Like a movie, memories and expectations have been rolling through my head of what I thought being a full time missionary would be like. In many ways this is better than I thought, and in others it’s harder. I mean I have my own apartment, I have a working stovetop and a small oven. I have running water with decent pressure and I even have hot water. I have access to the city which is only 30 minutes away by tram and metro for just about anything else I may want.
I don’t haggle with the Boda drivers like in Uganda, I don’t hit the ceiling in the car driving on Indian roads and I don’t have to eat all the food on my plate like most other countries.
I have been reading through Katie Davis Majors newest book Daring to Hope (get it here!). If you don’t know who Katie is she has been a missionary in Uganda for ten years and has adopted little ones building herself a ministry and home where God called her to. I read her first book when it came out many years ago and I felt so inspired. I knew I wanted to go to Africa one day and it’s crazy because I did. Now I live in Ukraine not nearly as warm of a place as Uganda but still.
I am not joking every single chapter has made me cry. It’s just so raw, real and pure. She speaks of her struggles with opening her arms to more people in need with the high chance that they won’t live for long. She tells how she has been battling the prayer war with hope but also being aware the answer might be no, again.
RIght now I am not where she is. I have lived in Ukraine for barely a month. I still can’t speak much of the language and I feel like I’m more of a burden then a blessing.
It’s hard to look at other’s lives in different places on the map and at different places in their lives. I am 21 years old and I have been reminded constantly how young that is. I have been laughed at when I say “when I was younger” because I am still but a child here.
I had a clear image of what I wanted ministry to FEEL like. I wanted it to be hard but feel like progress. I wanted each step to feel like I was moving God’s Earthly kingdom closer to His heavenly kingdom. I wanted to feel affirmed here and even understood. I built an ideal. Then every time I read about someone else’s experience in overseas ministry I realized how different mine looks from theirs. My ideal has crumbled into disappointment with myself.
Comparison has been sneaking in and telling me I am doing it all wrong. After I regain my confidence standing, a few choice words or a change of plan throws me down again.
Comparison isn’t something only I deal with, I know. In the female world, especially in America, it’s a common topic of conversation. I didn’t really struggle with my image or compare myself to others because I liked who I was and where I was. I was confident in this.
Now that some of my confidence has been stripped by the struggles and hard truths, I am finding myself in greater need of a change of perspective.
This morning I opened my phone to Instagram to just try and wake myself up and as I was scrolling I read through a post by Hannah Brencher. (Check her out here, she is awesome)
“Comparison is the easier route. The harder posture to reach in your heart? The posture of celebration. Secure people are able to celebrate other people getting exactly what they hoped for. Secure people know there isn’t just one good wedding or one good love story, there are millions”
So now my task?
To Celebrate. Throw a party every time I learn something new. Make some cookies every time I say something in Russian correctly. Dance every time I can love on someone else wholeheartedly. Because my place right now shouldn’t be impacted negatively by someone else’s success. My place should solely be driven by my God’s love that overwhelms me, that I want to share with others.
So now I dive as I dive into the art of celebration I want to address how I battle comparison daily. The battle is still waging and I am still fighting but I want to share my Defense positions with you!
Let’s take a Defensive Position
If we are in a battle we might as well act like it. Now how do we defend our minds against comparison?
1. Social Break!
Take a few days. Breathe in, breathe out. Treat Yo Self. Take some me time and leave all those feelings behind on the interwebs. I promise your friends won’t even notice you didn’t like that photo. Delete the apps & take a step back. This is vital to the process.
2. Hit Your Heart First.
This is the most important defense you can take, your heart. From it flows everything. Your passions, your uniqueness, your love for others, God & yourself. All of this comes from your heart.
Healthy Heart = Healthy Life
You are comparing because of something you feel about yourself, so what is it? Your body, your hips, your instagram following, your relationship status, your lack of dream job… Identify the root. This may take some time but start by asking yourself these questions.
When was the last time I compared myself?
Who was I comparing myself to?
How do they make me feel about myself?
Why do I feel this way?
NOW take a step back and look at yourself from someone else’s perspective. Go ask your Mom to describe what she sees. Ask your friend to give her observations of you. You need to look at yourself from a distance.
Now Fight the Lies with Truths
When you gain the perspective you start to notice the truth as compared to what you were believing as the truth. What did your Mom or friend say? What truth did they speak over your life that hit your heart?
Now with that truth let’s find some Biblical truths. Google it my friend! I am not promoting taking Scripture out of context but there are a lot of truths in the Scripture that can breathe life into you, I promise. Just open google and look for “Scripture for _________ (ex. Body image, insecurities, beauty, God’s love, being enough…)
Okay now this is what I want you to do: read it out loud five times, go ahead! I’ll wait.
Did you do it? I really want you to do it.
Now write it on 5 Post its and put those EVERYWHERE. Examples // Car, Bathroom, Kitchen, Front Door & Night Stand.
Now make it your Iphone background. (Ideas // Google it (someone else might have already made a lock screen with that verse) or make one in Canva)
Now read the truths. Don’t just pass the post it briefly thinking of what it means but STOP & READ A LOUD every single time.
The truth will sink in and when you think negatively remind yourself of the truths.
3. Remember how you are Loved.
I find a lot of my problems disappear when I remember how much God loves me. When I walk to the cross and see Jesus’ blood and His crown of thorns then I remember “He is there for me. He endured that pain for me & He doesn’t regret it. He would even go through it ALL again because He LOVES me that much.” I am WORTH that much to Him so why am I worth so little to me? Why am I allowing my thoughts to control my view of myself?
4. Take it one Day at a Time
Something I’ve learned (and still hate) Is that this battle isn’t won in a day. It doesn’t just disappear in a short month. It’s an issue rooted deep in us established by our own belief of it as truth. It’s a belief built over time so it takes time to correct it. DON’T be discouraged my friends! New mercies everyday!
God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
Lamentations 3:22-23 (MSG)
5. Learn to Celebrate
The small, the big, the ugly, the beautiful it’s all a part of life. It’s all a part of the adventure & it all teaches you something. This is where we can get creative! Celebrations are the best and should be full scale no matter how small the victory! So our fight to the end of our discontentment is to be content in the small steps because those lead to GREAT places.
My favorite ways to celebrate //
Make chocolate chip cookies & Eat chocolate chip cookies
Have a Movie night
Buy a new book
Invite a friend for coffee & treat her
Buy a course online to learn something I am interested in
Go to the gym
Pay someone else to clean my house
Take a bath + BUBBLES
Go to Michaels to buy supplies for a craft
and on and on.
The art of celebrating is different for each person so tell me in the comments below what is YOUR favorite way to celebrate victories?
*** Okay this song is totally a love song but the chorus keeps replying in my head saying “Today I am living for the little victories” 👇🏼Check it out!
Check these out!