It was a cold and rainy day, but I went out and got my 7 miles in anyway.
Times like that test you. Your desire. Your will. Your .. sanity? When you step outside to realize it is positively pouring cats and dogs and you have 7 miles on your run schedule that day. You could wait until later .. maybe the rain will let up .. but who wants to do that?
There is virtue in sticking to your guns. User discretion advised – be sure that they are guns that you wish to stick to before doing so. So, granted that it is something that you really want and you know it’s right, even if you don’t feel like taking the action steps toward it on a particular day or in a particular moment, you should just suck it up and do it.
I received a personal reward for sucking it up that day. No, no one was back at home to pat me on the back or say “way to go for cranking it out, babe,” but I received a great reward: a fantastic conversation with God. As I hydroplaned through puddles and cars passed me, splashing up water onto me from the road, I had to giggle because the conditions were so poor it just seemed ironic that I would run in them. (Sometimes, you just have to laugh at what is going on around you.) I was already 2.5 miles into a loop route of mine. There was no turning back even if I wanted to entertain the thought. I was having fun at this point, actually. It’s kind of fun to do what other people may think if a little .. crazy at times, you know?
Some say, “Stay outside the box.” 😉 Others say, “if you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space,” haha. Fun.
SO! My reward? This conversation was very cool, it was a culmination of thoughts passed around our Bible study on Saturday night and then with a fitness trainer friend of mine last night. The subject? Comparison. Will you allow me to do more than entertain your mind for a moment? What does comparison bring to mind, for you? Give it some thought. Even write it down, if that helps you. I enjoy writing and typing my thoughts out – they organize themselves a little more nicely that way at times and become more concrete and logical 🙂
Do you find yourself comparing yourself to other people, your circumstances to others’ circumstances, your relationships to others’ relationships? If you say, “no,” you are lying, or you have already processed this thought through your mind before. Comparison is completely natural. It comes as it pleases. It is the way our minds work! We receive outside information/stimuli from the world around us and automatically compare it to our experiences or what we have. It’s your own personal perspective. The way we think is instilled in us by our experiences from birth. Think about it – we learn how the world works and how to interact with people through our parents and maybe older siblings, too, as we grew up. We learned how to walk, how to speak, what normal food was, what we would presume a normal relationship was, how to interact with others, and so on and so forth.
As adolescents and now adults, we have learned, or rather, been taught, what we should look like (or what ‘normal’ people should look like) what we should have, what should be important to us, what we should wear, what our relationships should be like ..
This can prove to be very good and helpful to us! Or, on the other hand, it can be detrimental. A stumbling block of sorts, if you will.
We can be taught that we have great value, to not allow others’ opinion of us to shape us, how to trust the right people and hold those we cannot/should not ever trust further from us, we can be taught that beauty is not tied to physical features, but rather, a quality trait that comes from within …
On the flip side, we can learn the (false) idea that maybe we don’t have great value, that what others say about us (although we may not come right out and say it) shape us and either confirm our value or our non-value, we can learn dysfunctional thought patterns, causing us to highly scrutinize those we should be more willing to trust and then possibly openly trusting the wrong individuals or situations, and we can learn the false idea that we have to have a 6-pack in order to be beautiful, sexy, or even just confident about ourselves.
Alright, I am stepping down from the soap box. I don’t like being taller and looking down at everyone, anyway. Haha! Might I suggest that amidst all these comparisons that flood our minds everywhere we go: new information versus the old information in our minds .. that from the moment we wake to the moment we place our heads on the pillow at night .. to take each one of these thoughts of comparison CAPTIVE when it enters our minds and question it?
Question it. I don’t mean doubt yourself or beat yourself up, I mean take the thought itself and interrogate it! I really like to regard God as the mentor and teacher for my life. My thinking – if God is my Creator, then He knows all things and, to put it more specifically, all truths, yes? I regard Him and His Words (the Bible) as truth for living and I seek to compare each of my thoughts with what it says. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” .. sounds pretty good to me ..
“Thought, where did you come from? And what is it you are trying to do, here? Are you good for me and my purposes and life or are you bad for me? Do you build me up or inspire me, or do you tear me down or condemn me?”
So, in 2 Corinthians 10:5, it says, “we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” The second part may sound a little strange if you haven’t heard it before or heard it explained. Entertain this for a moment. God says that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) So what 2 Corinthians 10:5 is saying is that we take captive every thought, examining it, and then line it up with the what God says. So, I take it to Him. In conversation. Some people call it ‘prayer.’ I’ll even go as further and look up supporting info to chew on in the Bible.
I’ll give an example and then I am done: If I have a thought that says I am not good enough or not fit enough or not successful enough, I look up specific things in the Bible pertaining to that.
What good are bad thoughts of comparison EVER going to do for you? Nothing but tear you down, hold you down, and make you feel terrible.
Even worse, if there is someone in your life telling you terrible things about yourself for the purpose of cutting you down, you don’t need to listen to them. Period. Good people will build you up. They will always inspire you to be better and become better. Constructive criticism is great and useful and necessary! But don’t condemn. Instead, inspire. There is a way to inspire positive change in others. 🙂
I will leave you with two thoughts to chew on:
1. Be inspired by what you like in others, but don’t strive to be like them.
2. Seek out all the amazing things that make you uniquely you – who God created you to be! Be free in that!