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.)

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?

Hurricane-Irma-damage-pictures-Caribbean-photos-storm-Virgin-Islands-Bahamas-1059287
http://bit.ly/2wwg3ik

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.)