I wake up to soft sunlight coming in our window at 6:30. Although I'd love to keep sleeping, I'm wide awake. I close my eyes for a minute and feel a tug on my heart, so I crawl out of bed, dragging my comforter with me in to the kitchen to start the coffee. I quietly shuffle across the living room, light a candle and grab my bible with a fresh cup of coffee in my home-made coffee mug. I pray a sloppy prayer, read the Psalms, and journal for a little bit.
This happened today, but before you get discouraged and spiral down the road of joyless comparison, you have to know, this never happens. I never wake up early, without a lot of grumpiness and sadly, I rarely read my bible. I've been a lukewarm Christian when it comes to devotions, and it's embarrassing. I grew up in a strong, Christian home, I know better, I have the time, so sometimes I think to myself, "Geez, buck up and get over it. Just read!" Which probably isn't the right perspective when it comes to the holy words of my Savior, but seriously! Why is it so hard?
I can give you the simple answer. The one we all learned in youth group meetings and children's ministry. It's so hard because we're lazy sinners.
For the past year, I've been more intentionally fighting not to compare myself to anyone. It takes me two seconds to deconstruct myself in a picture and turn into a pathetic puddle of tears. I've felt alone and singled out, I've felt straight up ugly and untalented, I've felt rejected and distant. In the moment, I have two obvious options: What I'm believing is true or false. I am literally, attacking myself from the inside, like a infection.
When you are sick, if your body is functioning properly, the white blood cells (phagocytes) in your body will make antibodies and ingest the harmful particles, bacteria, and dying cells, therefore saving you from the common cold. To complete this metaphor, when I'm comparing myself and starting to spiral down into self-pity, what "white blood cells" do I need to equip myself with in order to be okay with my life?
Sometimes you do just need to cry it out. Get it over with, clean up your face, and move on.
Sometimes you need to text your closest friends. I have texted my husband screenshots of someone's fancy instagram vacation or new-expensive-thing-we-can't-afford and whined all about it. Normally he comes back at me with, "Babe. I get it, but we're blessed."
Sometimes you need to think outside the edges of the picture. Have you ever looked at a painting and felt like you could jump inside, and know exactly what it would look like past the edges? What if you look at this picture of my bedroom, I bet you subconsciously think of your unkempt bedroom, laundry on the living room floor, dishwasher still not run... Right? It's like looking at something clean automatically pushes your mind to your polar opposite. Well, outside the edges of this picture to the left is a VERY messy bedside table, a bathroom with splatter all over the mirrors and a dead ant in the corner I'm too lazy to clean up. To the right is the customary laundry on the floor and pizza boxes on the counter.
I guess, what I'm preaching to myself is this:
It's okay to be inspired to clean up, it's okay to want to learn new makeup techniques, it's okay to save another life-hack on Pinterest. But if it's ruling your emotions; if it's ruling your quality of life, then quit. Turn off your notifications, log out of Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook combined. You'll feel better and chances are, you'll get a lot more done and you'll feel a heck of a lot more content with your life.
Then, after you do that, buy yourself a coffee mug to remind yourself to never compare your wonderful life to someone else's. You truly have no idea what good or bad is going down outside the edges of their Instagram.
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. - Galatians 1:10
Now you tell me...
How do you fight off comparison?
How do you keep your joy?
How do you steer away from social media and create authentic relationships?