The Comparison Game

I’m here, climbing these steps in the gym. Kind of wishing I hadn’t set myself up at such a high speed. I’m already tired. I’m trying to act like I’m not actually dying, huffing and puffing up these steps. 

I come here to feel good. To release stress. But I find myself even more stressed. I look to the person to my right. She’s going faster, she’s been here for 20 minutes, I’ve been here for four and I’m exhausted.

She’s got a bigger butt, leaner legs, probably a thigh gap too. Probably because she’s more determined. She’s better at this kind of thing. I’m not as good.

I go straight to the leg machines. If I have a nicer butt, toner legs people will notice. And sometimes they do. But then I wonder if that’s the attention I should be looking for.

Then it switches:

That girl, she’s wearing those leggings… but should she? Should I? That girl should probably do more squats. Oh, she gained some weight, or she lost a lot of weight. She used to work out all the time. Well, at least I’m ahead of her. But she, she works out every day. I need to stop being lazy.

When did other women become my enemy? Something to degrade to make me feel upgraded? An enemy I have created myself, in my mind. 

When did I become my worst enemy?

When did something in my mind go off and say that I can belittle myself? Or others for that matter.

How did I get to a place where I lose confidence because I lack self-love. 

I tell myself I do it to feel good. Exercise, eat healthily.  But as I roam around the gym I realize my mind may not be in the same place as my heart.

These two thoughts come to mind:

  • Real, authentic self-love is hard. Be humble they say. Don’t be prideful. She’s too confident. Don’t overdo it. Don’t be too much. Oh, and don’t be too little either. 
  • Yet, be confident, be proud of your accomplishments, show people what you’re made of.

How is anyone supposed to live with these expectations? Is there even middle ground here? How can I balance these feelings?

These are all words I typed on my phone as I moved around the gym to different machines and places that would make me feel different feelings and emotions. I had to ask myself why I think such detrimental thoughts and why I hadn’t noticed it before.

I feel ashamed for the way I look and feel about myself, but more so about how I look and feel about others. It’s all a subconscious thing until now. This conversation had gone on in my head for so long, I didn’t realize its effect.

So, what now? I don’t know. It’s a constant struggle to show myself and others respect inside of my mind. Because those thoughts count too. Thinking of them in the first place is what leads to saying them out loud.

So I have done the only thing I know how to do right now. I know I want to take steps to eliminate these negative, demeaning thoughts.

1.) Pray for positive thoughts

2.) Find an accountability partner

3.) Stop the negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones ASAP.

4.) Remind myself we are ALL human. We’re all made in the image of God and judging ourselves and each other isn’t even our job.

5.) We should be loving on ourselves and each other, not degrading. Whether it’s only in the space of our minds or not.

6.) Get over yourself. (What I have to say to myself because I’m not the only person in the room.)

Writing this, let alone publishing it, has been hard. I was so hesitant to hit the publish button because it could mean shattering some views other people have of me. But, if it means being honest and real so that more people- women specifically- can talk about this comfortably, then it’s worth it.

As you can see I’m not perfect. I don’t have this all figured out. But, I do want to make a change. I want girls and women to feel confident going into the gym or anywhere. I want them to feel good about themselves and others. So, I hope this is a step toward that.

And know that no matter the size on your tag, the size of your butt, whether you wear leggings or not, how much time you spend in the gym, or how many green things you eat, God loves you all the same. And He is the only one who can authentically, unconditionally, portray that kind of love. But, we can learn from Him and hope to love each other and ourselves like that.

Have you ever felt these feelings? Let me know your thoughts!

Until next time,

Aubree

(God, I pray for whoever reads this that You use these words for their good and for their needs specifically. And that anything I might have said that does not align with Your Words and beliefs that You change it so that it does.)

Las Vegas: “You’re in my prayers”… Are They?

 

Everyone is talking about the Las Vegas shooting and it brings up some hard questions.

It leads me to ask “where is God in the midst of all this pain?”

“What is he planning and why does he allow this to happen?”

“How can I even pray about something I feel I have no power over?”

I believe these questions are necessary, even encouraged. The disciples asked questions such as these and we are free to do the same.

However, asking the questions doesn’t make it any easier. This is still something hard to handle, deal with, and understand.

I, unfortunately, sometimes find myself avoiding the topic altogether. I become overwhelmed or I feel a lack of means or authority to say anything.

One thing I do how to do it pray. But not the typical “you’re in my prayers” or “I’ll pray about that” kind of prayer.

Events such as these, make me realize how little meaning those statements can carry. And I say that because I myself, neglect those words.

A devastating event like this (or hurricane Harvey or Maria)calls for more than just a quick prayer to ease your conscious or to check it off your list. This is something that affects so many people today and will continue to do so.

This is something a new generation will read in their textbooks. This is something that will be remembered annually. Something many will mourn for longer than a minute.

So it deserves more than a couple seconds of prayer.

Let this be a reminder of how we care for people and our broken world. Let it also be a reminder to take into consideration the meaning of “you’re in my prayers.”

While I am aware that there are people out there who are magnificent at this, I know there are people like myself who needed a new perspective and a little tug on the heart from God to recognize this.

So, with all that said, I hope you’ll join me in asking these hard questions. But also, in praying consistently, deeply, and with meaning as our country grieves.

Until next time,

Aubree

(God, I pray for whoever reads this that You use these words for their good and for their needs specifically. And that anything I might have said that does not align with Your Words and beliefs that You change it so that it does.)

Long Distance Can Be Good Distance

For anyone who has ever been in a long distance relationship, kudos to you. It’s a daunting thing honestly. A lot of people may not recommend it. Some will say it never works. But for me, I say everyone should go through it at least once.

What on earth would make me say that? If you had asked me that freshman year of college I would have laughed in your face. However, experience has given me a new perspective on it.

To fill you in, me and my boyfriend (A.K.A best friend) have been doing this long distance thing for almost three years now. He’s kind of my favorite person ever and deciding to be a state away from him for 9 months out of the year was incredibly hard. BUT. Here are a few reasons why it has been so so good for our relationship:

Long distance? How can that be “good”?

1.) You HAVE to meet people:

As an introvert, if I had gone to school with my boyfriend, I would have never met the amazing people I have. I was forced to put myself out there which -while it was painful at first- was one of the greatest things ever.

2.) You grow on your own:

I found that it was hard to watch him doing his own thing in Michigan, but it also has allowed both of us to grow apart… and not in a bad way. Individually, we have learned to rely on ourselves and God, away from each other. A little bit of space can’t hurt.

2.1) You grow together:

Yes, you grow on your own, but you also get to grow together. You have to learn how to continue to involve the other in your life despite the miles in between.

3.) You learn how to communicate… Wait what’s that?

Communication is so hard in general. However, you learn real quick how crucial it is to keep each other sane and honestly, together. At first, it’s so difficult. Texting can only go so far ladies and gents. You have to commit to Skype dates and phone calls, and scheduling time to actually be together. Oh and boys, you better learn girl code real quick.

Example:  “I’m fine”: NOT OKAY. RED FLAG. ( Learn to speak this unspeakable, inconsistent language and you’ll be set!)

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You really have to try. You have to put effort into asking how his or her day was, what his or her classes were like. Are they stressed? What triggers that and what can you do to help since you cannot be there in person.

4.) You learn where your identity comes from:

As a believer, I have found that my identity is not in our relationship or in each other. Yes, it’s a significant part of who I am but it’s not everything. This has been so hard to grasp. But, God definitely finds a way to show both of us who should really be at the center of everything.

Saying you put God first is one thing, doing it is entirely different. And it’s SO difficult. I can admit I’m NOT perfect at it. But, the encouraging part is that He is always willing to help. He’s always full of mercy and grace. He’s always there to nudge and help straighten out priorities to put Him at the top of the list.

This is probably the most challenging lesson to learn, sometimes the most frustrating too. It’s hard to balance the two and sometimes you- I- do a really poor job. But, it’s just like anything else in life; you have to get back up and try again. You have to count on each other to point the relationship and one another to The One who holds it all in His hands.

Many times I get discouraged and wonder what God really wants from me. I think I am doing everything wrong and I don’t deserve this relationship. But he says differently. He continually reminds me He is on my side. He’s on our side, working with us and in us to make this relationship even better.

While it’s a challenge, so much good can come from it. I think I can speak for my boyfriend when I say it has all been worth it. ( I guess I’ll find out real soon if he disagrees…)

 

Until next time,

Aubree

(God, I pray for whoever reads this that You use these words for their good and for their needs specifically. And that anything I might have said that does not align with Your Words and beliefs that You change it so that it does.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Harvey, Irma, Jose a mirror Of Us As Humans?

Is our sin the cause of these natural disasters?

That’s a BIG question, I know.

Recently, I worked on a reading assignment with the book “Where Was God?” by Erwin W. Lutzer. One thing he brings up is the idea that because we are sinners, we now live in a sinful, imperfect environment, hence, the disasters.

“…Paul then connects the curse of nature with man’s sin. He points out that man’s state of sin was his own doing, but God subjected nature to the curse even though it had no part in the decision: ‘For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice.’ Mankind, now tainted with sin, could not live in a perfect sinless environment. So Creation became an impersonal victim of Adam’s personal choice to rebel.”

So, do you think that when we see the devastation that Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katrina, and so many other natural disasters bring, are a reflection of what God sees in us? Or maybe what we should see in ourselves?

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The author also spoke about how nature is both evil and good. After a blistering snow storm in Michigan, the next morning, the sun reflects off the snow creating a glistening wonderland and everything is still and beautiful. Or after a tornado, everything is calm and unmoving. Or we could get really clichè and talk about how rain always comes before a rainbow.

Is this not like us as humans? I can tell you that I have had many days where I feel like those dark clouds: swarming, combining and planning a storm. then, the very next day or even hour – especially after I have some heart -to -heart with Jesus-  I feel like the sun is shining brighter and warmer just for me…

“But we are a mixture of good and evil, and all too often evil takes the upper hand. Nature is therefore a mirror in which we see ourselves.”

I have heard and read many times that nature has no feelings. It doesn’t care. It does not stop for someone we deem worthy of survival, it does not avoid the rich, most developed cities. It doesn’t feel for the poverty-stricken villages. It just plows through hitting and damaging anything that gets in its way.

What Does Nature Have to Do With Us?

So then, what if this is also our reaction or feelings toward our sins? That we are indifferent to them. We don’t care, we just keep moving on damaging ourselves and others around us without possibly knowing or even caring?

It felt like a jab to the heart when I thought about this. The idea that our sins have the potential to create a hurricane inside us and around us and we may not know or care. It’s not an easy topic to think about and maybe it feels like a stretch to some. But it made me think.

With all of these natural disasters hitting so close to home for some of us, it’s important to recognize that yes, we do live in a fallen world. One where nature can destroy just about anything at any moment. However, there is still good. God is still good. These things pass and we rise from it each time until we get the privilege to walk into eternity.

My heart and prayers go out to the people affected by any of the disasters around the world.

I’m interested in how you feel about this author’s opinion… I’m not entirely sure myself but would love to hear your thoughts!

 

Until next time,

Aubree

(God, I pray for whoever reads this that You use these words for their good and for their needs specifically. And that anything I might have said that does not align with Your Words and beliefs that You change it so that it does.)