Stealing joy.

Monday, January 28, 2013

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In this season of my life, this quote couldn't be truer. I struggle with it: comparing. Don't we all, to a point? I think as women it's especially easy to fall into the trap of comparing. From looks to babies to Etsy shops to jobs to husbands to lack of jobs and husbands to happiness. And as soon as we do, joy slips through our fingers. Contentment walks out the door. Peace is far away.

For me, reading other blogs can be my one-way ticket to comparison. It's like a window into another person's life with all the hard parts carved out. I see perfectly behaved children, clean floors, perfect hair, and exotic vacations. I know I'm guilty of this, too. I've gotten the comment quite a bit from blog readers that my life is so beautiful and "perfect." And while I can sit here and tell you it's so far from perfect, I do try to keep this space positive and light. There's plenty of negativity on the internet, and I decided a long time ago I didn't want to add to it. But at the same time, when you only see the highlights of my life (for the most part), it's easy to fall into that same trap of comparison. What you don't see is the time I cried last week or felt like a failure or wasn't very nice to my husband or got frustrated with my crying baby. I'm not trying to hide it. I just don't feel like this blog is the forum to pour out these deep feelings that tend to stay in the safety of my husband and closest friends. 

So all this to say, for the month of February, I've decided to take a break from reading other blogs. Maybe you're reading this and realize it's time for you to do the same. It's time to take a step back and really savor what the Lord has given me. I want to echo the Psalmist in saying, 
"Lord you alone are my inheritance, 
my cup of blessing. 
You guard all that is mine. 
The land you have given me is a pleasant land. 
What a wonderful inheritance!" 
(Psalm 16:5-6)

21 comments:

  1. I totally agree with you. There is a fine line between just staying away from negativity and portraying the perfect you that will cause others to be jealous. The same is true for facebook, instagram and all the other social media platforms though. It just feels better to show your best side, why else would we smile in pictures?
    I always ask God that I can praise Him for the blessings he gave others when I see beautiful families/homes/bodies on other people's blogs... but hey, that is not always easy. I sometimes (more often than not) want that too... And the funny thing is that I can't even complain about my own life. I am already so blessed.

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    1. Not always easy, but the right thing. Such a good reminder.

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  2. That picture is the lock screen on my phone! I really need the daily reminder, and I feel the same way when it comes to blogs. There are some that I had to stop reading altogether because they caused me to question my own life a little too much.

    The thing I like about your blog is the sense of peace that shines through the page. I'm sure you have your moments, like everyone does, but my overall feeling when I visit here is one of peace. So I think you've created something pretty special.

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  3. Love this friend. And love you so much. I'm gonna send you a message from CJ Mahaney's wife on comparison- it seriously rocked my world. So so good.

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    1. Kir, I love you. And I love that message - I listened kind of halfway a while ago to that sermon, but I really need it now. I'm so glad you posted it.

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  4. I'll actually post it here in case anyone else wants to give it a listen! Because let's face it- we women are SO BAD at this!!!! http://vimeo.com/45489686

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  5. Thank you for sharing your heart in this Whitney, I'll join you on the blog-break! I think it's going to be challenging for me but I'm looking forward to intentionally focusing on the blessings the Lord has given me. Psalm 16:5-6 is going on an index card today so I can memorize it! :) Thank you for the challenge!

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    1. Yay! I'm memorizing the whole chapter (Psalm 16). It's so good! And thanks for joining me. :)

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  6. I have been feeling the same way! I am battling the comparison bug... comparing my buddy Isaac to all the close-aged babies of close friends/blogger friends/facebook friends. I reassure myself that all babies develop at their own pace, but it's just so stinkin hard not to compare milestones and wonder why Isaac isnt at the same place. I have also thought about giving up the blog reading & facebook for a few weeks just to reorient my perspective.

    BTW- I bought "Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing" because of your recommendation and I LOVE it! Thanks!!

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    1. Ahh the best book! I'm so glad you love it.

      And YES to baby development. Definitely have to keep that in check.

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  7. Great post! I will have to remember this quote...

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  8. I had to take a step back from reading everyone's blogs, too. Not only because of comparison, but mostly because I was finding that when I was spending time reading about everyone else's lives, I was missing out on mine. I try to never spend time on the computer when my daughter is awake (which is difficult a) because at 16 mos, she is awake a lot more than she used to be, and b) because I teach ESL online and my entire job consists of being on the computer)

    Now, instead of focusing on keeping up with everyone and commenting and finding new blogs to try to get to follow mine, I have abandoned most of them (my own included...sad!) and only spend about 10 minutes checking my three favorites. Reading your blog every day brings me joy, and I appreciate the positive, light, faith-filled space you provide. Even just the pictures you take put me in a happier place :)

    Keep loving on those chubby cheeks and praising God for the life He has given you!

    <3 Bethany

    www.happyhomemaker.me

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    1. Thank you, sweet Bethany! You're always such an encouragement to me!

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  9. This is a hard one. For me, when I've chosen to cut out things like blogs or Facebook completely to eliminate the temptation to compare, I've found that I would miss out on many photos and encouraging words that would have brought me joy or inspiration, and I would feel more alone. It's like the thing I thought was stealing my joy was really providing some of it, too. It was easy for me to blame Facebook when I decided to close my Facebook a few months ago, but the issue was really me. And I let the enemy rob me even more by cutting that venue out of my life completely (the thief comes to steal). Instead, I've had to pray about cutting just certain Facebook "friends" or blogs that do steal my joy. And I can only make that discernment through prayer. Lots of prayer. Comparison is a heart issue. One that I can only overcome with God's help. Social media is an outlet for temptation, but I believe true, good community can be had online too. Just like in other relationships, if someone in my life is stealing my joy or constantly bringing me down, boundaries must be set. After all, the Bible tells us to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23).

    Whitney, after reading your blog all the way through last year, I can tell you that you share more of the hard stuff than I think you're given credit for. It's written within the story you've shared here (financial/job struggles, not knowing where God was leading you and Shawn, waiting to get into nursing school, learning to live with Celiac disease, going back to work). I really think you honor God in the amount of hard stuff you share and the amount of good times you share. It's OK if most days aren't a big struggle. The way you share has inspired me (and others) to always look for the good in my days and to seek God to overcome any struggles I do have so that I can see joy even more clearly.

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    1. So true... you're so right, a lot of these things do bring joy and inspiration, too. And it truly is a heart issue. I think the break of reading other blogs will be a temporary one for me (because I do love so many of them!), but the boundaries will be so healthy once I return with a clearer head.

      And thanks so much for the encouragement. I've always thought I was more transparent than people have given credit, but then I recently saw a nasty comment on a forum (a blog reader sent me the link... awesome) that made me rethink what I was writing. Anyway, thanks for always being so encouraging!

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  10. Yes. Thank you for this post. Less/no comparing was my resolution for this year, and it's hardest when reading other blogs. Good to see honesty without complaining.

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  12. Good, Whit! But, don't disappear...give us the choice to compare...or not! :-) It's age old that we will be a stench to some and a sweet aroma to others...love u

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