Thursday, April 9, 2015

Beating Back Bugs

A couple weeks ago, my husband and I took our two kids on a mini-vacation to the Water Park of America in the Twin Cities.  My son had been begging to ride the green slides that extend out of the indoor water park building, and my daughter kept saying how she wanted to see the "Mall of 'Merica." (You have to say that like you have an American Flag tattooed on your shoulder). We were all excited to have a little getaway, even if it was just for one night.

No sooner did we arrive home that I began to see some friends' pictures of their vacations at the beach. My excitement and joy from my own short trip quickly deflated. Why did I let that happen?  Because I allowed the nasty Comparison Bug to crawl into my heart and mind.

If you are like me, it is so easy to compare your family to someone else's. If we allow ourselves, anything can be used to make these toxic comparisons.  Vacations, activities, sports, academics, houses, cars, etc.  I could go on and on and so could you.

This "bug" sucks the joy right out of you.  As Jennie Allen says in her book Restless, "Comparison robs us of the joy of obedience."  I just want to shorten it: comparison robs us of joy.  It takes your eyes off of your own blessings and focuses them on the lives of others.  When we stop counting our own blessings, our joy ceases to flow. 

The Comparison Bug also nibbles at your sense of purpose.  We examine how other families spend their time and money, and we decide that our decisions about these things are inferior.  They must be living out their purposes better than we are. Since God made each person on earth to be unique, doesn't it make sense that each family is unique?  Each individual has a special, one of a kind purpose that is fully designed by the God of the universe.  That goes for each family too.  God designed each family unit to be a team that works to bring Him glory in their own unique ways.

I love how Paul encourages us in Romans 12.  I especially love the Message's translation of verses one and two.
"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life--your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life--and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you and quickly respond to it."
We all want our families to thrive, to experience life to the fullest.  This verse is the encouragement I need to keep pursuing it.  Keep my attention on God and recognize what He wants from me and my family only. Allow God to change my thinking (I need this in every area of life!). Stop trying to compete with others who seem to have it together (no one does).  God created families for support and enjoyment, so let's focus on that and enjoy each other.  Keep your fly swatter ready and beat back that nasty Comparison Bug!

I've linked up this week at #livefreeThursday! and at FellowshipFriday

8 comments:

  1. I'm so glad you linked up with me today! I love your post and the message. Hey friend, I'd love nothing more than to be in an indoor water park today! It sounds incredible. Me and the little monkeys sliding down the big blue slide!

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  2. Thank you for this! It is a very timely reminder as I struggle with a strong temptation to compare WITHIN my family - finding myself coming up short. I need that renewing of my mind that Paul talks about. Blessings! Denise

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  3. Visiting from #livefreeThursday. Beautiful post, and so applicable. The comparison bug seems to attack often. Thanks for the reminder.

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  4. Kristen, love your encouragement to battle that stinkin' comparison trap I oh too often fall into. Thanks for inspiring me to #livefree! Have a great day, Kim Stewart (fellow Compel sis)
    www.kimstewartinspired.com

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  5. What great words, Kristen! Comparison robs us of joy. Thanks for your encouragement. Visiting today from #LiveFree Thursday (and another COMPE sis!)

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  6. Comparison robs all our joy, and others , too, because it not only makes it hard to appreciate and enjoy what we have but it threatens all our relationships. It is so easy to do it w/o realizing it though. I mean, I don't want to do it and I find I just let my thoughts go there unwillingly.
    I am always eager to learn that art of contentment Paul talks about because I believe it will make it much easier to live life with joy and squash that bug of comparison.

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    1. Dawn, I'm actually planning a future post on that passage where Paul describes the secret to being content!

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  7. Such an important topic! I wrote on this recently too. We really need to keep our attitudes in check. Sometimes it's a daily battle. Thank you for a thoughtful post! Blessings from "Espressos of Faith"!

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