anything can make us feel sorry for ourselves! You might not have a great paying job, you may be one of the worst students, you may have a terrible, broken car or worn out, faded clothes. You might be one of the lesser fit people at the gym, you could be single and wishing you were in a relationship that fulfills you or maybe you’re jealous of another sibling who seems to be the favorite child. No matter how useless you make yourself feel – it’s wrong and God doesn’t want that for you! I found this quote by William Cowper, who begged, “God, make my desires your desires and help me to submit my joys, my wants and ultimately my life into your Will. Lord, help me to be content in your plan.” Honestly guys, the heads and tails could go on and on. We need to recognize these things in our life – and we could be mixed: feeling super confident in ourselves in one area of our lives but then feeling insuperior in another area. After we’ve recognized them we need to bring them to the Lord and lay them at His feet; giving them up. Once we give these things to God and ask Him to help us and to change our hearts, it becomes our job to either be encouraged and thankful for what we do have and not to compare or it becomes our job to humble ourselves and not to compare ourselves to the people around us to find fulfillment in their weakness. Not only am I praying that God would help me do this in my own life this week, but I’m also praying for you and that the Lord would open your eyes if this is an area where you are struggling! If we have fallen – God encourages us to grab His hand, get off our butt and take another shot!
– Stay Satisfied