January 20, 2014

Comparison Is Crippling

We all do it...and those who do not, have either had YEARS of solid discipline in it, or truly are not human! We compare ourselves to the neighbor next door--how their lawn looks compared to ours, how their children are dressed compared to ours, how nice their car is compared to ours. We compare ourselves to other parents--how well they handle their hectic schedule, how orderly and nutritious they pack their child's lunches, how spotless their house always seems, how calm they appear when their children act out. We compare ourselves to significant others' past relationships--how pretty they are compared to us, how nice of a figure they have compared to us, how much more popular they are than us, how much more our significant others must have liked being with them over us. We compare ourselves to the careers and successes of others--how much money they make compared to us, how they have been able to be so financially stable compared to us, how they are able to do what they really want compared to us doing what we really have to, how they seem to get all the breaks in life, or how they get to stay home and be taken care of compared to us having to work three jobs and not have that "luxury".

But this type of behavior is not only dangerous to our self-esteem and self-worth, it is also crippling to our relationship with Christ. We were each made exactly he way we are for a reason. We each have every scar, struggle, and life path we do for a reason...God makes no mistakes, and does not allow anything that does not help us to grow and work towards a better life in some way.

Ezekiel 16:13 states: "So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was honey, olive oil and the finest flour. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen."

We are all beautiful, we are all queens in God's eyes. We need not want what others have, or compare ourselves to the live they have versus ours. We do not know what goes on behind the closed doors of another person's life. They may have unimaginable struggles...and wish in turn that they were you or had your life! You cannot compare your inside, with what you see on someone else's outside. It is not fair to you, or to them.

Galatians 6:4-5 goes further to state: "Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load."

We are each meant to be exactly who we are. We are designed to have drive to always be better and do better...but be better and do better for ourselves, not to try to measure up with others. Embrace your love from The Father, and He will remind you daily of how perfect and wonderful you already are to Him. He does not want you to be like anyone else...that is why He has created you the EXACT way He has. Be the best YOU that you can be...it's enough for the Creator of the Universe...shouldn't it be enough for you?

January 18, 2014

God Loves What You Give...Whether A Little, Or A Lot

We often become discouraged because we think we are not doing enough. If there are spare moments in our day, we are certain that we must be missing something that needs to be done, or we need to find another activity to fill that slot of time. We have become so accustomed to the busyness of life, and we forget that nothing we can do could make God love us any more. We can attend church 5 nights a week, be active in our Bible study groups, volunteer at our church, help our children to know the Lord, and speak to others about Christ. But again, doing all of that does NOT make God love us more. He already loves us with a perfect and endless love. When Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross, he took on everything...for all of us. He sealed God's love for us in spite of our sinful nature, and our selfish tendencies.

Now, being involved in groups, volunteering, leading our children, and immersing ourselves as deep in the Word as we can are all WONDERFUL things. But not because they make God love us more. It is because we fall into a deeper and more secure relationship with Our Father. When we learn more about Him, we can understand His truths for us better and apply them to our lives. That is the end goal. For some people, this requires many hours a day or week. For others, it may require only small segments of minutes per day or week. Neither one is wrong. The fact that we consistently work towards a deeper relationship through Christ, and that we continually strive to be better ourselves and to others...those are the things that God appreciates. God does not measure in how much we do or how big our deeds. God measures in purity of heart and genuine intentions.

Becoming spread too thin or overly involved can actually hamper our relationship with Our Savior. When we do this, our actions become simply "doing", as if trying to get across a finish line, or be noticed for multiple achievements. But the truth is, this can actually cause us to not embrace the reason we are doing these things, and we tend to not allow ourselves to be still enough at times to hear God's voice, and to spend necessary quiet time with Him. It is through these times that we grow the closest to Him, and if we miss these times, we miss precious opportunities to feel Him working in our lives. Sometimes saying yes to too many things, causes us to say no to God. Sometimes filling our time constantly with "things" (even though they may all be ministry related and wonderful things), can cause us to take control of our own time, and miss God's actual plan for us.

We need to be able to take time to hear what God wants for our lives, where He wants us placed, and when He wants us to say yes and no. Be sure to start taking this time, if you are not already, so that you can live the abundant life God has called you to. I believe time in study, fellowship, and community involvement are all extremely important. But so is stillness and quiet--take a moment to write time with God in your hectic daily schedule, no matter whether it is 5 minutes, or 5 hours...and be sure to do so in ink, not pencil!

Don't become so busy doing FOR God, that you forget to be WITH God!