Thursday, June 16, 2022



Happy Thursday y'all.

It's a good Thursday here in North Georgia.  I work in a high school, and today my contract ends for the 2021-2022 school year.  Starting tomorrow, it's "summer break," which for us office girls means we get two weeks off.

Not eight weeks like the teachers, but still - a blessing.  Two weeks to do all the projects I have all year been saying, "That's going to be my summer project."  Now that summer is here, I'm not sure two weeks is enough time for all the projects I assigned to it.   :)

There is the garage that (seriously) needs the cobwebs swept and the dust "dusted."  It needs cabinets emptied and reorganized.  It needs charity piles and "for sale" piles.  (Whew.  Tired just thinking about doing all that in the heat.)

There is my rocking chair white front porch that "greens" up easily and needs scrubbing.  All those spindles, the floor, and the railings.  I always wait for summer to do this one because the pollen has ended, and since it's so hot here in Georgia, the cool water is a welcome relief.

There are the business taxes to be done for my various businesses.  The thought of going through my filed e-mails and spreadsheets seems mentally daunting at this moment in time.  But at least I am semi-organized and have them in a file and spreadsheet, right?

It's a lot for one 56-year old woman.  But they are jobs that need tending to, so I do them happily (God bless me, I was born into an Italian immigrant family that never cowered back from hard work).  I learned early on in life, watching my Grandparents (both sets) and my Parents that hard work and self-determination are good things.  Keep learning.  Keep growing.  Keep going until the job is done.

So reading this morning's devotional, reflecting on comparison and admiration, came as nothing new to me.

It is so easy to fall from admiration of those crossing our pathways into the trap of comparison with them.

Because I was raised, as I said above, in hard-working immigrant families, I also learned the "art" of comparison.  It plagued my immediate family.  My Dad was especially ensnared in this trap.  He strived to keep up with the Joneses.  He kept our little family in credit card debt buying new cars, new clothes, and new toys for all of us.  I remember my Mother sitting at her bedroom desk crying because she could not pay the bills in front of her.  I remember their arguing constantly as my Dad went out each night to "play" with those in a league he really didn't belong in and left us at home with our Mother (who, by the way, had no desire to live that lifestyle - she was happy at home with her garden, her children, and her pets).

Their two different outlooks on life eventually led to a divorce and a long road of ups and downs ahead for both of them.  I'm not sure my Dad ever learned to move from comparison into admiration, but I do believe my Mother was eventually able to move to some form of admiration in her later years of life.

For me, myself, I took on my Dad's outlooks in many ways - not the spending of money (I'm pretty frugal), but in the nasty habit of constant comparison with others and his work ethic.  I'd even go so far as to say it ruined my 19-year marriage.  Even though we had a beautiful home, two amazing boys, and all our needs met, I could always hear my Dad's whisper in my ear of how I should be more and have more and how all those crossing our paths - at church, at the kids' schools, and in the work place - always seemed to be a step above us.  Why weren't we like everyone else?  I'm sure I made my exhusband miserable, and if I could go back, I would tell my then 30-year old self - "Move out of comparison and into admiration!"  It's such a dangerous, dangerous trap to fall into!  

Comparison leaves us empty and void.  Admiration fills us and motivates us to great things.

Today's devotional Scripture verse is, "I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.” (Psalm 139:14)"

Keep that in mind as you compare yourself to others and remember that you are who God made you to be. He has made you ON purpose and FOR A purpose.

These days, I guess I have matured and aged out of comparison.  I've moved into admiration (thank you Jesus).  I recognize who I am, and I am ALWAYS asking in prayertime, "God, I am 56.  I don't think I've served any purpose for you.  What is my purpose?  Why am I here, and what do you want out of my life before you take me home?"

I look at my friends and the spiritual gifts they have been given.  I'm no longer jealous of them or trying to figure out how to make myself have the traits they have.  I just admire them (so very much), what they do, how they think, and how God has blessed their own specific pathway.

The Bible says we are all one body, and each of us have a part in it.  My part is not my friend's part.  My friend's part is not my part.  We each have beautiful gifts from the Lord.  Here are a few ways to protect "the way you are made" and to keep you from the pit of comparison:

"Don’t apologize for who you are.
Nurture it.
Value it out loud for everyone to hear and see: “This is how God made me. Isn't it lovely? I am so happy He made me this way."

Remember, we should all "lean in" to each other.  Love each other and ourselves and remember we are made in the image of God.  We are worthy.  I am worthy.  YOU are worthy.

Happy Thursday my friends!

"Dear Lord, I often feel as though I don’t measure up to the standard of who I “should” be. I forget that I am not made to be a clone of those around me, that I am created uniquely on purpose and for a purpose. Help me to love who You created me to be, to see every detail as valuable. In Jesus’ Name, Amen."

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