praying girl

The Joys of Renting

Oh the joys of renting.  Last week we found out that the owners of our house want to sell. We had just signed a new lease and we’ve had a few things happen lately which has made me a bit more protective of my privacy, the importance of boundaries and nourishing self care.  So when I came home the other day with a huge “For Sale” sign out the front of my yard, without permission or a simple phone call, I was furious.

I felt like someone had invaded my space.  I felt hurt, cranky and super protective.  (This will all make sense when you read my blog post I have for you next week). What happened to common etiquette these days? What happened to a simple ‘hey we’re putting a giant sign in the middle of your lawn, (yeah the lawn where you usually park your car), and we hope you don’t mind us doing so?’

This soon turned to ‘wahhhh why haven’t we bought a house yet?

You see I have a serious case of wanderlust.  I love to travel. To dip my toes in other cultures, to badly stumble over the use of their language, to take in the beauty of the natural sites.  So heck… our money has been poured into this passion.

We’ve also been able to invest in other people and a stack of other things because we don’t have the responsibility of owning a home.

Comparisons Come Easy

But the comparisons come easy don’t they?

Oh that girl has shinier hair than me!

I can’t believe she got the promotion when I worked so hard!

They haven’t bought a house yet.They must be so irresponsible with their money! I’m so glad I know how to save.

I want to be skinnier, wealthier, happier (insert adjective here). Just like her.

Check out her Facebook profile. She has it sooooo together!

And I’ve noticed a common thread among “The Butterfly House” tribe that you too are feeling the hurt of the comparisons. Even in the lead up to writing this post my beautiful friend Casey preached about ‘Overcoming Comparisons.’  There was this beautiful quote she mentioned in her message by “Charles Swindoll” which you can find in his book “The Grace Awakening: Believing in grace in one thing. Living it is another.”

Why don’t we treat one another as the Lord instructs us to? Why do we love with such hypocrisy? What keeps us from being devoted to one another, from honouring one another, from contributing to one another’s needs, from practicing hospitality? When others are promoted or receive special recognition, or enjoy a few luxuries we may not have, why don’t we applaud their success and rejoice with them? Why do we pay back evil for evil, even though we know retaliation will only create barriers? The inescapable fact is that we nullify grace rather than magnify it.  We resist it more often than we release it. What is it within us that hinders an attitude of horizontal grace from flowing freely?

Often when we are comparing ourselves to people we end up criticising or competing with them.  For some reason we are uneasy with differences.  We get nervous when someone has different tastes in music, clothes and even opinions.  Too much emphasis is placed on the external and not enough on the individual and thus variety.  Swindoll goes on to say that:

Comparison fuels the fire of envy in people. It prompts the tendency to judge. It makes us prejudiced people.  The worse part of all is that it nullifies grace.  It was never God’s intention for all his children to look alike or embrace identical lifestyles. The Church is not a religious industry designed to turn out mass produced reproductions on an assembly line.  The Bible wasn’t written to change us into cookie cutter Christians or paper doll saints. Variety honours God, predictability and mediocrity bore him.

So ask yourselves these questions:

Do you add to people’s guilt or lessen it?

Are you the type to promote someone’s liberty or restrain it?

What would love do?

How could you be more forgiving of yourself?

What would a more self loving person do?

If you treated yourself more kindly, what would you do?

What opportunities are you missing out on because you are competing and comparing?

Three Steps to Crushing the Comparison Monster

+ Laugh at the inner mean girl. (Thanks Melissa Ambrosini for this one). What does she say to you?  Acknowledge it, laugh and then give a one sentence statement about the reality of the situation. Eg Inner mean girl says ‘You’re fat.’  You laugh and say ‘I’m fearfully and wonderfully made. By fat do you mean PHAT?’ (Pretty hot and tempting for those of you who didn’t know the acronym!)

+ Write down three strengths that you have.  Then write three action steps for each strength on how to boost these strengths.

+ Challenge Negative or Inaccurate Thinking.  You do this by replacing these thoughts with accurate, constructive thoughts.  Use hopeful statements ‘Even though it’s tough I can handle this situation.’ Forgive yourself. Focus on the positives. Relabel upsetting thoughts ‘what can I do to make this situation less stressful.’  Encourage yourself.

What advice would you give someone who is struggling with ‘comparisons?’  If you liked this post share using the buttons below and let’s get a conversation started.