05 Sep 2012

The only way to feel content with who you are and where you’re at

Interesting, isn’t it, how many of us are afraid that someone else will do our dreams better than we could?

And then there are our jeans, our noses, our dress sizes, our cooking skills, our choices about what diapers to put on our kids, whether we will make our own baby food, our kids’ behavior, our houses, our husbands, and the state of our yards.

The list of things we could get our knickers in a knot about when comparing them to someone else’s is endless.

And unoriginal.  Mother Eve herself fell prey to this insatiable desire to have what someone else has, to know what someone else knows; in short, to not feel like she was missing out.

The serpent told the Woman, “You won’t die. God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you’ll see what’s really going on. You’ll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil.”
Genesis 3: 4-5.

Dissatisfied with the everything God had given her, she ate the lie that there was something she was missing.  Something that could complete her contentment.

Some other glittery, shiny, better something.

When we were kids, my dad had this unusual television watching habit that he encouraged in us. Occasionally, when a program cut to a commercial break, he’d lead all three his kids in a chorus of yelling at the TV as loudly as possible, “LIES!”

It was a riot.

Commercial break and all out cacophony on our end as we laughed and yelled and hooted and hollered at all the something else’s on parade, “Lies, lies, lies!”

It made me laugh to remember. Until I think about her blog platform. Or their house.

Until I catch myself checking out the other mama’s car at a traffic light. Until I compare the weeds in our back yard with the manicured lawns on either side. Until I hear who cloth diapered, made organic baby food, and home schooled their kid.

And suddenly I’m face to face with my something. And I hear the whisper that I need to be just like that.

You will never really enjoy other people, you will never have stable emotions, you will never lead a life of godly contentment, you will never conquer jealousy and love others as you should until you thank God for making you the way He did.
~ James Hufstetler “On Knowing Oneself” via Calm My Anxious Heart: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Contentment

Until you thank God for making you the way He did.

Just the way He did.

Not fatter or thinner or smarter or more artistic or blonder or faster or what-ever-er. Just the way He did.

Which is why I’m starting with dreams. Thanking Him for the ones He’s planted in my heart.

Where would you start?

 

Comments

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  1. 1

    Weeds in my backyard is one of the ones that gets me now and then too. Then I remember I have other priorities. I was also realizing today that I usually tend to compare with what’s better/nicer/cleaner than mine, instead of focusing on where I’m more blessed than many. For example, today it was dusty corners, cobwebs, baseboards. I had to remind myself of the order that DOES exist here even if it is not as spotless as some folks’ houses. Definitely wise to shut down those voices that want to wallow in comparision-jail.
    Mary, momma to many

  2. 2

    I’m thanking Him {again!} for bringing you into my life. I love you, you beautiful-mama-soul-sister-encourager-extraordinaire! Thank you for shining Truth on all us mama-friends. You are the best!

  3. 4

    I struggle with this daily! I get so caught up with how other people are doing so well with such-and-such, that I forget what my purpose is and who God created ME to be. It’s hard to remember that we all have our individual strengths, talents and weaknesses and that we were created to be who WE are.

  4. 6

    Oh, this is a question that bounces around in my heart, and the answer never comes easily. Whenever I’m comparing myself to others, I remind myself that there are people out there comparing themselves to me, thinking that I’m more blessed than them/have nicer things/ live a better life, and I’m immediately grounded again, knowing that a common thread of humanity is wanting more, desiring better, regardless of our circumstances. It’s one of the chronic problems of the Fall, that we’re never satisfied with what we have, with life God has given us that is perfect in His eyes. Today I start with thanking Him for where I am right here, right now. It may be that I’m home nursing a migraine, but I’m in a warm house with clean drinking water and a plentiful supply of food, which I know makes me incredibly wealthy. Everything above those basic necessities is an extravagant blessing, for which I give Him thanks. Thank-you, Lisa-Jo, for a uqestion that forces us to look at what we do have, not at what we don’t.

  5. 7

    Oh, I can so relate. I constantly compare my life to others. Yearning for the cleaner house, the perfectly planned menu, the laundry that is all done and folded, etc. and so on. I don’t think I will ever get anywhere as long as I am dissatisfied with where I am right now. Thank you for this post. Gives my heart much to think on.

  6. 8

    Hi Lisa-Jo
    This post has opened up some cans of worms for me. Thank God for making me the way He did? I’m always asking him to change me. The list of dissatisfactions and little jealousies is huge, I’m afraid. I know that He loves me but somehow… deep down… I wonder how it’s possible that He does.
    I so want the stable emotions, the life of godly contentment, to love as I should so I have to climb this mountain, I think.
    Thanks, as always, for hitting the nail on the head.

  7. 9

    That quote by Hutstefler is incredibly convicting. Because I spend so much time wishing for something different instead of living gratefully in my reality.

  8. 10

    Just in the car yesterday…my daughter and I were talking…she struggles some in school…all the older siblings excelled in school(they take after my hubby…she has my gift…learning difficulties)…she was calling herself dumb…because she was comparing. As she was complaining…she stopped in mid-sentence…”me calling myself these things is telling God I hate the way he made me”… I said, Oh yes…because God doesn’t make mistakes…I pray she holds on to that truth as we grows through life and all the other comparison games start…the games that rob us…keep up from embracing who God made us…and those that rob Him the joy of seeing us enjoy who we are too~

  9. 11

    Every time I read one of your posts, I thank God for you and for His words that He seems to whisper in your ear. It’s amazing how you always seem to speak to something that I need to hear right when I need to hear it. He is using you. Thank you for letting Him. You are a blessing to me!

  10. 12

    Oh this is so lovely and true! I must accept the me God made, not the me I think the world wants me to be.

  11. 13

    Oh, wow. Just had my baby three months ago, and what IS it about being a mama that turns us so much to comparison(jail, as Mary, above, so aptly said)? Maybe it’s just that there’s SO many choices in the world about how to take care of these babies, and it’s hard to feel like ours are right when we see someone else doing what looks like so well with the paths they’ve chosen. And maybe they look at us and feel the same way, but we don’t know it…
    What a post, what a quote. Lovely.

  12. 14

    What a gift to have you, Lisa-Jo. I have learned so many lessons through you and this blog. What a gift, to have someone in my life who is so encouraging. I tell all my friends about you, and i describe you as a friend i never had and always wished for! Thank you for your words, they mean so much!

    • 15

      I love that Valarie, how we can be friends even if we’ve never met. Amazing how sharing stories can build a bridge, isn’t it?

  13. 16

    Great post Lisa-Jo! and just what I needed to read today…the LORD has been bringing just these things home to me right now. I’m embracing ‘here’ and the place he’s called me in life, with a baby coming and a very hard new language to learn and the gift of writing to preserve me allowing the journey to bless whoever it will:} And, I love that you ended with a quote from Linda Dillow’s book. She served right where I am for a long time & friends read this book last year and recommended I read it my first year here…so, to pick it up again and do just that:}:}:}

  14. 17

    Funny how sometimes I feel like you know my exact thoughts. I wrote a post yesterday on the difficult process of mending the broken pieces of my heart. Pieces that have been broken because I believed the lie. I believed that I could be better than what I was created to be. I am purposely choosing to instill the promises of Truth in my baby girl so that she can cling to them when the enemy threatens to feed her a bunch of garbage.

  15. 19

    Here’s what I’ve learned: that the whole reason comparing ourselves to other is so destructive is because we’ve heard in our own heads and out of the mouths of others too many criticisms of others. So we know full well what criticisms of ourselves would sound like. And then we go about looking at those who do it better than ourselves and find evidence to support those criticisms. Don’t judge or you will be judged.

    It’s so deep in us. I think it’s one of those things you just have to start being mindful of. As women we’re probably already primed to learn to look at others more charitably. But it’s hard to let go of judging ourselves. I often tell myself “God doesn’t need me to do what she’s doing. He’s already got her doing that. He has something different for me to do.” I’m pretty sure I stole that from somebody thinner and more successful than myself, btw. ;)

  16. 20

    I love that quote from James. It’s so true. How can you enjoy other people or even yourself if you’re always making comparisons?

    Thank God for making me the way I am. Amen.

  17. 21

    I thank God for my heart…flawed and sensitive, analytical and easily broken….able to see into the hearts of others easily…all those things mixed together make up the heart He has give me! Thanks for reminding me to look at what He has given me!

  18. 22

    I laughed out loud at the image of you all yelling at the tv. I think I want to start that tradition at our house as well, especially since my daughter seems pretty convinced that she wants/needs the toys they advertise on the Disney channel. :)

    I think this is spot on. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be better, but not when it comes from comparison. Starting with the dreams God gave me make it about His plans for ME and not someone else. Desire has a purpose, but it’s not to make us want to be like everyone else.

  19. 23

    Thank you for this excellent post! It was just what I needed to read today. My oldest son just started at a new school this week and I have found my mind consumed with comparing myself to all the other mamas. I will start by being thankful for the passions that He has given to me.

  20. 24

    I’m going to start thanking God for my past education (or lack of) and knowing that He has given me the ability to accomplish His will for my life through my lack. In fact, as I write this, I feel past hurt rising up….but today I’m deciding to release it; choosing to not believe the lies of the enemy anymore. (Wow! That’s kinda tough!)

    Thank you,
    Tasha

  21. 25

    what a beautiful post babe, so beautiful and so true. Thank you for writing that.

  22. 26

    It seems to be a lesson that needs repeating over and over again – in one form or another. For me right now its comparing myself to all the great writers. Oh, how small they make me feel. I need to keep clinging tightly to the dream.

  23. 27

    Thanks again for the reminder. This is one area where I’m terrible at, but thankful for the strides I have made. I do think it’s human nature (at least for women). When I get stressed (especially at the way my house looks), I try so hard to stop, take a deep breath, and actually thank God because I have this stress. I thank him for the house that I have to clean, and the Legos that I just stepped on after asking for them to picked up because that means God has blessed us with more than enough to afford these things!
    I wrote a similar post a little while ago: http://mylittlebitoflife.com/?p=4024

  24. 28

    I would have to start with the way He made our second daughter. She is just 4 yet she challenges us on so many levels day in and day out. We struggle to figure out how to “fix” her, how to tame her etc. But God doesn’t make mistakes and He made her who she is for a purpose. Perhaps to teach her parents something? Perhaps to serve her well as she grows…who knows. But He gave her to us, the sweet and the sour, for a reason.

  25. 29

    oh, yes… yes.yes.yes!
    (I don’t read regularly, I’m a blog drifter. But every time I land here I am inspired. Thank you.)

  26. 30

    As always, your words speak a truth I desperately needed to read today,–well, this season. Thank you for this, and your spirit and heart for all things faith and womanly. You continue to inspire, my friend.

  27. 31

    Thank you, thank you for this, Lisa-Jo. The well of comparisons goes deep — further into cold dark waters — harder to breathe or escape from the more I make. I love the way you express lack of acceptance and gratitude for who we are, for the dreams placed inside us by God himself as the root of so much of this. Such good reminders and loving conviction here not to give comparisons the final word.

  28. 32

    I am so glad i read this tonight, i was feeling very discontent and this blog really changed me around. I can sleep in peace now

    • 33

      How sweet that you found peace, Terri :) Seems like a special gift from Him for you that night? I hope you had sweet, sweet rest that night–and always.

  29. 34

    Love the focus, Lisa-Jo….gratitude to God for who He has made us to be — body shape, personality and all! :) Now, to really bask in that and stay focused on Him while loving those who could otherwise ripple that new-found-again confidence in Him ;)

  30. 35

    I really like your dad’s “unusual television watching habit.” Made me smile.

    My husband and I aren’t fans of commercials either. Our solution is even more unusual – we just opt not to have a TV at all. Ha! We’re going strong with two years of a TV-less life (and, so far, I don’t miss it…much). ;)

  31. 36

    After reading this post I have to say, THANK YOU!!!!! I had this issue with a friend. She always had or talked about a bigger, better, brand newer, more expensive something every time we got together. So I distanced myself from that cause it made me feel I wasn’t good enough because I didn’t have/want those things. Until she told me she couldn’t be my friend cause I wasn’t “keeping up with the Jones'”. As that being said I was heartbroken, but I prayed for her. She couldn’t accept me as I was and that’s ok. I”M COMPLETELY HAPPY WITH WHO I AM!!

  32. 37

    Haha. I loved the commercial comments. We did our version of that too. Either the sound was completely turned down and us kids ran around to finish dishes, clean up the toys, etc. during the break or my Dad would point out the ‘selling gimmicks’ and how most of it is not something we really needed. To this day commericals do absolutely nothing to convince me that I need to buy it. I take it in as information, but there is not a desire to rush out and get it.

  33. 38

    たまた、しなければならなかったが、いにサードへ。、するをしての。のにんでは、このなゲームをするにはしていませんので、の、のためにするはありませんが。しかし、このきはのくににくことができ、このはなのなくとものがある、8つのサブは々はにできるものではありません。それだけに

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