Happy New Year! Reflections & A Challenge

“Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” -Jon Acuff

As 2013 draws to a close, and I become less and less active as I wait for baby girl to arrive, I have been spending a lot of time reflecting over this past year and meditating on what I want 2014 to look like. 2013 was a really strange year for me- my pregnancy absorbed 3/4 of it, with the preceding few months being wrapped up in grieving the loss of our first baby and taking care of unexpected medical issues. The year has truly flown by, especially as so many experiences were new and unanticipated!

The one thing that I regret about 2013 is my lack of grace with myself, and my tendency to allow the demon of comparison to have a stronghold in my life. I can’t begin to tell you how many nights I agonized over my family’s financial state and wondered how I would ever provide my daughter with the life I wanted to give her- all the while, my heart focused on superficial things, and distracted by the trappings of someone else’s life. I failed to trust that the Lord’s timing was perfect for my family, and that He would provide for our every need. Truly, He has- the past year has been punctuated by story after story of the Lord graciously pouring out blessings on us- some prayed for, others unexpected. It has been incredibly humbling.

And yet, when I look back on my walk with the Lord, I see this overarching negative theme- I have allowed myself to be constantly plagued by this demon of comparison. Sometimes it has been about how I look, other times it has been the lifestyle I can afford to live, still other times it has been relationships- friendships, family dynamics, even marriages. But each of these times I was selling short the very core of the Lord’s heart for me- who I am, what He has planned. My doubt and my impatience would get the best of me.

Friends, do you struggle with this demon of comparison, too? Do you need to bathe yourself in grace as we enter this new year? Do you feel the weight of the trappings of others on your shoulders? Do you struggle to turn your own blessings back into praise when you see what others have? I know that I need to remind myself everyday of the Image I was created in, and for Whom I am living. I am especially guilty of not trusting Him to provide for my family, and trying to take things into my own hands.

This year, I am resolving to have my life- and my thoughts- be defined by GRACE. For when I fail, for when I feel that I don’t measure up, for when I see others who have the ‘life I want’ or the ‘things I desire’- I will refuse to succumb to the darkness of jealousy, anxiety, and doubt. Instead, I will choose to trust in the Lord and His plans for my family and I. I will take delight in the creation that I am- flaws and all- and seek to become more like Him in my daily life. I will not compare the perfect plan that the Lord has for me to His perfect plan for someone else. I will deny the enemy every foothold as I seek to show grace to myself and to those around me.

If you’re struggling with similar thought patterns, and want to make real change going into the New Year, I encourage you to find a community of people (even one or two) that can hold you accountable, encourage you, and pray for you. This support system is imperative for seeing spiritual development, growth, and healing.

If you’re looking for a structured way to meet your goals for the New Year (whether they are concrete, like budgeting or weight loss, or more abstract like mine), I encourage you to consider signing up for Modern Alternative Mama’s 31 Days to Better Health and Wellness Challenge. The resources that Kate and her team have put together are an incredible value, both in information and support! I will be participating and blogging along with my involvement in the challenge as I begin motherhood and seek to be defined by grace. I’d love to have some of you join me!

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