Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Comparison Highjacks Contentment

Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message…

We live in a culture of constant comparison. Someone tweets that they just had lunch at a fab restaurant; you had canned tuna and raw carrots. Not even baby carrots but a big ole carrot out of the bag.

Someone posts an Instagram of a gaggle of friends dressed in Lilly Pulitzer pink lunching by the lake, and you’re reading about it dressed in sweats, trudging down the grocery aisle with a snotty-nosed kid pawing at the cereal displays.

You pull up Facebook and read about Barb’s vacation in Paris, and you’re happy for her . . . sorta.

A woman looks at Pinterest boards, and comes away with her greatest fears confirmed: her kids look shabby, her house looks dumpy, and her clothes look frumpy.

Social media accentuates the culture of comparison by sending the false message that your monotonous tedious boring existence is a poor excuse for living compared to others whose lives are awesomely exciting all the time. Secretly you hope your husband never stumbles across Pinterest to realize what a loser of a wife he really has. Mercy!

Social media breeds instant comparison at the click of a button. Comparing who has more “Facebook friends,” “re-tweets,” “followers” and “re-pins” is maddening. The age-old comparisons of appearance, accomplishments, possessions, and position are still around. Technology has simply magnified the access to other people’s lives, even though you’re only seeing what others want you to see.
Then there’s Christmas letters. Photo cards of friends and family with letters detailing every wonderful milestone of the previous year. We read them and think, “My life stinks!” That letter doesn’t tell about Brian getting suspended from school for cussing in the classroom, Megan getting caught lying about studying at a friend’s house, Brie’s on-going battle with depression, Dad’s loss of a major account, or Mom’s twenty-pound weight gain. Just the highlights. Only the good stuff. We read it and say, “good for them.” All the while thinking, “what’s wrong with me?”

Comparison is the devil’s tool that he uses to undermine your confidence and kills contentment like nothing ever will. It magnifies insecurities and fosters a self-absorbed pre-occupation of your inadequacies. As one pastor said, “One of the main reasons we struggle with insecurity is that we’re comparing our behind-the-scenes with everybody else’s highlight reel.”

Comparison sullies the canvas upon which God longs to display His greatest work. Nothing will rob you of your confidence in Christ like comparison. The measuring stick will get you stuck every time.

I love what Jesus said when Peter asked about John’s future. (Yes, he was comparing his future with John’s) “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” (John 21:22) In other words, “It’s none of your business! Stop comparing!”

Have you ever wondered why Jesus picked such a ragtag bunch of blundering blubbering misfits to be his disciples? Even though they stumbled their way through much of the gospels, once they were filled with the Holy Spirit, this uneducated, unrefined, untrained bunch of unruly fishermen changed the world. A few days after Pentecost, the Jewish Supreme Court questioned Peter and John about their persistence in preaching the gospel and their audacity to heal a beggar lame from birth.

The dynamic duo preached a mini-sermon that struck the religious rulers to the core. But here’s my favorite part of the entire scenario: “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

The Sanhedrin leaders were mystified at how this bunch of scrappy saw-toothed misfits could wax so eloquently. Then they had an ah-ha moment. They realized the men had been with Jesus. That explained everything.

That’s what I want people to say about me! She’s an unschooled ordinary girl. How does she do what she does? Oh, I get it. She’s been with Jesus! Can you think of any better accolade? I sure can’t.

Let go of the tendency to compare and take hold of your uniquely fashioned, pre-ordained, God-given talents and abilities. You are specifically equipped by God to do everything He has called you to do and to go through. Including being the mom your kids need.

Then when the world questions how you do what you do, they’ll say, “Oh I get it…she’s been with Jesus.”

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Woohoo Wednesday

Rekindle Your Relationship

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Today is all about YOU!  Struggling with health issues (or any stress) can take a toll on you in many ways.  It can effect you mentally, physically and spiritually.  And as a result, your relationships may suffer.

Has stress caused you to feel like there’s no more passion or excitement in your relationship?  Do you only see frustration?  Despite the stress, there are some ways to reignite the passion. Here are some tips that I found in a recent article:

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Date yourself.   Be sure to take care of yourself first and stop feeling guilty about it!  I know it can be tough – I have been there, done that and I have a multitude of tee shirts!  The most important thing is to de-stress, keep up on your hygiene (mani-pedis are great), exercise, eat well, do things that make YOU feel pretty and sexy. Let’s be honest, when we feel tired, bloated, in pain, etc. it is tough to see the positives in others.  Taking care of yourself sets you up to focus and be present in the moment.

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Get educated. I don’t mean going back to school, who has time for that!  Have an open and honest conversation with your health care provider. You will be amazed at the things that affect your body and how excited we get with our partner.  Sometimes those feelings are the start of other health issues.

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Date your partner.  I’m not talking about the usual going out to dinner weekly to the same old place, the same old-time and the same bat channel! I mean schedule a time have fun with your partner! When was the last time that you locked the bedroom door and played a card game on the bed!  Or went to the park and played on the swings?

Communicate.  Communication is the number one key in a long-term relationship along with touch! No matter how well you know your partner you are NOT a mind reader. Despite the fact that many may think you are! Misunderstandings can lead to a lot of frustrations.  Learn to LISTEN while you are sharing your thoughts and ideas.

Try something new.  There are so many fun and exciting new things to add to your relationship just between the two of you. You can do something spontaneous like play hookie and head to the beach or lakeside for a couple of hours.  Stress causes us to get into a routine, a comfy spot – break out of that comfort zone!

Reflect.  Think about the things that were so thrilling and fun when you first got together! What were some things you did for your partner that they loved when you first started dating? Why not recreate those experiences?  If you don’t remember, have a conversation and ASK what they remember most about when you were first dating.  You may be surprised at the things that meant so much to them that you didn’t think about.

Take a vacation alone.  Isn’t the old saying “absence makes the hear grow fonder”?The truth is that alone time gives you time to reflect and regenerate your own energy. Gives you time to do self-care things without the judgement of someone else. It also interrupts the routine, “wakes you up” in a sense and you start to become aware of the things you love most about your partner, the things that make you feel incomplete without them.

See your partner at their BEST.  I can’t stress this one enough. If you are constantly frustrated with your partner or dreading being with them then try changing those thoughts. Make a list of everything you like and love about them and start paying attention to those things. In the morning say to yourself 3 new things you’re thankful for about them do this for at least 21 days and you’ll see a significant turn around!

What is your best tip for rekindle your relationship?  Share it with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!