Sometimes I just want to sit down at a table with you and TALK.
Traditionally I believe this would mean we are gathered around a table, having an informal conversation. Maybe we’re sharing a meal or maybe just a cup of coffee. Maybe there’s cake involved or maybe something salty. In any case, I love the idea of having a space here on the blog where we can just “talk”. No recipes or food photos or instructions… just talking. A bit of “real” in the midst of what might seem like a perfectly put together online cookbook. While I love creating recipes and styling the food with simple details… it’s always nice to step away and take a breath… if only for a moment.
Today what’s on my mind has little to do with food and everything to do with joy… or lack thereof.
My heart has been convicted of how I’m so easily torn from joy (or perhaps it’s happiness that I’m torn from). One of the biggest enemies of joy seems to be comparison. How easy it is to look around you and suddenly feel unhappy because you see someone or something else that seems better than you and your present circumstances. I recently saw a hand-drawn sign somewhere online and it read: “Comparison is the THIEF of joy”. Ah but that it weren’t true, but I’m afraid it often is. Yes?
How do we combat this?
I’m not sure I have the correct answers but I’ll tell you what has encouraged my heart. Three things for now.
The first is taking notice & stepping back. Let me explain. Throughout the day make note of the things that cause you to compare yourself…. Maybe it’s at the gym. Maybe it’s driving down the road. Maybe it’s shopping at the grocery store… or walking through any store for that matter. Maybe it’s while you’re watching a specific show or type of show or movie. Maybe it’s when you visit someone else’s home. Maybe it’s when you’re scrolling through Pinterest or browsing on Facebook. Maybe it’s walking to your mailbox. Take note of when you find yourself comparing… then step back from those things that are causing you to compare if possible. Now, sometimes you can’t or shouldn’t avoid the activities that cause you to compare. For instance, going to the gym or grocery store. In these cases, it becomes a matter of looking inward. A heart change has to happen. You have to find your value outside of those things that are causing you to compare. When you know you are valuable, it will be easier to face those activities without constantly playing the comparison game in your head. For me this means going to God’s Word and who He is for my worth. He made me and showed me tremendous grace. When I take notice of something that is causing me to compare, I step back from that thing or activity if possible… or I step back and go to the Lord to refocus my heart.
The second is choosing joy. This may seem obvious or perhaps impossible at times, but all it really means is: Be Thankful. When we’re playing the comparison game we are focused on what we don’t have or what we wish we had or how we are insufficient in some way. Our focus is on ME and on what we DON’T have. So another thing I do when comparisons start creeping in is to start thanking the Lord. I start with the morning and work through the evening… all the things that might be involved in my day… waking up, feet to walk, hot water, pitter patter of footsteps, smiling faces, food to nourish, coffee to enliven, sweets to satisfy, sunshine to warm, money to thrive, legs to run, friends to encourage, hugs to welcome, a home to protect, a life to live. Once you start saying “thank you” your mind quickly wanders from the temptation to compare.
The third is serving. When we find a way to serve others, we stop comparing and start caring. We are no longer focused inward but outward. Don’t limit the definition of “serving”. It could be something like volunteering at a soup kitchen or the nursery at church or building houses or traveling to another state or country. It also might be something “smaller” like washing dishes (yes, you are serving your family when you do this!), doing laundry, cleaning someone’s house, making a meal for someone, watching someone’s kid(s), delivering groceries, wiping up spills, giving a hug or lending a listening ear. The point of serving is to focus outward… if you are actively looking for opportunities to serve others you will be less likely to be focused on yourself and how you compare.
How do you combat comparison in your life?
Thanks for talking,