Why You Should Definitely Compare Yourself To Others

I wish I could meet every person who reads this blog. I’d love to sit with you and have a heart to heart – get to know you, share real struggles and joys, cry and laugh together.

But while I don’t have the privilege of fulfilling this desire, I can confidently say that without ever even having met you, I know something about you!

Beyond a shadow of a doubt:

I know that you have never had a bad day! Click To Tweet

“What!?” You may be thinking… “Just yesterday my car broke down, I dropped the milk jug and it spilled all over my clean kitchen floor, 3 of my children got sick, and to top it all off, I misplaced my calendar and have no idea what was on it for tomorrow, let alone for the next few weeks! How can you say I have never had a bad day?!

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Or you may be genuinely grieving the loss of a precious loved one, and feel as though nothing could be more painful and confusing than where you are right now. I understand. I’ve been there. Several times…

But I’m still sticking to my guns – you have never had a bad day!

You may indeed at times feel like your life sucks! You look across your white picket fence, and your neighbours seem to have it all together. You go to your congregation on Sunday and everyone is smiling, worshipping the Lord wholeheartedly. And you wonder why you’re the only one who is seemingly struggling in life.

Well, you’re doing one thing right and you’re doing one thing wrong…

The right thing you’re doing is comparing yourself to people.

The wrong thing you’re doing is comparing yourself with the wrong people!

You’re contrasting your circumstances to folks who have never had a bad day either…

I’d like you to consider comparing yourself to the following people, and if you can still say by the end of this post, that you are having a bad day, well, I’ll eat my hat! Agreed?

Compare Yourself With Paul

In 2 Corinthians 11, the Apostle Paul was trying to convince the Corinthians that the false apostles who had taken over in his absence were wolves in sheeps’ clothing. He felt forced into laying out the credentials of his sufferings for the Lord, to prove his genuine faith and motives.

How do your bad days measure up to his from 2 Corinthians 11:24-28?:

Five times Paul received 39 lashes

In Deuteronomy 25:1-3, forty lashes were set as the maximum number of whippings that could be legally administered. But since, all too often, the person died on the 40th lash, and to avoid going over the maximum number, the Rabbis made the legal number of lashes in Paul’s day to be 39. Which would pretty much lead the person to near death. Paul endured these beatings five times!

Three times Paul was beaten with rods

These were beatings by the Romans with flexible sticks that were tied together.

Once he was stoned

In Lystra (Acts 14:19-20)

Three times Paul was shipwrecked and spent a night and a day adrift at sea

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There were no “Mayday” callings to the nearest port in those days. No hope of ever being found in the middle of the ocean… At least one of the shipwrecks Paul was involved in was so severe that he spent an entire seemingly endless night and day floating on the wreckage, waiting to be rescued.

Paul faced danger from robbers and rivers

Two of the greatest dangers in the ancient world for travellers were rivers and robbers. Paul’s journey from Perga to Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:14), for example, required him to travel through the robber infested Taurus mountains and to cross two dangerous flood-prone rivers.

Paul also faced constant danger from the Jewish leaders, the Gentiles, in the city, in the wilderness, at sea, and from false brothers (those who appeared to be believers, but were not).

Paul adds in verses 28-29 that apart from the occasional physical suffering he endured, he struggled with the constant, daily burden of concern for the churches he had planted. This caused him intense emotional pain.

Wow… my claim to be having some hard times are looking pretty weak already. How about you?

Compare Yourself With the Martyrs

Biblical and other Christian saints of the past willingly experienced martyrdom and endured pain and suffering such as you and I have never known, in order to remain faithful to their God.

Hebrews 11:35-39 lays out graphic scenes for us:

Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.

These atrocities have occurred throughout history where we find precious people who gave their lives rather than recant their faith! Here are just a handful;

The Apostle Peter…

Was martyred in Rome around the years 64 to 67. Tradition holds that he was crucified upside down after refusing to be crucified in the same manner as Jesus because he was unworthy to be executed in the same way as the Lord.

Polycarp…

Was probably a disciple of the Apostle John and may have been one of the chief people responsible for compiling the New Testament of the Bible that we have today.

Because of his refusal to burn incense to the Roman Emperor Polycarp was sentenced to burn at the stake around AD 160. Tradition says that the flames did not kill him so he was stabbed to death.

William Tyndale…

Most known for his translation of the Bible into English, Tyndale was choked to death while tied to the stake and then his dead body was burned in 1536.

Jim Elliot…

why-you-should-definitely-compare-yourself-to-others-women-abiding

Along with four of his missionary colleagues, Elliot was killed on January 8, 1956 while trying to establish contact with the Auca Indians in Ecuador.

When Elliot and his friends landed on a river beach on that fateful January day they were slaughtered by the very people they came to reach out to. Their deaths were not in vain. Amazingly, their widows continued to try and make peaceful contact and eventually won the hearts of the tribe.

You may like to watch the inspiring movies made about this event Beyond the Gates of Splendor and End of the Spear on Youtube.

Mary Sameh George…

Traveled to Cairo, Egypt, to help a poor family with their basic needs. On March 28, 2014, this Christian service brought the ultimate sacrifice. “Once they saw that she was a Christian [because of the cross hanging on her rear-view mirror], they jumped on top of the car, to the point that the vehicle was no longer visible,” an eyewitness said, “The roof of the car collapsed. When they realized that she was starting to die, they pulled her out of the car and started pounding on her. They kept beating her, kicking her, stabbing her with any object or weapon they could find.”
Why You Should Definitely Compare Yourself To Others Click To Tweet
My friend, I write these things not to scare, depress, or disturb you. I bring them up from the pages of history to help you. You see, whatever you and I have gone through, or are going through, when we compare our circumstances and experiences with those who have suffered horribly and died extreme painful and cruel deaths, our perspective changes.

Sure it’s troubling when you discover that one of your children may have a learning difficulty, or you find yourself in a temporary financial crisis, or you struggle watching a loved one fade away. And, believe me, I’m not making light of these hardships and trials. They are real, and they are not easy, but they have all been graciously handpicked for you by your Father in Heaven to sanctify and grow your faith and your witness.

But, I for one, want to place them in the right proportion, and encourage you not to compare yourself with the happy-go-lucky people around you, which will only lead you to question why God has placed you in your current position.

I would like to challenge you to think about those who have gone before you, and for the sake of the Truth, for the love of the Gospel, and for the glory of God, underwent more brutal and torturous calamities than you and I will ever, ever, ever know.

Really, when we stop and think about their troubles, don’t ours seem, as the Bible puts it, “light and momentary afflictions?” (2 Corinthians 4:17)…

And that is why you should definitely compare yourself to others. Just make it the right ‘others.’

Have you ever had a bad day, in comparison to these?

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A Meaningful Activity To Do With Your Teen Daughter

There are few gifts as sweet as little girls. In her frilly frock with her first locks tied up in a pretty bow, boasting a toothless smile, a baby girl can cause even the hardest of hearts to melt…

And just like all the wonders that God created, our little girls grow, and mature, and develop. Unfortunately in our fallen world, there are issues that seem to grow with them and make a much more prominent appearance during their teen years; temptations, obsession with their outer appearance, the need to feel loved and accepted, and the need to sleep, to name but a few.

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In the midst of this concoction of emotion and struggle, as parents, we need to be strong faithful anchors, a voice of encouragement in despair, a source of unconditional love, and givers of much wisdom and guidance. It is during this time of their lives where all of our investment into our daughters pays off, and where we may see sweet fruit of years of hard labour.

Last night, my husband and I took our daughter, Aviel, out on a surprise outing. It was such a blessing to each of us, that I wanted to share the idea with you as a meaningful activity to do with your teen daughter. We had on our hearts to spoil her as a small token of our appreciation to her for all the many ways in which our soon-to-be 15 year old serves our family. But we also used the opportunity to focus on a quality that we pray she would thrive in: Purity.

The Meaningful Choice of A Purity Ring

During the first part of our evening we went shopping for a Purity Ring. This is any ring that our daughter, Aviel, could wear as a reminder to live a pure life before a holy God. What we didn’t anticipate was how significant it was that she got to choose her own ring. Firstly, it wasn’t the one I would have chosen for her, and she will be much more keen to wear a ring that she chose for herself. Secondly, after we bought it, she shared with me why she wanted this ring, in particular.

A-Meaningful-Activity-To-With-Your-Teen-Daughter

She said it reminds her that Jesus is the centre of and the beauty in her heart, and that just as the zirconia shines, He is what she wants people to see shining out of her. Wow! So precious….

The Meaningful Significance of Purity

We kept her ring in the box it came in, and moved to the second part of our plan. We went out for a dessert at a restaurant that we knew our daughter would love.

As we walked in and after she ooo’d and aaa’d, she spotted a piano in the corner of the restaurant and asked our waitress for permission to play it. Her playing filled the place with so much peace. It was beautiful. This was a blessing we could not have foreseen.

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We ordered our treats, and then read some notes we had made (mostly compiled from the internet) on purity. I, for one, learned so much, and Aviel was listening intently.

I am offering a free PDF of our notes which you may choose to use, in order to save you the hassle of doing the work yourself, but as a short summary we shared that:

  • Purity is a heart choice that affects all of life, not just abstinence. Purity needs to stem from a heart that desires to honor and obey God in every area of life.
  • Purity is not a one-time choice, it is also a daily decision.
  • Purity is ultimately her decision. We, as parents have given our daughter a piece of jewelry; but she has to choose to be pure.
  • Purity has to start in the small areas. The girl who wears the ring should work hard at keeping her mind and heart pure.
  • The way she will treat her purity is a direct display of her personal relationship with God and her respect of Him.

We also shared some relevant verses with Aviel which we encouraged her to memorize and hide in her heart for when she faces temptation of any kind (also in the PDF provided).

 

The Meaningful Gesture of Making it Official

We thought that our daughter could handle making her commitment a little more formal and intentional, so we had printed this Vow of Purity certificate on to some thicker paper, and presented it to her:

meaningful-activity-teen-daughter-womenabiding

As we handed her the purity ring, she read the certificate carefully, signed it, and handed it to each of us to sign as witnesses. I can’t begin to tell you how powerful this was. It was almost as though it sealed her desire to be pure, and set it in motion.

Of course, time will tell. Neither the certificate, nor the ring guarantees that she will remain pure in body, mind, and heart. But it is definitely a step in the right direction, and a document that she can look back on, to remind her of the commitment she made, and to keep heading on the narrow path.

The Meaningful Blessing of Special Treats

The last part of the evening was a special treat that we had planned as the cherry on top of our time with Aviel. She has always longed to go to a ballet and since there was a single showing by the Royal New Zealand Ballet of Giselle, we bought some tickets and surprised her. She was beaming! I’m talking radiant light shining out of her big, brown eyes! It was all she had ever imagined it would be…

You know, my friend, sometimes we can be so focused on training our girls, on disciplining our girls, and correcting our girls, that far too long of a period can pass without us treating our girls! Making memories with each one truly is a meaningful blessing, and will only bear good fruit in our relationships.

The Meaningful Response

On our way home, our daughter could not stop thanking us, acknowledging the sacrifice we made financially and time-wise in planning the evening and spoiling her. She also told us that she can’t imagine there being better parents than us on the whole earth, and that she feels so blessed and privileged to have us as her mother and father.

I don’t say this to boast in our parenting (because she obviously temporarily forgot the myriad of mistakes we make with her!), but I wanted to share this to emphasize that the fruit of this meaningful activity that expressed our love, seriousness about her faith and purity, and our desire to bless her, resulted in a reciprocal heart of grace and kindness.

A Warning

Please don’t misread these words and think that our evening was perfect, and that yours wouldn’t match up! Part way through the evening we received a text inviting Aviel to a teen camp that both my husband and I were against her attending. And as we discussed it, there were tears and I feared our evening would be ruined. But as God always does, He takes our feeble efforts and redeems them, turning them into eternal gold!

So, no matter where you are in your relationship with your teen girl, I encourage you to plan a special evening to share about purity, or something meaningful that can assist your daughter to grow in her faith, sprinkle it with some treats and affection, and ask God to graciously accomplish His holy purposes through it.

I’d love to hear how it went!!

What would your daughter enjoy doing that you can use as a springboard to spending a meaningful evening with her? What Godly quality would you emphasize that would set her up for living for the Lord to a greater degree?

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