Are you comparing or celebrating?

Sometimes, like everyone else, I fall into the joy-distracting trap of comparison. I look at people who seem so “accomplished”, energetic, positively popping with health (or at least enough effort to appear so!) and I think, wow, how do they do all that?

A couple of minutes later, I need to catch myself, reel those depressing thoughts that never go anywhere good in, and remind myself that my circumstances and energy levels do not define me or my life, nor do they determine future possibilities.

Choosing how I see it

Having weaker health than other people doesn’t mean I am a weaker person. Accepting my body as it is means that I can celebrate it, love it, have fun with it, respect it and enjoy it. After all, if I didn’t have it at all, writing this would be pointless, right?  I don’t see what others see when they look at me, and wondering about that is like wondering about life on another planet so I don’t go there either. I just see what I have and I will say that what I have is more than okay. It’s beautiful even if I am small.

I’ve come to realize (rather painfully slowly) that when my prayers and attempts at being as well as everyone else don’t bring the relief or results I’d hoped for, it doesn’t mean I’ve run out of prayers either. It doesn’t mean I’ve failed, or that I’m inferior. It doesn’t change the fact that I am loved by God or family and friends (whether they understand or not). It means that I can pray for courage and grace instead, and gain inner strength (emotionally, mentally and spiritually) in the meantime. Such a prayer makes use of the journey and gives it meaning while I live out my life.

Virtues don’t come cheap

The thing is, patience and grace don’t come wrapped in a box. You don’t get it for Christmas. It’s not part of your paycheck. Those things come when you have to wait without knowing when you will get your answer, your solution, your relief, your healing or whatever it is. I am not one of those people who are gifted with the patience of a saint in temperament. Nope. I am not good at smiling about it when I’m really disappointed or frustrated. There’s a difference between faking a smile all the time, and bearing really tough things with a positive spirit. Either way, both require some work for me.

I’ve seen people who are joyful when they have no answers. What a testimony of faith. If you could see what you wanted and know when you’re getting it, you wouldn’t need faith!

People who can be themselves and celebrate their individuality with a fearless sense of adventure, regardless of the challenges they face, are a testimony..

People who take care of others, who do what they can to share hope, love, joy and fun even when their own lives are a very lonely journey are a testimony.

People who are not afraid to share their challenges with others without pretense, are a testimony. They give others permission to be vulnerable, too.

People who can thank God and trust Him without complaint when they’ve just buried a child, or when pain never ceases and there is no relief in sight, are an example of an unshakable, intimate knowledge of God.

Focusing on something other than (lack of) health

There is no way to become such a person, such a sign of supernatural grace and life, without endurance. There is no way to gain such deep wells of hope without digging way past the surface. I am not saying everyone should become some sort of martyr, because that is not a real testimony of character, but rather manipulation. I am saying that people such as I’ve described above, although still very much human, have a glorious, authentic substance about them that far outshines whatever struggle they have.

It becomes much less about [fixing their] their suffering, and much more about celebrating life in every worthy way possible, regardless of circumstances. I think this is something that more people ought to consider… 

What do you think?

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3 thoughts on “Are you comparing or celebrating?

  1. Great reflection and a good question. I think what celebrating looks like in times that I’ve been really just enduring, may be simply being quietly, solemnly glad that I’m not totally overwhelmed, nor sliding backwards. The celebration would be as small as noticing that today I’m doing okay and today I’m able to do more than just the bare minimum.

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