Feb 272013
 

Last Friday evening I enjoyed a much-needed break at a friend’s house.  It was a great night.  My friend was celebrating her 35th birthday by having a “Favorites” party.  SO fun!

The evening went smoothly and I laughed so much I did notice, however, I was observing all the ladies there.  I was “checking them out”. I was not judging them I was comparing myself to them.

Here was the situation:  We sat in a large circle and handed out our “Favorite” items we brought to share.  I was looking across the room at two ladies in particular.  It started with admiring their hair, earrings, and outfits, but quickly turned into…”I wish my hair looked like that.  I wish I were thin.  That outfit wouldn’t look that nice on me.  She seems so happy.”

It wasn’t even 10 seconds later that a friend sitting next to me whispered, “Do you ever feel like a broken woman?” Ah.  She had been thinking the same thing.  There we were.  Enjoying an evening out and trapped by comparison.  In reality the comparison was taking away our joy.

The trap of comparison is just that, a trap.  Once your mind starts down that path it is difficult to find your way out.  Here it is, four days later and I still feel icky about me.

Comparison takes away the joy of all that we do have.

Comparison quickly turns to negative-self talk.

Comparison shifts our mental focus to the negative in life.

Comparison is not only a trap, but it is a lie.

When I compare, (when we compare), I am comparing myself to what I see.  I am making assumptions about another.

If another woman is thin and well dressed, I am assuming that she is happy with herself.  Maybe she isn’t.

If someone’s child is well behaved, I am assuming they always are and that she is a better mother than I am.

If someone’s house is clean and organized, I am assuming it always is and that they have life figured out more than I do.

All this based on what my eyes see…

What do I compare the most?

1)      My body

2)      My hair

3)      My children

4)      My spouse

5)      My house

Do you compare yourself with others?

What areas do you find yourself comparing the most?

How does comparison affect your state of mind, your sense of peace?

Admin

Admin

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Feb 082013
 

I thought it was in my past.  It was over.  Done.  Then a Valentine’s day escapade left me sitting on our kitchen floor, crying.  And I knew I had a problem.

Exactly one year ago I realized perfectionism still had it’s hold on me.

After my holiday melt down, I wrote this reflection and I want to share it with you as we explore what it looks like to let our perfectionism go.  What it looks like to actually embrace our imperfections.

Recognition is vital to change.  This was my moment of recognition last year.

**********

On Valentines Day, I took a picture of the valentines we – excuse me – I made for a couple of Harper’s friends.   I posted the picture on Instagram and Facebook and received all kinds of positive feedback from my “mommy-friends”.

Immediately, I was struck by truth from the Holy Spirit: this looks perfect… but you know, Audi, it was not perfect.  Other women need to be reminded of this.

I had pure intentions. I had set out to create activities Harper and I could do together, to bond over.  But I had imagined this perfect craft day in my head for so long, I became determined for it to happen exactly as I pictured.  We made hand painted cards, kid valentines and considered baking something yummy.  But by the time it came to baking, we had already had a major melt down.  And by “we”, I mean ME.

In my flurry to create that perfect craft day, I didn’t notice my little girl needed me to slow down.  I had become Major General Audi Swift. The result: a major tantrum and I wound up on the kitchen floor, with tears streaming down my face.  The tides of perfectionism and comparison had pulled me in.

Later that night, mulling over our catastrophe, I was struck by a few things:

  • I had set out that day to be perfect, not real, but perfect.  I had fallen for the trap of comparing myself to other mommy-friends who always do the craft-holiday thing well, and their kids seem to be completely compliant with the process.  I was going to bulldoze my way to the same result if I had to.
  • I had allowed myself to get too busy and too overwhelmed to stop and respond appropriately to the specific needs of my child.  I forget that my day needs to allow for fluidity.  Sometimes the check list needs to wait.
  • I also, and most importantly, realized I had misplaced my priorities.  Reading my Bible and praying were on the back burner.  Without intentional focus on these things and listening to the Holy Spirit, I am lost.  Chaos and confusion set in.

I read a quote recently by Theodore Roosevelt that said,

“Comparison is the thief of joy”.

This is the truth:  We live in a culture that thrives on comparing people, looks, talents, worth, status, careers, etc. It’s easy for us, as women, to get trapped in this. Comparison plagues and poisons us.

Everything within me says Jesus never intended this for us!

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”  Psalm 139:14

It is my prayer today that our souls may know this very well, we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  I want to grow to appreciate who God has created us to be, to be grateful for the gifts and talents He has given me, and to be joyful for the gifts and talents He has given others.

When have you found yourself comparing yourself to others?  Would you join me in laying aside the facade of perfectionism and not allow comparison to steal your joy? 

Admin

Admin

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jan 252013
 

Have you ever been unable to stop yourself from ruining a moment you knew should be absolutely joyful?  I have.  I almost ruined an entire day in Paris.

Not long ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to be in Paris.  We were without kids so we were enjoying calling the shots of our schedule.  One particular morning we had planned on getting up and going for a run together.

But, when the alarm went off, I could barely peel my eyes open, let alone move my body.  My husband asked if I would like to join him, I mumbled something about sleeping and I was left in beautiful silence for about an hour more.

It was beautiful.

Until I regained consciousness and realized I hadn’t gone running.  Instantly, a sweep of guilt, even anger, took over.

How could I be so lazy?  To actually miss running… in Paris nonetheless?  My hubby clearly was not lazy.  Why couldn’t I be like him?  Now he’ll be able to eat one more croissant than me!

I was literally disgusted with myself.

I quickly got ready and headed down to breakfast with my husband.  My grumpy mood hung over our table like a soggy blanket.  It was depressing, uncomfortable, unenjoyable and made you want to be just about anywhere else.

I let my idealism and perfectionism completely steal my joy.  In a moment when I wish I could have let all expectations go, I was comparing myself.  Stepping into that old trap of counting calories when I didn’t need to be.  I was labeling myself as a failure when that was the furthest from the truth.

I didn’t account for the fact that a parent desperately needs sleep when the kids aren’t around.  Or the fact we were jet-lagged.  I didn’t allow myself any allotment of grace.

I was rooting my identity in exterior standards, rather than who God says I am:

I am loved, adopted, chosen, accepted, redeemed.  (from Ephesians 1:3-14)

Thankfully my husband and I can talk about these deeper things without too much pain.  I’m thankful to have someone else in my life who can help me see truth.  Sometimes we need someone else to help us wake up.  To splash the cold water of truth in our face.

Recognition is always the first step to healing, right?  We need to start recognizing when our ideals or the world’s perfectionism is calling the shots.  When someone or something other than God dictates how we see ourselves.

Is your identity in your being perfect or is it in who Christ says you are?

Admin

Admin

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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