Monday, January 30, 2012

Comparison

It might not be this way for everyone, but in my life, the opposite of joy is comparison. It's an uneasy, constricting feeling centered somewhere above my stomach, but just below that place in my throat that gets all choked up during a sad movie. It tends to be a sneaky, creeping sensation, that I don't really notice until I become fully aware that something feels 'off,' but nothing is particularly wrong.

I try to remind myself that things look prettier in blogland then they do in real life. (I'm pretty much convinced Instagram can make even a pile of dirty dishes look artsy and nostalgic.) I know that everything is, in a sense, edited. Even I tend to scoot the extra clutter out of  the way before I post a picture..

But still..

I wonder how THEY do it... Wake up early, stay fit, have multiple children, a miniature farm, a tidy home, a thriving marriage, and home-based business. I wonder what's wrong with ME, that my life doesn't look the SAME. My toes do not look that PRETTY. I have never worn RED LIPSTICK. What am I doing WRONG? I'm pretty convinced that these women must have MORE hours in the day than me. Maybe they just have more MONEY and secret housekeepers and assistants.  I feel like they are BETTER mothers and wives than me.

Sometimes these feelings are triggered because I'm reading someone's incredible blog, or I woke up late and feel guilty for not exercising or having my quiet time. Maybe I saw someone's Facebook status about how their entire house is cleaned, and it's only 10am. Or maybe, (true story)  it's because we met with a marriage counselor and completely freaked her out so much, that she called to apologize the next day.

Whoa.Whoa. Whoa. That's when I have to stop, breathe, and pray for the Lord to slow down the runaway train of my emotions.

"Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!" Psalm 118:1

The truth is, when we start comparing our own lives to the altered reality of other lives/houses/marriages/children that we see via the blog-os-sphere (or amongst our own circle of friends), it only steals from the joy that the Lord has set before our own feet. We're saying, "It's not good enough God. I need more."

Let's not allow the only life we will ever live to be stolen for our want of another's.

Let's cultivate hearts of thankfulness and gratitude, hearts that appreciate the beauty of the journey, and hearts that are determined to soak up every last bit of the joy set before us.
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Lots of love,
Lindsey

28 comments:

  1. Thanks for the wonderful words. It is so easy to get caught up in it all, but at the end of the day all that really matters is our own family and happiness and that we really are okay just as we are, beautiful, strong, constantly growing and changing, capable, and lovely. <3

    -Sara-

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  2. Lindsey,
    I have followed your blog for a little while now (I am new to the blogging world myself) but I've always been to shy too pipe in and comment on anyone's blog. Today is different though because I happened to read this post. I feel like you were just inside MY head and your words spoke to me. I want you to know you're not alone. The crazy thing is I read your amazing blog and sometimes feel just how you described when you read others. Just wanted you to know I think you are wonderful- even having never met you. Your blog is always a breath of fresh air when I read it and I am sure I am not alone in saying this. Thank you for the gentle reminder. Your words touched me more than you know. :)

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  3. Had a conversation about this exact thing recently and it has really gotten me thinking. Love that I'm not the only one that struggles with this joy stealer. Thanks for sharing your heart!
    xo, Lauren
    p.s. email coming your way soon!

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  4. Hi, friend. :) I might have been the one to tweet about my house being clean but can I just clarify? My house was so disgusting that I finally felt nauseous over it and HAD TO CLEAN IT. And when I get cleaning, I don't stop.

    I feel the exact same way you do, sweetie. The blessing (and the curse) of blogland is that we get to control people's perceptions of us because we don't know each other in real life. What you know of me is what I let you know through Instagram, twitter, Facebook, and my blog.

    Another bloggy (and in real life) friend and I discuss this all the time. There are certain blogs out there that we've both had to unfollow because it made us feel like less than stellar moms, wives, and Christians.

    Just know you're not alone. Love ya, sister!

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  5. Tessa- I'm glad that this spoke to your heart today :)
    Tricia- it wasn't about you at all! Actually, it wasn't about anyone in particular at all, moreso just the insecurities of my own heart. Plus, 10 am there is like noonish here, so that's an acceptable gloat time :p
    Sara- You put it so well!

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  6. I think this is so common among bloggers...I had one friend who suggested that other mom bloggers exacerbate post partum depression in others because everyone's so busy posting only positivity. For what it's worth, as a currently-childfree person, I prefer the mom blogs that focus on real life and how challenging it can be. Constant positivity is nice, sure, but it doesn't feel real (because it isn't real). Some people choose to only show the good things and it's their blog, so whatevs, but as a reader the honesty provides such an amazing dimension that makes reading all the more interesting. :)

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  7. this same thing has been heavily on my heart and mind since i started reading blogs a couple of years ago. eventually, i decided that i would delete any blogs from my google reader that weren't making me feel good inside. (not that it was the writers intent to make me feel like i was LESS, but nonetheless, that's how it made me feel.) i deleted all the blogs who don't keep it real and instead "brag" on all the good without acknowledging the REAL. it has helped so much. and i haven't missed any of those old blogs that made me feel inadequate.

    ultimately, i agree with you that we have to keep our focus on God and let our joy come from him. but, it helps to remove all sources that steal that joy.

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  8. Thanks for the reminder, I really needed to hear this! More often then I would like to admit I compare my life to others and its something that has always really bothered me.

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  9. I was just thinking this same thing this morning. You are not alone in this thought! We are all just hanging on to Gods grace- and learning to be thankful- even through all the messes... P.s. you should see the mount everest of dishes in my kitchen... Or talk to the marriage counselor that was appalled at us... Haha. Life and love is so much bigger and better than perfection.

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  10. So very true. I just wrote a blog post yesterday about kinda the same thing... comparison of kids.

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  11. SO true! I just wrote about this same thing this week also, it's a damn fine line!

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