This is an excerpt from my new book which will be out later this summer/fall.
Comparison is the thief of JOY. Theodore Roosevelt
If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree; it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. Albert Einstein.
Oh how I know too well that comparison robs us of joy. It is said that we should avoid comparing our beginning to somebody else's middle, or comparing our weaknesses to others strengths, which is all too often what we do. We compare ourselves and then let ourselves be caught up into thinking that we are failures because we can't do what everyone else does. This is especially true in church settings and on the internet. Pinterest is especially known for its ability to make people feel inadequate and for fueling the comparisons that cause us grief, pain, and stress.
I remember an experience from when I first started blogging. I was about a month into blogging and was starting to sprout wings. I had written a post about our garden. The children and I had made some garden boxes out of scrap wood. I was so excited to try this method for growing my plants. In the past my garden was a disaster. I did not always mark the rows well enough to tell where things were supposed to be growing. I often found myself digging up the growing plants thinking they were weeds until I noticed they were growing in somewhat of a straight line, or stepping on a row of tiny plants, I had such troubles with it all. With garden boxes I would be able to see where the plants were supposed to be growing along with having a pathway for my large clumsy feet. I was hopeful that it would eliminate many of my biggest garden pains.
I began linking up and sharing this post about my garden boxes. I came to one of the homesteading blogs where I was going to link-up with other homesteaders, and then I saw it......someone else had already linked up a post about how to make a garden box. I looked at their picture and it was beautiful. They had made their boxes out of redwood with beautiful brick pathway surrounding it. They had lovely green plants growing in them. It looked just like the cover of a magazine. I couldn't believe it.
I turned my head in shame, how could I compete with this. I looked at my picture of my garden box, all grey and worn out looking. It looked like the work of a child. I was so frustrated. I had worked so hard. I sat for a few moments with tears in my eyes contemplating what to do. I even thought about quitting blogging all together. I can't keep up with these types of people, maybe blogging was not for me. All of a sudden I found courage, I stood and held my shoulders high, and said to myself, "This is stupid, why am I comparing myself to these people that I do not even know, To let them ruin something good like this blog, I won't let it. This is who I am, So what if my garden box is not as beautiful as theirs, it is mine and I made it by myself!" This was my blog, my experience, my things. My blog, the one about being resourceful and making it with what you have. I linked my blog post, proudly placing my picture next to that beautiful garden box. If people wanted a comparison of garden boxes, here it was. You can make them beautiful or simple and plain, either way they get the job done.
I have since found out a simple truth about some of the internet bloggers and Pintrest junkies There was a blogger who posted in this way; She began to wonder how peoples "internet likeness" matched up with their true likeness. (I wish I could find her blog again to give her credit, but this is what she said.)
"I call them “virtual wives”. They may be a model wife online… but what if you came to their house? Would they meet you on the door step outside? Do they keep their blinds closed at all times so you can’t see the mess inside? Does their husband feel as loved, respected and appreciated in real life as she seems to portray on the web? Do all those crafts and projects make her extra-industrious, or is she neglecting everything else that should have come first?
Too often we compare ourselves to those "virtual wives" It is an easy trap to fall into. It seems to be too easy at times to join in and wallow in it. It is not healthy, it truly can rob us of the Joy that can be found in being true to our own self. Go and find your own joy, do not get caught up in the things that really do not matter in life, this is my prayer for each of you today.
life less hurried.