There’s an unsaid celebrity who said unsaid things. I don’t want to say much about this person because: 1.) I’m not a fan of gossip. 2.) I do not know this person’s heart 3.) I bless her and hope she gets all her heart desires (aka. Jesus). 4.) The point of this story is not really about her, but about me. (and perhaps, you)
However…the whole story really spoke to me. Here’s the clandestine background you need to know: This individual is at the top of her game. She is loved. She has been beyond successful in every single and solitary sense of the word. The world stops and gawks, “Wow, look at her. She has it all.”
Now, you’d think with so many awards, cheers, and recognitions, this person would know: I am amazing. I am so happy. I have all I need.
Yet, in a recent report this person lamented something the equivalent of, “Waa…my friend didn’t call me today to tell me I did a good job.”
When I heard this person say this, I considered it deeper. It is like an Olympian saying, “I didn’t hear the 4-year-old clap for me, so I must be no good.” Or like a professor becoming furious that on the first day of class that no one stood up and cheered for him. Or the genius saying, no one was happy for me that I completed the Spokane Post crossword puzzle.
And here I realized: If you are always looking for people to recognize you, you always will. You won’t just reach the pinnacle of success one day and say, “Well, looky here…now I need nothing from anyone. I have arrived at happiness…”
This just isn’t happening.
The truth is if you base your worth off of others’ opinion, it will never stop. The ferris wheel keeps going. Sure you may rise to the top because you’re getting seen, but before you know it, it swoops to the bottom and you are in obscurity, feeling bound with insecurity. Then, you lament that your husband didn’t cheer for you as you finished your bike ride.
We can undo this, you know?
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[a] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mk 12:30-31
What if we weren’t as much bound up by what we do as how much we love?
If who you are is loved and what you do is love others, how can mankind ever block a goal like that? His love sets us free.
Prayer: God, it is not trophies, metrics or applause that I serve, but you. Fill me with your love, so I can pour it out. Equip me with your heart, so I can enjoy it above all. Do a mighty work in me, but let it be all about you. Everything else pales in comparison. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.
The lady was confident. That was my first issue with her.
If she was just beautiful and – not confident, she might not have bothered me. But, she was SO sure of herself. She knew she was made of. No one in the world could tell her otherwise! No one could stop her! She brought her brilliance with her wherever she went!
She sat like the statue of liberty. I was a small seagull whose job was to soak in her glory.
It didn’t help she had a great job and wouldn’t shut up about it. That really irked me, because at this time, I had a horrible job and I loved to whine about it. I have too much work! I can’t do it! I need a new job!
This lady spoke to my husband differently: My job is a dream! My boss is inspirational. My life is fantastic!
Puh-lease….someone pass me the salt shaker – so I can pour it on her head.
I could almost see it, me – the small one, salt-shaker in hand – wrecking her moment. Her, the large-and-in-charge one melting like the Wicked Witch of the West.
But, she is not wicked. I am. Ever asked yourself…Why am I thinking this way?
I sat back in my chair, tuned out her conversation and considered – why am I thinking so – meanly?
Her strength is depleting mine.
Her success is ruining my moment.
Her great attitude defines me as less than.
Her belief in herself is stealing my joy.
Why does one woman have such a great impact – on me? Can 1 lady take away all of God’s promises with 1 sparkly super-white smile?
Is this what God intended? For me to hate girls who are happy, successful and beautiful?
Somehow, in this moment, I know my heart has followed a rabbit trail – straight away from God’s glory. I’ve gone got myself stuck in a pit now.
Have you found yourself in a pit lately? Perhaps someone shines better than you? Always has a perfect answer? Has the job of all jobs? Is PTA mom extraordinaire? Is driving your dream car? Has perfect kids? Constantly shows off Facebook vacations?
God says, our pits are escapable, with his help. “He lifted me out of the slimy pit…he set my feet on a rock & gave me a firm place to stand.”
God has the strength to lift me up from the yuck I put myself in.
When I set my eyes on God, not her, he, like a medivac, pulls me to safety. Choose to stand upon the solid rock – the ground that is not sinking. , that is not wavering and that will not quake under the pressure of earthly measures.
Here, I see: I am not less than, I am just right in God’s eyes.
I am not struggling, but victorious, because I am chosen as daughter.
I am not without a plan, because God has created good works for me in advance. I am not alone, for God sees the desires of my heart.
I am not dependent on others, but fully dependent on God – and who he says I am.
I pull out of my thoughts and find myself at that restaurant table. Her voice emerges, except it no longer sounds like nails on a chalkboard, but another girl, who’s excited to be who she is created to be. I mention how blessed she is to have a good job. She smiles. We talk – and have fun.
She slipped me the invitation under the table so as to not disturb the meeting going on and whispered, “Are you going?”
I read the first few lines and felt the sting. I whispered back, “I wasn’t invited.”
Obviously embarrassed, my friend said, “I’m sorry.”
And with those two words, I suddenly felt less than.
Kate was flipping through her Facebook feed and saw a group of her friends, all smiles, out to dinner. Friends she normally hangs out with. Their comments below the picture were all about the fine food and good company.
Kate was a little bewildered but even more hurt. She thought, Why wasn’t I invited?
Angela had her girlfriends over for their regular prayer meeting, but all three of them said they had to leave early. They had another obligation. She didn’t think much about it and when they left she gathered up her kids to go the local coffee shop. When she arrived, there they were, her prayer group gals, sipping their lattes and laughing with another mutual friend.
Angela thought, I wonder why I was left out?
If you’re breathing, I’m sure like me, it’s happened to you sometime in your life—all your friends are off to a happening you didn’t know about, that is, until an innocent one shows you the invitation, or you walk in where you’re not expected, or people forget you’re also part of Facebook.
And you feel crushed. You feel less than. You feel discouraged.
When we’re uninvited though we may never find out the why, I can tell you it’s not because we’re unimportant, lack value, or are less than.
Why should we let our worth be tied up in somebody else’s agenda? Especially when we don’t know their heart and we don’t know the motives behind their actions. I assure you I know being left out is a humbling experience.
And whereas humility is good and keeps us looking upward, discouragement is defeating and keeps us looking inward.
So how do we keep our perspective right when we’re feeling dejected?
We align our perspective with God’s truth.
His Word says we are worthy.
We are made in the very image of God (Genesis 1:26-27).
We are fearfully and wonderfully made ( Psalm 139:13-16).
We are Gods’ own possession chosen for his glory (Ephesians 1:13-14)
The King of Kings and Lord of Lords wants us to dine at His table
and that’s the only invitation we need.
Yes, people will indeed disappoint us, hurt us, overlook us, fail us, and slap us to the ground…
Unintentionally and sometimes on purpose.
But we have a God who never rejects us, overlooks us, or fails us.
Quite the contrary. Our God revives us, pursues us, restores us, and comforts us and never ever stops loving us.
Friends will hurt us and feelings are fickle. But the facts are simple.
God is faithful.
So just remember when you’ve been slipped that invitation under the table that doesn’t have your name on it, your name is written in a far better place—on the scarred palms of our Savior’s hands.
And He says you are WORTH it.
“See I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” Isaiah 49:16 NIV
Looking forward, pressing on, seeking God,
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Christy is a wife, mother, mother-in-law, mentor, speaker, and Life Purpose Coach. She’s also a girly girl who chases tennis balls for recreation and hunts for sharks teeth on the beach. But her greatest passion is to encourage women to move forward and press on, seeking God in the midst of life’s struggles.
I am delighted to have the fabulous Kristine Brown join us today as she shares about comparison. This can be sure-fire way to lose perspective and her blog reminds me to keep the focus of my eyes narrow and the intentions of my heart clean. Thank you Kristine – and welcome today! I hope you are blessed.
She lived in the shadow of someone else. Someone pretty important, as a matter of fact. Day in and day out she watched this graceful lady. From where she stood, it looked as if this other woman had God’s hand of blessing on her all the time. Of course, it was hard to see clearly when walking behind her at a distance.
She couldn’t get used to her new life in the shadows. And on top of that, she endured ridicule. If only I had a friend, she thought. She struggled to see beyond her bitter circumstances.
Her name was Hagar.
Hagar found herself in a new role as servant and handmaid to Sarah. Conflict started early in their relationship. And as the family dynamic changed, tension grew between the two women.
Sarah sat in a place of honor as Abraham’s wife. Abraham had heard a solid promise from God that he would be the father of a great nation. God also assured him this promise would begin with a son from Sarah. But Hagar’s position as the mother to Abraham’s first-born only increased the difficulties between Sarah and her servant.
Soon that son arrived. Sarah gave birth to Isaac. And with this new addition to the family, the comparison voice grew louder and louder. Hagar felt unnoticed and unimportant compared to Sarah. Without realizing it, she allowed comparison to lead her away from the God who saw her.
Our situations may be different, but Hagar and I have a lot in common. We both let the destructive voice of comparison whisper into our hearts.
I too have felt the compulsion to compare myself to another woman. I’ve listened to the lies comparison tells me – lies that sound something like this…
She is more talented than me.
She is more capable than me.
She is noticed more than me.
Maybe you’ve heard them too.
If so, then you understand how devastating this voice can be. You know the doubt it causes. And maybe – like me – you’re ready to silence it once and for all.
“I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” Psalm 57:2 ESV
The comparison battle once affected every area of my life.
My parenting. My role as a wife. My work. My ministry.
I couldn’t see the beauty of God’s plan. Comparison distracted me from the path He created just for me.When I realized how much I’d let its condemning words alter my thoughts, I resolved to find a solution. I went straight to God’s Word, and my discovery began in Hagar’s story…
When Hagar had enough of the hurt, she called out to the God of Abraham and Sarah. That day she learned a vital truth.
God desired to be the friend Hagar so desperately wanted. He was not only the God of Abraham and Sarah. He was her God too, and He made her a steadfast promise just like he did for Abraham – a promise she could count on.
“The angel added, ‘I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.’” Genesis 16:10 NIV
God had a plan for Hagar. By listening to His voice instead of the destructive words of comparison, she took a bold step. She believed the promise.
Sometimes that first step is all we need to get back on the right path. The question is:
Am I ready to take that bold step? Am I willing to rely on God’s promise and let go of comparison?
My answer is a resounding yes. Will you join me? I’d love to share with you more about Hagar and two other remarkable women in Scripture. Through their stories we can uncover the secret to overcoming comparison.
And when we do, we will also discover God’s plan for us is more than we could ever imagine possible.
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The Over It book is available on Amazon in paperback or e-book. To purchase your copy, click here. ***Proceeds from the sale of each book will benefit the More Than Yourself, Inc. scholarship program.
Kristine Brown is a writer, dramatist, and teacher. She helps women and teen girls navigate the ups and downs of real life. Kristine devotes her time to family, freelance writing, and her non-profit ministry, More Than Yourself, Inc. You can read more about her book at www.morethanyourself.com/over-it. Connect with Kristine on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.
I am delighted to welcome a new regular contributor, Angela Nazworth. She is not only a friend, who I adore, but an eloquent writer who always teaches me a lesson about God’s goodness. I hope you relish in her words the same way I do. Welcome Angela!
My hair has issues. Or perhaps the more honest statement to make would be for me to write that I have issues with my hair. I always have. Not even when I was five and my golden locks rivaled those of Rupunzel did I like my mane. Oh, I liked the length, and when it was properly curled and styled I pretended to be a princess, but I did not like the tangles. Even less did I enjoy the pain and aggravation caused by the untangling process.
My mom, being the one who had to listen to my whining protests, decided that my long hair had to go. This decision was made when I was in the fourth-grade, and it was one with which I agreed.
There was a downside. It was the year of the mullet. Not only is the mullet an eye sore, it’s a lot of work. My hair still easily knotted in the back and a brush was no longer the sole implement required to style my baby fine tresses. Each morning my mom had to stand over me with a hot curling iron to make the top portion of my head look more feminine, which in 1984 meant high and fluffy.
Fast-forward 30 years and you will still find me complaining about my hair. I have dyed it various shades. In my attempts for the perfect color, my hair has been green, pastel orange, purple, gray, and pink. All unintended. I have also tried myriad styles: short and bobbed, long and spiral permed, short and spiral permed, pixie, etc.
Once, as I sat in the salon chair of a former stylist eagerly waiting for her to transform me into a super model with just a few clips from her scissors, (I tend to have high expectations) she said the most peculiar thing to me.
“You are so lucky to have straight, fine hair.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said with surprise. “I wouldn’t wish this hair on anyone, plus what is with my crazy hair line in the back that grows upward and that hideous cowlick?”
“It’s much better than having hair like mine,” she bemoaned. “It’s so thick and coarse.”
I looked at her long, voluminous, perfectly coiffed blonde hair and giggled.
“This is too funny,” I said. “You have my dream hair!”
“Well, I guess we all want what we don’t have,” she replied.
How true that is. For sheep, the grass is always greener on the other side. For women, the hair is always prettier on the other head!
Moreover, it doesn’t stop with hairstyles. I will be perfectly happy with my blog’s design until I see the makeover another writer’s site recently got and then, suddenly, I determine that my online space needs spiffing up. I will feel content in my house until I overhear the sales rep at Home Depot tell another customer that “Aqua Chiffon,” is the most popular color for living room walls and I realize that I don’t even have anything close to that shade anywhere in my home.
It’s easy for me to brush off this cycle of comparison as innocent, human nature, but in reality it’s unhealthy and emotionally dangerous. Disparaging what belongs to me opens the gates of envy, coveting, and bitterness. Focus shifts from God and His goodness to selfish desires and I begin to lose sight of blessings that surround me. When I’m in the mode of comparison, discontentment and want, the vision of my heart blurs and I open myself up to being more susceptible to commit other sins in the name of pride.
Why is it so much easier for me to want something I cannot have than to thank my savior for the many gifts I possess?
My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.
Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything. They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. But that’s not the way of Christ. Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything. – Colossians 2:6-10
So while the grass may appear greener, hair prettier, furniture grander, homes bigger, and figures thinner … I now try extra hard to not be so interested in the proverbial other side. I am going to focus on how to make my inside look more like Jesus and foster a spirit of thankfulness for all He has given me.
What about you? Please use the comment section to share something about your life for which you are thankful and no longer desire to change.
Angela Nazworth is a flawed and forgiven recovering perfection who writes mostly about the beauty of grace, faith, friendship, vulnerability and community at angelanazworth.com. She is a wife and a mother of two, who manages philanthropic communications for a nonprofit, national healthcare association. Angela’s also an encourager, a lover of good books, coffee, girl’s night out, sunshine, and waterfalls. She believes the creator of the universe is both the author of and lead character in her life story. With every experience she learns more about who she is in Him … and takes another step on her journey to love others better. You can also chat with Angela via Twitter.
The open doors she got to walk through;
they same ones that slammed shut in my face.
The must-have-been joy all on her face
as comments galore flooded her blog.
I could taste the sourness in my mouth
and feel the irritation well up in my heart.
She had everything and I walked away with nothing.
I used to be this kind of girl. The kind of girl that wanted only me to succeed. The kind of girl who couldn’t deal with the success of others. I really hate to say it – because it’s embarrassing to see this always in turmoil, always watching, never happy girl.
Jealous girl. Greedy girl. Needy girl.
I have fought this girl time and time again. I have told her to take a hike. I have told her she is wrong. I have told her she is ungodly.
She normally didn’t care much because she always returned. Despite my best attempts to push her underground, to pretend she didn’t exist – that dang girl kept haunting me.
But, one day, God prompted my heart to make one small change. And, oh my goodness, I just praise him that I listened.
Because this one small step of obedience changed the entire terrain of my heart. It’s as if this one step of obedience invited a landscaper in to level everything. His work left my mouth dropped.
But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:25)
When God calls us to untraveled, unlevel places of faith, he brings us there to transverse the most astounding, the most astonishing and the most breathtaking terrain of our lives. Terrain that leaves us charged to go to new places.
We leave knowing it was his work, because in this place, we got to behold his glory, perceive his beauty and witness his loyalty. We leave, perceiving life from a different perspective. Our soul is compelled to go new distances and new places.
It feels like the Israelites as they muster the courage to step into our promised land. We get faithful and then he brings us there.
He did this for me.
He called me to more.
He asked me to leave comparison behind.
To wave goodbye to inadequacy.
And to begin encouraging and uplifting.
As I did this, my dry desert heart began to sink away and an amazing thing replaced it.
The more I encouraged my fellow bloggers through
the #RaRalinkup, the more my heart was replenished.
The more I saw each person’s pain and hardships,
the more my heart softened.
The more I lifted another up,
the more my love grew for them.
The more I felt a heart uplifted,
the more mine was.
The more I saw their love for God,
the more I wanted them to succeed.
Christ’s love was taking over.
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 Jo. 4:18)
Each step of love, is a step towards life. Each step of encouragement, is a step towards excitement. Each step of faith is a step towards something greater than me and loftier than my sole vision.
God has opened my eyes up to the power of his body – a body working together in unison.
Rather than rallying against them, we rally together on Twitter and the blogosphere in the name of Christ. There is no fear in love. We are so much more effective as a whole than as a part. I see God accomplishing big Kingdom-work through this group of women.
Together we are powerful.
God pushed me to encourage. Now, I only want the best for these women I once envied. I delight in their successes and mourn at their losses – authentically. I truly want God to take each one of them to his greatest heights. I delight in cheering for them. I want to help them.
What a transformation. Am I always perfect, no, but who is? But, I am 99% changed.
I praise God because he is the great Transformer. He is always ready to lead us to more. The question is – are we listening? I saw how one small prompting could open a floodgate of love and change a heart completely.
So, it inclines my heart to wonder, what other small things is he speaking? Am I missing them? How is he calling me to greater love? Because I have learned, when he calls us somewhere it will stagger us.
When we let God in, he truly changes the landscape of our heart. He works and reworks everything that is out of place. When we get rid of jealousy, we see God’s beauty.
A Note to the #RaRalinkup Linkup Team, My heart beats for what makes your heart beat. Thank you for teaching me true love. God has used you mightily in my life. I am forever grateful. You encourage me more than I could ever begin to encourage you.
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