Measuring Sticks

Comparison. We all do it whether we like to admit it or not. In the age of modern technology with social media a major part of a mass majority of people’s lives, we live most of our days in comparison. We compare ourselves to our Instagram friend’s body and how she looks in her bikini versus how our body looks after having birthed a child. We compare our houses to those we see on Pinterest, how they look more like Goodwill threw up in them and less like a Pottery Barn ad. We compare our husbands to the sweet things they do or don’t do based on someone else’s Facebook post bragging about their husband surprising them with flowers or a date night. We compare our success and achievements against those we read about in magazines and see on TV and wonder why we can’t be smart enough or move up the ladder faster.

Goodness gracious, is anyone else as tired of it as I am?!? Why then do I continue to compare my life with someone else’s, why does anyone do it? Comparison is like a thief, it steals our joy, it kills our spirits, and it destroys our souls. I love how one of my favorite authors, Ann Voskamp, says it, “Pick up a yardstick to measure your life against anyone else’s and you’ve just picked up a stick and beaten up your own soul. Measuring sticks always become weapons. Of Self-Harm.”

There is way more that goes into explaining why we struggle with comparison but I think a major factor that plays into it, is that we have forgotten the practice of gratitude. Gratitude is not a feeling or an emotion; it is a constant daily, moment-by-moment practice. It’s like a muscle, in order for it to get stronger; it must be worked out and strained regularly. It can’t be leisurely attended to and expected to grow.

When comparison starts to ensnare us and steal our joy, we need to stop and practice gratitude in that very moment. Maybe our body doesn’t look like our friend’s does in her Instagram picture after having a kid or two, but be grateful that your body was part of a miracle. It grew and expanded in order to care for another life for 9 months. Your body is a gift even with all of its stretch marks and extra skin. Maybe your house doesn’t look like something straight from Pinterest, but think about how many people have walked through its doors and experienced hospitality when they needed it most. Or how many people have sat around your table and had not only their stomachs fed but their souls fed as well. And next time you are tempted to compare your husband to your Facebook friend’s husband and all the things he does or doesn’t do, remember how he has held your hair back when you were sick or all the little things that he does in his own way that show his love and appreciation for you, not to mention all the ways he sacrifices for you and your family.

Listen, I am on this journey as well, I am speaking to myself here too. Just remember, “When you walk through life with a measuring stick—your eyes get so small they never see God.” (Ann Voskamp)

So, put down the measuring stick and open your eyes to the wildly blessed and abundant life that God has given YOU.

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