Appreciate don’t compare

A while ago I was talking to a friend and he was giving me some advice about an unhealthy pattern I was noticing about myself. I was telling him how I was comparing other girls to my girlfriend at the time. this was something I know I did not want and I noticed it was making me feel less excited and appreciative of my relationship and my friend Jordan said “comparison is a joy killer”, his last name is Marshall if you want to quote him. of course this was not all he said, but this was something that really resonated with me because I really felt I was not enjoying my relationship with my girlfriend because I was comparing her to other girls.

that great lesson in comparison being a joy killer has stuck with me to this day as something I try to live out in my life. this recently has gone full circle with me because I have experienced a hand full of times somebody comparing me to somebody else right in front of me to other people. I don’t believe the intentions are negative at all but each time it happens, in my head, I take a step bac and say really!!! I do this because I do not see the resemblance and I wonder to myself what does this person see in me that makes me like that person. if I were honest I am more worried about what idea that other person is getting about me from this comparison that I am about the actual comparison. comparisons make you think because they are a form of a metaphor. if I were to put the comparison aside I would be able to see that that there is a compliment trying to be distributed. the comparison is not allowing me to see the compliment and thus is taking the joy that could be experienced from the compliment.

I personally am horrible at not participating in comparison. I would argue that I am one of the worst contributors. most of my comparison is inward based meaning that I compare myself to others. I think this is detrimental to how I find satisfaction in life. if I am always trying to measure up to somebody else’s unspoken standard then I will just continue to reach for something that is perpetually unfulfilling. one of the closest people to Jesus noted that he said come to me and I will give your life and I will give it abundantly. I take this to mean that if you find your life your identity your fulfillment in Jesus and not the world then you will have life and an abundant source of it, which I take to mean an endless amount of joy. this is unlike my state I was in when I received the wisdom from Jordan because there was a condition I was internally putting on my girlfriend to meet and when it was not met I appreciated others instead of her. I remember when I was a young lad I would compare myself to my friends after Christmas to see who got the most, biggest, coolest, expensive gifts and I would think their parents were cooler than mine . the appreciation was short lived but it took from the appreciation that I should have had towards my parents and the joy of their selfless giving provided. not only is comparison a joy killer, but it is an gratitude killer. there is a reason folks that are more grateful are more joyful. to turn back to Jesus I think he provides a way for us to be filled with the joy daily and guess what it is through appreciation. Jesus said to be thankful for your daily bread. if we are thankful for our basic necessities in front of us then everything else will just be an overflow. that overflow is the joy. when we compare we don’t feel like we have enough and we are void of the joy that the overflow provides. this is still something I am working on and I would like to ask if you would like to join me in being more grateful. to appreciate ourselves, what we have, what we have done, who we are, others around us, challenging times, and our enemies. the life we have been given needs to be cherished, so join with me in seeking the abundant life. there is nothing to compare to the greatness of the little taste I have had of the abundant life, and I am choosing to seek more joy in my life. remember “comparison is a joy killer” Jordan Marshall.

when a break goes to fast

in the past couple months I have taken a break from a few things in life that I was previously doing on a regular basis before. this is something I have tried to stay conscious about so that I do not lose track of the things that were once a consistent part of my life. these things were not particularly unhealthy or bad for me, but I lost track of their purpose and meaning. for me I noticed that by the enjoyment and fruit that was not taking place. the passion had dwindled and it was work to just keep the flame lit. there is a difference between enjoying your work and working for your enjoyment. often times I feel that we get caught up in the later in the name of enjoying what we do. often times when we are so caught up in the doing the work it just seems ordinary to us and we lose track of what excites us and why we are doing what we do
for me the first time I took an active approach to this was when I graduated from college. most of the people around me expected and encouraged me to go onto grad school soon after graduation. if they did not say it upfront then I would face the implications of the infamous question of what are you going to do after graduation. it took a while but I came to terms with saying I am not sure and I don’t know. my friend Philippe had helped me become comfortable with responding in these scenario’s, check his experience in saying i am not sure http://philippelazaro.com/2014/10/06/whatever-comes-next/#comments . saying I am not sure allowed me to take a break to not pressure myself into a decision that I was not ready to make. I was able to conclude that I desired a break and I had the privilege and ability to do just that for the next 6 months or so.
“we were on a break” the famous quote from ross and Rachel in the Friends sitcom when they took a “break “in their relationship. this cultural idea of what a break is something that we use as an easy way out when we are not sure what we want and we see another option, but don’t fully want to give up what we already have. essentially they want to eat their cake and have it too. don’t get me wrong I am all for breaks, after all I am here trying to convince you that they are good and should be a part of our lives, but need to be implemented in a purposeful and intentional way. as ross and Rachel figured out breaks are difficult because you still have a desire to do something, but there is something else pulling you another way. essentially this is a litmus test to test the strength of your original motives or desires, so I guess you can call it a fast.
Jesus fasted. if that was only enough motivation for us to join with him in the practice we would be able to see the power that comes with letting go of daily simple desires to reorient our heart, mind, soul, and strength. I think if we looked at a break like a fast then we would be able to life with much greater purpose and love for those around us. I will admit I suck at fasting, but it is something I want to start practicing. I am coming out of a break from writing as I am writing this. it started back in august and after a month and a half or so I started to ask myself why am I not writing anymore and I figured out it was because I did not know why I was writing, so consequently I realized it became about the act of doing it. I realized I lost track of the why so I lost track of the purpose and excitement of doing it. when I tried to write it felt more like work and I was guilting myself into doing it after a while just so I can do the act. Writing this I am trying to get back the desire and excitement. I guess you can say I am now in a fast because I am trying to reorient my desires to a joyful and loving place so that my writing can be a way of connecting instead of venting or blabbering. this is where the difficulty of fasting comes in because it takes mindfulness, dedication, and grace. remember it is ok to take a break they are refreshing and they allow you to check why you are doing what you are doing. if you need to reorient your heart, mind, soul, and strength then remember the power that fasting has. It allows us to see more clearly.

the great disconnect: being honest about love and purpose

do you ever feel so close to something but yet still feel so far from something. I am not sure if there is a word to describe that feeling, but that is the way I have felt for the past 3 or so months. the only way that I can think to relate it is a lamp with a cord that is not plugged in. I guess you can call the feeling disconnected, but it is more substantial than just disconnecting the plug from the outlet, probably just because feelings are involved, but I’ll go ahead and call this the great disconnect. like the disconnected lamp there is not much light in life. it is like walking around at night during a power outage, you can not see what is coming up , but you got to keep walking because you believe the light will turn back on soon.
not much in life was making sense or seemed like it was going in my favor. it was frustrating. I did not want to be where I was , but there was no plan I could conceive to change my situation. I just had to sit and embrace where I was. that was difficult. it was like an eye of a storm. the pillage was over, but I knew I would have to go back and repair what was broken. I could not rush the dissipation of this storm and I felt I was in a holding cell in the eye of this storm, so all I could do is wait, embrace, and call for help.
the storm is dissipating. they say time heals everything, whoever they is I want to tell them that they are misleading because love is needed to heal. in fact henry Cloud and john Townsend say that grace aka love is needed alongside time for growth to happen. this is the great disconnect played out in a very simple way. we can not wait for the light to plug itself back in because that will never happen, but we need to seek love because that is what will make everything connect.
for me it was one of the hardest things to seek love because I did not believe I was lovable or worthy of love, so all I had was time and let me tell you that time did not feel very purposeful. I can look back over that period of time and see that it did have meaning, but that is only in Hine site because I know I would not be where I am now. I am still having a hard time being comfortable telling people that I am good because I have not seen anything that has changed in my life. just writing this I gained a helpful word; that nothing has needed to change because I have been loved the whole time. my feelings dictated by my experiences with other people have shaped how I view myself and that has become futile to how I view life. the experience that I most often live in is one that is built around love being conditional and change instead of intentionally unconditional steadfast love.
when I stopped writing a few months ago I did it not because I did not feel authentic or that I did not like it, but because I did not see the purpose in it anymore because I did not see the purpose in myself. Essentially I did not believe my voice mattered. I was not worthy to have my voice to be heard and I did not believe that I was loved. I did not have love and I did not have purpose, so I believed for that period of time, so I shut down and I quit . so often I believe this is true at many of the purposeful things that we throw the rag in on. There is a time to quit something and there is a time to persevere knowing the difference is important. Distinguishing perseverance from quitting is easiest done in the foundation of love and this is where the reconnection starts to take place. The great disconnect is still a battle for me, but I know the more I come to live in the reality of the unconditional love given to me the more I will be able to live out my purpose in its full entirety. I will be plugged in, connected and full of light to share with the rest of the world when this happens.