Category Archives: #throwbackthursday

Throwback Thursday: Comparison is a B*tch

In honor of our neighborhood pool opening this weekend, I am reading (preaching) this post to myself over and over. And over. And. Over.

Originally published March 26, 2014.

We talk a lot about comparing ourselves with others. But what about when I compare myself to... myself? I used to look like… I used to be able to… This is a must-read-NOW for any woman in any season of life.

I reallyreallyreally tried to make myself title this, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Why? Because it’s true and I love that quote. (Thank you, Mr. Roosevelt.)

But unfortunately, that sounds way holier than how I feel about it today.

We talk a lot about comparing ourselves to others. But what about when I compare myself to MYSELF? I used to look like… I used to be able to… This is a must-read-NOW for any woman in any season of life.Yes, comparison IS the thief of joy. And because she steals my joy (and yours), she is also a bitch. And I’m fed up.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve managed to run several times and even endured some excruciating classes at the Y. This is great improvement over the weeks (months!) prior – and still, I feel dissatisfied.

After a brutal 4-miler Monday, I complained to my friend Amy, “I am so out of shape.” Her response: “Out of marathon shape? Or out of shape? Because those are two very different things.”

Hm. Good point. So good that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. The truth is, I’ve been beating myself up because “I’m in horrible shape” – in horrible shape compared to myself last August, when I ran a marathon. But, if I stop comparing myself to what I could do at the peak of marathon training, and look at myself in light of where I am right now, maybe I could stop feeling like a complete failure.

I could probably write for days about comparing myself with others. But what about comparing myself to… myself? Myself in another age or season of life? The most obvious may be comparing my 35-year-old body to my 17-year-old body. That’s so unfair. I used to look like… I used to be able to…

Maybe it’s comparing my current spiritual life to that one year in college when I went on two mission trips & spent 3 hours a day reading and journaling. Never mind that I didn’t have anyone to take care of except myself. I used to I used to I used to…

My pastor has often said, “We struggle with insecurity because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” This is so true – and I would venture to add that I struggle with defeat because I compare my current behind-the-scenes with my own highlight reel.

It’s defeating because, “I did XYZ then; what’s wrong with me now?” But that doesn’t take everything into account, does it? I selectively choose the highlights from past seasons of life, and rather than just recalling them as fond memories, I idolize them as a standard I may not be able or even supposed to grasp in this season.

If I keep succumbing to the “grass is greener” syndrome, I’m going to wish away my current season – the NOW ME – perpetually discontent, as my present reality never measures up to the highlights of my past. The THEN ME had problems of her own. She would punch me in the face if she knew I was holding her up as the standard for myself now.

I’m tired of being so mean to myself. I’m tired of not measuring up. If I choose to run, let it be because I love to run, not because I’m chasing something I had before. When I pursue fitness, spiritual disciplines, whatever – let it be because it’s good for me now, not because I’m striving for a past idealized version of myself.

What am I doing today? What is the best version of me TODAY?

What is it for you?

Throwback Thursday: Refuel (because I’m running out of gas in more ways than one) (You, too?)

Originally published March 3, 2014.

Running on empty? Feeling anxious and on the verge of a breakdown? Discover one practice you can implement TODAY to avoid breakdowns and reduce anxiety in your life.I hate stopping for gas. I will drive as far as possible on “E” before stopping at a gas station. (Sorry, Mom & Dad – I know, you taught me better.) I hate the anxiety of wondering if I’ll make it to my destination before I run out – but I hate stopping for gas even more than that. It’s such an inconvenience – who has time to stop for gas? The whole concept of STOPPING before I can GO just frustrates me.

Today, this habit finally caught up with me. I load the kids, their snacks, and my bags in the car to go get groceries for the week. Everyone is buckled in, ready to be on our way, and I turn the key.

Nothing.

The lights and radio work fine, so I know it’s not the battery. I call Matt to complain that the stupid car won’t start AGAIN, and what can possibly be wrong THIS time.

Then I notice the gas gauge. And THEN I remember swinging into the driveway yesterday, doing a small arm-pump for making it home without running out of gas… never considering I’d just left myself a completely empty tank.

Didn’t exactly set myself up for a win today, did I?

Obviously we didn’t get to run our errands. Even though stopping for gas would’ve momentarily slowed me down, running out of gas slowed me down immeasurably more. By refusing to PAUSE to refill the tank yesterday, I forced myself into a complete HALT.

I know there’s a lesson in this — and it extends further than filling up my car (although I could stand to just learn THAT lesson). How do we practice the “Refuel Principle” in the rest of life? I believe we can implement this one practice in 3 essential places even TODAY:

Physical: The other day, I really didn’t feel like exercising. (Correction – almost every day I really don’t feel like exercising.) What made the other day DIFFERENT was that I made myself exercise for 20 minutes ANYWAY. I popped in a workout DVD while the kids were occupied with something (okay, that something was the iPad) and I JUST DID IT. And it’s like it re-booted my brain. Just from 20 minutes of sweating. Carving out those TWENTY MINUTES resulted in greater effectiveness & enjoyment throughout the REST OF MY DAY. It was a re-fueling for my body.

Mental: My brain and my body need rest. And I don’t just mean a minute to prop my feet up. I mean ACTUAL SLEEP. I very rarely get good, adequate sleep, which makes no sense because I LOVE TO SLEEP. But with a night-owl husband it’s very tempting to stay up too late too often. (He is not to blame. My love of sitting on the couch and watching TV with him is the real culprit. We are very exciting people, I tell you.) I know good, consistent sleep would really make a difference in my day. So why is it so hard to make this choice consistently?? (I hear you baby-mommas — I know you have to be up at all hours of the night to tend to your little one. So, I hereby grant you permission to TAKE A GUILT-FREE NAP while your baby naps and your non-napping toddler watches Dora. Get some sleep, woman.)

Spiritual: I often think of “stopping for gas” in the context of my spiritual life — taking time to read the Bible, sitting in God’s presence, letting Jesus fill me anew. I absolutely need that fueling, that filling up, as well. It’s so counter-intuitive… stop so I can go. There’s so much to do — and even the noblest woman could say she doesn’t have time to read about Jesus because she’s too busy going out there to actually serve Him. She doesn’t have time to pause and pray about the hurt in the world because she’s too busy getting out there and DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT. I don’t hate that mindset. But the truth is, YOU CAN’T GIVE AWAY WHAT YOU DON’T HAVE. You want to give away love, hope, peace, joy? Then you better pause long enough to fill up at the Source.

As I write this, I’m already thinking, “This is so basic. Everyone knows you need to do that. You can’t just keep going going going, pouring out and pouring out and pouring out without being refilled yourself.”

But if it’s so basic, WHY DON’T I DO IT?

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s my deep-down denial of how this whole gas tank thing works. As long as the car is still running, I’m good, right? I’ll just stop for gas when I run out – or when the anxiety about running low finally drives me to fill up just in time.

The truth is, I falter when I fail to care for and respect how I was made. We are physical, emotional, and spiritual creations. If I’m living life on Empty – in any of those areas – I shouldn’t be surprised by the anxiety and the frequent breakdowns.

Jesus said:

“I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”

– John 10:10b

Life wasn’t meant to be lived on Empty. Let’s encourage one another – share how you “refuel” in the comments!

Throwback Thursday: Kitchen Stitchin’

For some reason, this is one of the most popular posts on my blog. Also, coincidentally, the first TV episode of Little House on the Prairie aired forty years ago today. (That will feel relevant later, I promise.) Without further ado…

(Originally published January 16, 2014.)

kitchenstitchinI didn’t see him fall. But I heard it. Then, silence. Then, the cries. You know, the “Oh crap. He’s really hurt” cries.

I ran to where he lay next to his bike on the garage floor.

“What is it, buddy!?”

He could only wail as he lifted his head. The blood poured from where his hand held his face.

Lordhavemercy.

My brain started barking orders:

GET A TOWEL! APPLY PRESSURE! MOVE, WOMAN, MOVE!

Molly joined in the crying at this point, upset by Owen’s pain, and probably sensing my thinly veiled panic.

Our good friend and neighbor, Jon, is a PA in the ER, and was thankfully at home. He met us at the fence to take a look. As I began to move the towel away, I told myself I had probably overreacted and it was just going to be a scrape.

Nope. Definitely deep. Definitely worse than I remembered. And I’m feeling a little woozy at the sight of it. Wait, who’s the one who needs medical attention? Not me. Right. Okay. Back to Owen.

Jon checked to see if the wound had gone all the way through his cheek (it hadn’t). Then he checked to see if he had the supplies at home to stitch up the wound himself (he did).

Watch out, it’s about to get Little House on the Prairie up in here.

We made our way to Jon and Amy’s kitchen, where Half-Pint Owen laid on the island countertop and proceeded to get six stitches in his face by the light of an oil lamp headlamp.

kitchen stitchin

Owen was so brave the entire time. I was so brave for about ten minutes. Then I had to step outside and get some air.

I did so great, really! I was being so soothing, holding his hands, giving him my bravest, most encouraging facial expressions… and then I started sweating and feeling a little lightheaded. Then my brain channeled Ma Ingalls: “Seriously, woman? Get a hold of yourself.”

Right. Dang it. Back to Owen. He was a trooper. Getting the numbing medicine was the worst part (just like Doc Baker Jon had warned him) but he hung in there and then the actual stitches were a piece of cake. Well, it sounded like they were. I’m not totally sure. I was sitting outside listening through the patio door, churning butter drinking a glass of water and trying to maintain consciousness.

I’m happy to report that everyone survived. Molly isn’t overly traumatized (we hope). I didn’t pass out (by a slim margin). And Owen has some pretty sweet stitches. I think Pa would be right proud.