Purposeful Faith

Category - No Fear

How To Stop Comparing Once and For All: 3 Tips

How to Stop Comparing Once and For all

I recently read a famous author’s article and thought, “I could write a better story than this.”   It’s embarrassing to admit.  My words were spoken through a heart of jealousy.

Comparison, like a teeter-totter, lifted me higher than she was – for a moment.  I felt good. I felt high. I felt powerful.  And then, as fast as I went up, I came crashing down.

As I began my descent, a little voice asked, “If you are so good, why aren’t you like her? How come you aren’t doing what she is doing? Why bother Kelly? You don’t measure up. Quit.” Slam.

The impact of comparing can be shocking.  It often leaves us discouraged as we fall to the ground, feeling disappointed in who we are.  Up and down the teeter-totter goes – feel good, feel bad, feel high, feel low.   What goes up must come down. 

So, how do we gain lasting steady confidence? How do we beat the up-and-down rhythm of comparing? How do we deal with ourselves when we feel less than?  It is time you found out how to stop comparing.

 HOW TO STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS – 3 TIPS: 

1. Anticipate the Lure of Comparing & Preemptively Fight

Thoughts of comparison are like a fly, they often land on us before we realize – and are gone before we can take action.  What are we to do?  We need to fight the lure in advance – before it even lands. We do this by examining our areas of vulnerability.

Examine Yourself:
 Where do I feel less than?
Where do I feel prideful?
What do I feel I am lacking?
How have I failed?
What areas of my life do I normally fall prey to “comparing”?
What are are my greatest dreams? Hopes?
How can I pray for those who are doing better than me?
How can I encourage those who are doing better and less than me?
What can I be thankful for?

“Let us examine our ways and test them,
and let us return to the LORD.”  (Lamentations 3:40 NIV).

We are wise to open the door to our vulnerabilities and to welcome thankfulness in our lives.  When equipped this way, we can more easily shut (and lock) the door to the temptation of comparing.

how to stop comparing

2.  Bless & Decompress.  

One of the greatest things we can do to combat comparing is to pray.

When we pray, we find a better way.  When we:

Pray for our weaknesses, we find strength.

For our failures, we find hope.

For our dreams, we find new doors.

For our pride, we find authenticity.

For those in need, we find love.

For those more successful, we find a softened heart.

For those less than, we find charity.

For eyes to see like Christ, we find faith, hope and love.

We pray and God answers us with eternal rewards – lasting, meaningful and transformational rewards.  Prayer changes us. Rather than looking for how much value we get, we start to see how much value we can give.

Instead of seeing our size compared to man, God shows us our size compared to Him. 

 He can – and will – bless many.

He is not an either/or kind of God.  So, we can stop comparing, pray big and dream big for others!

how to stop comparing

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:11 NIV)

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:19-21)

3. See Yourself as God Sees You.

“Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”  1 Sam. 16:7

To think that we will ever be without weakness, without hardships, without areas that need improvement, is not reality.  God created each of us with both strengths and weaknesses.  And, although the world tells us that we need to shape up or ship out, God just wants us to rely on Him in the midst of pain.  He wants us to look at ourselves created in his image.

We are wise to embrace who we are in Christ (click to learn more),

to believe his truths and let them  sink into the depths of our souls.

He created you uniquely and he loves you uniquely.  He wants you to rely on Him.  To trust Him.  To draw near to Him.

He knows what he is doing.  Posture your heart towards him and trust him to manage the rest.  You are a work in progress – and he won’t finish until his masterpiece is finished.

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on
to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  (Phil 1:6)

***BONUS TIP:  Embrace Grace

No one is perfect – not one.  Jesus didn’t die for us to be perfect; he died to extend us grace.   We are growing more and more into the likeness of Christ, but it is a process.  God has you covered – with the blood of Christ.   Rest your deficiencies in the arms of Christ. He desires to hold your pain and work them to accomplish his goal in the most exciting exhilarating ways.

Now that you know how to stop comparing, trust him and let go of the up and down ride of comparing that only serves to leave you wind blown and frustrated.

Now that you have learned how to stop comparing, be sure you don’t miss Part I (The Shocking Truth about Comparing) & Part II (3 Ways Comparing is Bad) of the Comparing Series.

Finding Lasting Peace: The Secret (That You Probably Are Not Doing)

Find lasting Peace

Wake up.  Drink coffee. Spend 5 minutes with God.  Rush to get ready.   Handle day’s work or home activities.  Drive.  Pay bills.  Have some difficult conversations.  Think about lunch.  Think about life.  Think about money. Dinner.  TV.  Think about health. Think about the future.  Brush teeth.  Think about family.  Think about worries.  Think about fears.  Sleep.  Wake up.  Repeat.

It is no wonder that we don’t feel “lasting peace”.  Life feels like a rat race that never ends.  And, our minds are like a gerbil that goes round and round and round in a wheel that is constantly spinning.

Day after day, we hurry hoping that something changes.  Hoping that maybe we will get enough, buy enough or eat enough, to make ourselves feel enough.  But, no matter how much we consume, life never seems to satisfy. 

Isn’t there more than this frustrating cycle?  Didn’t God intend for us to have lasting peace, more joy and more purpose?

The answer is yes.  He has so much more for us than worried rushed peace-less living.   

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (Phil. 4:8)

If we really want lasting peace, we are wise to think about what we are thinking about. 

Our thought processes determine our feelings and our actions. If we are worrying, fearing and consumed with things of this world, we will feel fearful.  We will lack lasting peace. If we are focused on God’s truth, what is noble, what is right by his eyes, things that are pure and lovely and admirable, we will embrace lasting peace.  We will live lasting peace.

It is no wonder that God tells us how to think and then he follows it up with “…practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Phil. 4:9)

God calls on us to be obedient in our thoughts.  Not perfect, but obedient.  When we focus on what he values, he blesses us with himself and his presence.  We don’t need to reach for some new thing to fill us with peace or contentment. We need only to reach up to him.  God comes as the answer in our quest for lasting peace.  His requirement?  That we trust him at his word.   That we focus our minds. That we think and dwell on things that are uplifting and true.

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3)

When we obey, we have a chance to witness God’s faithfulness.  He will come and grant us lasting peace in our hearts.   He will make himself at home within our mind because we have prepared it as holy ground for Him to reside.   As a result, we will find a place of safety, a place of refuge, a place of escape – as we sit in his presence.  

He will refresh us in him.   This is true and lasting peace.

God is the ultimate peacemaker.   This is who He is.

When the rat race has you running on empty, welcome him into your mind and let him fill you with his peace – that transcends all understanding.

 

Out of Hiding & Free of Fear

It is time to step out.  To come out of hiding.  To let your true colors shine.  To be who God made you to be.   It is time to be fearless.  To be courageous.  To be passionate.  It’s time to take a risk – to move from your calm safe grounds to unsteady risky rocky terrain.   Terrain where you feel vulnerable – where you know, by yourself, can’t stand on your own.   Why?

Because too much is on the line not to.  And, the idea of not taking that adventurous step means living in mediocrity.  It’s so worth it.

I spent a good amount of time in hiding.  Sure, I went to church, I was in small groups, I had Christian friends, but I stayed on safe ground.  Grounds where no one really questioned me. Grounds where I rode in a perfect straight line, rarely branching off the beaten path.  I kept on this straight and narrow for fear of getting hurt.  When a conversation veered into sticky areas or when I felt too vulnerable, the warning light would go off in my mind, “do not venture there, you may get someone upset.    Don’t speak too passionately; you don’t want to be “that” person. Don’t seem too knowledgeable, others will feel less than.  Don’t bring up topics that could make them feel uncomfortable. Don’t run the risk of angering that person, it’s better to just let them continue feeling miserable as they go the wrong way.”

“Hide who you are because you don’t want to be judged, hurt or rejected.”

I did this all the time.  But I came to realize something life changing.  In my attempt to set others free of their bad feelings, I only succeeded in trapping myself.  I locked away the person God created Kelly to be.

When I lived in that closet, I missed the opportunity to love deeply.  I missed the opportunity to speak the absolute truth in love.  I missed the opportunity to walk in faith, as I felt afraid. I missed the opportunity to rely on Christ when others may have felt irritated at me.  I missed the chance to encourage others.  I was too worried about preserving myself.

You know, we have one life.  One chance to pour out love.  One chance to give all we have.    To be all in, no holds bar.  To share grace.  To encourage in truth.  To live without fear.  To give with faith. To help those in need.  This is our chance.  This is your chance.

I don’t know about you, but I am sick of living trapped, beholden to this world. I know at the end of the day, when all is said and done, I will never ever regret living all out – full of love – for God.  Do I do this perfectly?  By no means, but that is the point.  That is why I need Christ.  And when I rely on him, I find peace.   I find safety despite an unsafe rocky terrain.

At the days end, when I come out of the ultimate closet, that is this world. I hope to stand in front of God with full confidence that I shared his love, peace, and joy with all of my heart to people who hurt so deeply.    I want to stand knowing that I spoke his wisdom – according to his timing – no matter the risk.

This authentic living is adventurous living.  We can’t do it on your own.  But, as we rely on him, we will find we are truly free.

“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ…” (Ephesians 4:15)

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”  (1 John 4:18)

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”  (James 3:17)

God’s truth is what healed me.  If it was hidden, I never would have been touched.  I never would have grown.   So why do we think we need to hide truth?   Rather than hide, we need to lay down our pride.  It is not about me and preserving my image- it is about people who are hurting and need to hear truth spoken in love.  Take it or leave it.  This is Kelly as God designed me.

When we are who God created us to be, we finally find true freedom. 

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)”