The Best Way to Ruin a Day

My precious, determined and motivated almost 9-year-old daughter has been faithfully working out for the last few days every single morning before school. I am so proud of her, watching her grow stronger and more confident the more she does these workouts, and it’s certainly put some pep in her step!

So this morning she awoke and did her workout as usual, but then, I noticed a gloomy look on her face and I asked her what was wrong and if she was ok. It didn’t seem to fit her normal enthusiasm she has had as of late!

She began to spout off things that weren’t fair in her life, a lot of them pertaining to her brother. I think this was especially spurred on by him being home sick this morning, and she was feeling a little envious.

As we dialogued about her struggles,  I felt compassion for her and struggled to hold my tears back at points. I get it.  The struggle with fairness has been one that I’ve had to deal with over the years.

I have this conversation with my kids fairly often if they come to me with things that don’t feel fair in their lives. I have to remind them in return that, if I were to keep a “fair score”, my sickness as I deal with MS doesn’t feel fair at all!  As I look around at friends, family and in the world in general sometime, I wonder what it must feel like to just be able to feel good most of the time. To be able to wake up in the morning and not wonder how much feeling I will have in my hands, and if my legs will be strong enough to carry me and do all the things I need to do in my day, as a mom and a wife. It doesn’t seem fair. And it certainly doesn’t seem fair that some of the most amazing people I know are dealing with cancer and just trying to save their own life. Or for the husband or wife who has lost their spouse, it certainly isn’t fair that they are now stuck trying to get by as a single parent, something I’m sure they didn’t ask or sign up for when they got married!

But do we really want fair?

As I processed with my daughter this morning, the thing that saddened me the most was how her posture and her whole demeanor became more angry and frustrated as she sat in that place and spoke of how unfair some things were that she has to deal with. I could tell it was taking her to a very negative place in her heart.

But if we were honest with ourselves, haven’t we all felt like that at some point? I know I have.

As I have processed through this same issue over the years, I have found in my own journey that hand-in-hand with the issue of fairness always comes the issue of comparison, and what a dark path to head down! 

Comparison is a deadly trap; it is a thief and it always comes to steal our joy! 

The danger of comparison is if you have the advantage over others in your mind, it’s easy to begin to feel pride take it’s hold on your heart; and if you come up short, you feel shame and failure begin to do the same! It’s a dangerous game you can’t win either way! 

I have certainly struggled over the years in my own story, and still have to fight through these feelings still from time to time, but God has shown me a safe place to land in my heart– to remember that I have my own journey, my own story. It is unique and is unlike anyone else’s. It’s not about fair, it’s about finding out what He has for me

This has been a game-changer in my life: to quit looking at what is or isn’t fair but to find value and treasure in my own journey. To know that God wants the absolute best for my life and has me on my own unique path, and it’s not always going to look like anyone else’s.

One great way that I have found to combat the comparisons to others is begin to look at the strengths that God has placed inside of me, and begin to maximize them the best I can, instead of worrying about what others are doing. I then begin to find a thankful heart by thanking Him for the strengths he has placed in me! A thankful heart will ALWAYS trumps an ungrateful bitter spirit. It always puts me in a much better place when I can do this practice, and I wind up feeling refreshed as I recall God’s work in my life, instead of discouragement about what isn’t going well for me.

Quitting the game of fairness and comparison has helped me find new freedom and new joy. It has helped me to be able to genuinely celebrate with others when maybe they have something that I would love to have, or are doing something I would love to do. They have their journey and I have mine! I believe this has now made me a better friend, a happier wife and mom and it has taken the pressure off of me to be like anyone else, and just to enjoy being myself!

I pray that even today you are able to begin to get off the roller-coaster ride of fairness and comparison. I pray you begin to see places where you have had this same struggle and that you can begin to make the choice to allow God to change your inner dialogue and help you think differently. May you find freedom in your journey like I have. I don’t want fair anymore, I want all that God has for me. It may not always look like fair, but it’s going to be good. xo