Sunday, October 21, 2018

Sunday Afternoon Tea - When we learn not to compare ourselves with others

This week was not one in which I accomplished very much.  My insurance company had sent out a letter a couple months ago that they were going to stop paying for the short term insulin I had been taking for around seventeen years and were forcing me to switch to a man made generic.

That switch occurred late last week and soon after I took the first injection, I knew something was not right.  I ended up becoming deathly ill on this new drug and after a few days, I had to make an emergency trip to the clinic where they also came to the conclusion that it was the new drug making me sick.

To make a very complicated story as simple as possible, I ended up back on the original drug that has worked for many years.  I'm still feeling the affects of the experience but I'm a whole lot better than earlier this week.

It was soon after getting back on the original insulin that I was working in the kitchen while half way listening to a Bible teacher from one of the Christian stations on Direct TV.  I was not feeling all that well but a little housework done poorly is better than none at all, or so it seems.

Something drew my attention to what the speaker was saying and since it was time to rest for awhile, I sat on the recliner and listened.  Just then she said something that was so full of Truth, I thought it quite amazing.  It was especially helpful after the week just experienced.

She said, "Never compare your everyday life to the highlight reels of other people shown on social media".  

Now that is a statement that should be written out and taped next to every computer, every tablet, every smart phone in the home.  We may say we never compare ourselves to others but if we are being honest, we know better than that.  Especially when we see the perfect photos on Instagram and Facebook.  Real life does not have a filter option.

Don't get me wrong, there is a legitimate sadness that can occur as we follow others on social media.  It is not wrong to wish you could travel like some friends but health issues make it impossible.  Just feeling sad is not a sin, it becomes a problem when those feelings affect our relationship with God and other people.

It isn't wrong to wish your talents were being used more than it seems they are, for you are given gifts of writing, or singing, or telling stories, or teaching the Bible, or even something as simple as cooking meals.  Not at all for wishes... and dreams... and desires can be the seeds that move us to learn more and practice and become really good at the gifts God gives us.  

What we must come to realize... and find peace with... is that our gifts God blessed us with were for our own journey... that path He designed us to walk. We are not to covet another person's journey, no matter how exciting and glamorous it may look. For our path is uniquely designed by Him and is a mystery that our human mind cannot fathom... how He combines His goals for our life with our own free will to make decisions as we walk that road.

I take photos of pretty vignettes in my home which I guess could be called styled.  However, they have been tweaked into looking pretty for my home and not the camera.  You will never see a photo on Instagram of the mess Florentine has made of her kibble bowl or the sink full of dirty dishes waiting to be washed.

I also rarely show photos of something I have cooked because I do not take the time to plate the food so that it is Instagram worthy (only on Holidays).  I'm just happy to get a meal on the table on most days.  When we compare ourselves to others, our homes to their homes, our meals to the beautiful photos being shown, we must remember that for the most part they have been styled to look as close to perfect as possible.

I love to see the photos taken by those people who have a gift for styling whether it is food or flowers or art or books or china patterns, or any other number of pretty things.  I view the photos as works of art, no different than perusing a pretty magazine.

My real delight is when I see photos of what friends and family are doing on their journey.  Whether in using their talents, or taking a vacation, or baking a cake, or growing flowers, or writing a book, or any other use of their gifts.  I feel as if I am there, partaking of the moment with them (as much as possible in this finite world).

For you see, I realize that the problem is not when I desire to do what is necessary to make my own talents better, or do what is necessary to meet a goal... given circumstances and God's will.  It only becomes a problem if I start comparing my every day life that I live with what God has allowed in the life of another.

He only asks us to do what we can, with what we have been given, in the place where He has placed us.  It took awhile for me to be at peace with my journey.  It was not what I expected and definitely not everything I desired.  When I gave up my own idea of what my life should be and submitted to His plan... it was amazing how much joy I could find in the journey.

Doing the best with what I have also makes it possible to enjoy those pretty photos on Instagram.  It makes it easy to enjoy Europe vicariously through the photos of family and friends.  To take pleasure in the success of a friend's new book.  To give thanks for the meal cooked for dinner in spite of feeling tired, even if it is not one that is picture worthy.

Everyday life doesn't have a filter but it doesn't need one.  Our life is a gift from God to live each day and we can trust that God is at work in our life to bring us good and Him Glory.


Elizabeth said...

Dearest Brenda,

This post was a blessing and a gift to read. I so needed these words that you shared here today. Thank you for sharing truth and your heart. I always find such beauty in what you share, whether here or on are a beautiful, godly example, and this online world is brighter because of you.

Glad you are feeling better and hope that you feel even better as the days progress. ♥ Sending many blessings to you!

With joy,

Rebecca said...

What an important post re. comparing ourselves with others! (Sad to read of your reaction to the meds...happy you're returning to health.)

mdoe37 said...

I know I've been a little down seeing what some of my former classmates are doing. A student who was rarely there is now a mortgage broker. Another who was a "C" student at best is now a RN. I graduated near the top of the class and had no college plans upon graduation. My parents thought it enough to do secretarial work which pays poorly around here. I'm very accomplished and blessed in many other areas...but really feel shorted in the career area.

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

Amen! so sorry to hear about your illness, Brenda, but very glad to hear it was fixed and you are back on the right medication.

Vee said...

Like you, I really enjoy tagging along with my friends on their trips via Instagram or in Blogdom. Oh the places I have been! 🤓 As much of a joy as that is, it is greater joy to read a post like this. One that teaches me to look to Him, to trust in Him, to believe that my life has value just as it is in the here and now.

Now I must say...shame on the stupid insurance company that made you change something that has worked so well for so long. Keep documenting this as they might pull this stunt again in a few years, Did they not already do something similar before? It really annoys me that they would put someone through this. And still, I can almost hear you saying, “Give thanks in all things.” Hopefully, someone else will be helped because of your experience. May The Lord bless you with good health and increased strength.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Such good truth, Brenda. I like how you said your home is decorated and styled for your enjoyment not for social media. This is so important. I agree we all say we don't compare ourselves to others but we do, at least some of the time! Lots of encouragement in this post to keep our eyes on Him and His plan for our lives!

Little Penpen said...

Great post!! And we always need to remember that most of the photo's are staged. I have a few friends who post wonderful photos , but I know their true lives... it gets kind of sad, really. Insurance is such a racket; I hate how they can dictate what our doctors do for us. I'm glad you are better and your doctor was on top of it for you!

Out My window said...

This is so true. Real life is so much more knarly than what most people post. I am sorry about your problems with meds . I know that is no fun.

Melissa said...

Yes, each of our lives that we show in pictures is only about 3 x 3 inches! But, we share to encourage/bless/edify each other.
So sorry to hear that you had to go through another bad health scare, glad that you know your own body well enough to take care of it before it was way beyond help!!
Blessings on you.

Ian's Girl said...

You are one of the bloggers I compare myself to; not in a make-me-sad kind of way, but rather a strive-to-be-more-like way. Your home is lovely, and your soul even more so.

My mother had a similar situation play out with her thyroid medication. Her insurance went ahead and covered the original meds once her doctor sent a letter documenting her reaction. Prayers aloft for you!

Simply Shelley said...

Thanks for sharing. I can relate very much to your words.

Debi said...

A lovely and enlightening post.... thanks for sharing.