As I am typing this, I am sitting behind my desk in my pyjamas and pink, fluffy dressing gown while my husband has just left for work. In between typing I take little breaks in order to munch on my breakfast, porridge, exciting huh?
Why am I saying this? I want to show you that I am going to be very open and honest in this blog post (and hopefully always).
There is something that I have been struggling with the past couple of weeks. It happened very gradually. I started to have this unsatisfied and restless feeling. More and more I started to say to God: ‘What is my purpose God? I do not know what I am supposed to do’. While it started as a little bit of ‘wondering’, it ended as an outcry. I had this knot in my belly, fearing that I would become depressed if I did not know my purpose soon. If things would not change soon…
I told my husband about my feelings yesterday and after a little while he figured out what was causing my distressed feelings. At first when he said it, I did not believe him. I have had this before and I thought I was careful enough this time. But… without noticing it, I had once again fallen into the trap.
I had once again started to compare my life with the lives that I see on blogs, Youtube and Instagram.
I thought I was careful enough with whom I follow and I thought I was careful enough with how often I was ‘checking’ blogs, Youtube and Instagram. But yesterday it became clear to me what had caused me to think the way I thought the past weeks.
I am currently a housewife. I have been applying for jobs in order to help our little family financially, but I have been rejected multiple times. I have become a little overweight the past year, while I have never been overweight before. I have a web shop on Etsy which has been so much fun to set up, but I am not selling anything. Me and my husband are living in a rental, while we would love to buy something.
While I have a lot of amazing and positive things in my life, I started to compare the previously mentioned aspects of my life with the people on, mostly, Instagram. I started to think things such as: She looks so fit and thin even though she has had two children. Why can’t I look like that? Her web shop is up and booming, what am I doing wrong? Their fixer upper house is amazing, will we ever be able to buy ourselves a house like that? She has a lovely family to care for and a booming business at the same time and here I am, a housewife unable to find a job. Am I doing enough?
While I was comparing myself I had somehow managed to convince myself that the distressed feelings that I had were caused by ‘a lack of knowing my purpose’, but when my husband mentioned what he thought was going on, it all started to make sense. I had started to compare my life with the filtered lives of people online. I had started to judge the ‘success’ in my life in worldly terms rather than in godly terms. Once I realized that, the knot in my belly started to disentangle. I was starting to see my life in a more positive light again and to feel motivated again to accept our life as it is now.
I am aware that just the realization of this problem is not enough. Once again I will have to critically look at my ‘online-intake’ and maybe entirely stop with certain social media. Instagram-ers nowadays share a lot more about their ‘unfiltered’ life, but it is hard to remember that side of their lives when only one in twenty posts talks about it. It is hard to remember that when 80% of their posts show them or their house for example in a filtered/perfect state. I wish I was strong enough to follow people online without eventually comparing my life with theirs, but I am not and the effect it can have on one’s life is NOT OK.
When I think of the bible, there are a few verses that come to mind which can answer the questions that I started to ask myself during my ‘comparison-spiral’. The bible always ‘calms me down’ and reading it helps me to recognize and put to death worldly thoughts.
When we look at the Word, we know that our main aim in life should be: to honour God. Our thoughts, decisions, conversations and actions should be shaped by the desire to honour God.
So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do,
do it all for the glory of God.
(1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV)
Looking at this verse helps me to remember that it does not matter whether the circumstances we have been placed in seem unadventurous and insignificant in worldly terms. Some honour God by taking care of their family as a housewife, others honour God by doing works for the church and others honour God by working for a company. As long as we make the intentional decision each morning to try and honour God in the life we have been given, then we are doing the right thing.
There are two other verses that really help me to accept the ‘path’ that I have been given.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
(Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,”
declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My
ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV)
It will not always be clear what God is doing in our lives. We won’t always understand why the things we pray for are not being given to us. But these verses remind us that even though we do not understand what He is doing in our lives, we can trust that He wants the best for us and He will give us that which is best for us. Because He honours those who honour Him.
When we are insecure about our looks and when we have the tendency to compare our looks with those of others, we need to remember:
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewellery or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
(1 Peter 3:3-4 NIV)
We are fearfully and wonderfully made and we should always remember how God sees us rather than how the world sees us.
I am not saying that I always manage to remember those truths from the bible. This post very much proves that I tend to forget those truths. I intend to make myself remember them over and over again in order to win my battle with comparison.
I hope that, if things from this blog post are recognizable to you, you will feel encouraged and that you will know that you are not the only one experiencing it!
Always with much love,