Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Run YOUR race.

There is something that I think many of us suffer from...
                                                            the "disease" of comparing ourselves to others.

This can happen in ANY arena...

Your body.

Your intelligence.

Your beauty.

Your income.

Your reading list.

Your Facebook account.

Your vehicle.

Your education.

Your clothing.

Your speech.

Your children.

Your spouse.

Your checkbook.

Your parenting.

Your ability to hold it together.

Your decorating.

Your sewing.

Your cooking.

...and many more. (the list is endless, isn't it?)

Satan absolutely loves to get us going about, well, really anything! He cares not how he misguides our hearts, just THAT he gets our hearts off track.

Remember what Scripture says about him? "The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy..." John 10:10         He's out for blood, baby. Not just to irritate you.

(I learned this when he kicked me when I was down in the depths of grieving over another baby in the grave. He did not "give her a break, she's hurting," but rather came after me with a vehemence meant to destroy me once and for all.) I cannot help inserting a PRAISE GOD here for His faithfulness and the gift of Jesus who comes to give us ABUNDANCE in life (the rest of John 10:10!!)

I digress.

I used to struggle greatly with how my body compared to others. Now? It's all about how good of a mother I am. ...Or, actually APPEAR to be.

Since coming home from Africa with a former-orphan, I have been literally SWAMPED by my youngest three children's needs.

And honestly, there ain't a lot of hope that they are going to suddenly care about MY state of mind anytime soon. Toddlers, well, they are pretty much selfishness defined.

So the new area that Satan has tempted me with is watching other families via blogs and how they are "doing." I've listened to the lie that they are all doing better than I am.

I would be a fool to assume that anyone missed me blogging, so I'll just say it. I've written very few entries lately. I've had no ability to blog about my holiday decorations, cute ideas I had or new family traditions we installed this year. In fact, we didn't travel for the first time EVER over the holidays because the needs of our newest family member dictated such.

Not a single article of new clothing. Nobody matched in church on Christmas. In fact, we didn't even all go to church together over Christmas thanks to the family flu.

I thought about how this was his first Christmas and I should blog about it...but when the time came he was running a fever of over 102 and cried his way through Christmas morning. Blogworthy? Oh I don't think so.

My reality is: our house is messy and laundry is a continuous and never-done chore. I can't talk on the phone because I get mobbed by loud children who much of the time are fussing at each other. I tidy a room and the Littles untidy it again. Didn't I just vacuum that? Yes, yes I did, but someone has spilled the pretzel crumbs all over it. Someone comes to me crying. Someone else needs help with homework. Another child comes to me asking for love. (And yes, this is literally the verbiage used this morning by Darrah Kate, "Mommy, I t'ink I need sum wuv.") So I stop, kiss, solve problems, advise, listen and love. All the while the messes continue to whirl at breakneck speed. Not many craft projects are taking place.

I've had to stop following particular blogs that paint life with a well-groomed brush. I find myself looking at them and scouring them for faults. "Is their house REALLY that clutter free?!" "How does she think of all these ideas?" "How have they gotten their newly adopted children to attach so quickly?" "How can they afford that?" "They went where to serve whom?" "Matching outfits? Really?!" And I come back to my own life feeling like I don't measure up.

I've come to the realization that my dear Savior was pierced for this transgression. He was killed because of this sin of comparison. This is NOT how He wants me to live! I am not to live under a cloud of heaviness because I simply cannot keep up with [insert name of bloggy super mom here]! No! He wants my eyes where? Where again?

On Him.

Check it out. I think He's talking to ME!

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith." Hebrews 12:1-2

Two things: "And let us run with endurance the race God has set before US." I don't have to run your race. Or her race. I need only to run mine.

Ah. That's nice. And quite freeing too.

The second thing comes in verse 4. Get a load of this:
"After all, you have not yet given your lives in yours struggle against sin."

Gulp. Did you read that just now???

I haven't YET given my life in the struggle against sin. Wow. I'm not fully sure of what that verse means, but I can be sure that it means that I'm not done battling against the powerful force of sin. And that I haven't yet gone the distance in my effort to be free from it.

I have noticed that I can carry my carefully balanced load in an acceptable manner...until the unexpected comes along and demands my attention elsewhere. Like a house of cards it all crumbles and I am filled with intensity, stress and [gulp] yell at my children because of the stress I am under. I have learned that no matter what other people may be able to add to their plates, I cannot compare and must simply say no. I need to take on less so I am available for my children more. This is my race.

The process of saying no has been good for me. (You might try it!) I am forced to examine my worth in the eyes of Jesus again. It's not how MUCH I do, for how many people or how much money I raise for worthy causes. It's about doing what He asks me to do.

For now, that's simply to focus on the adjustment and attachment of our dear child from Uganda. Helping my other young children adjust to our new family and address the needs of each person with great care. It doesn't matter if other people agree or even understand. I just need to obey.

Sew matching outfits? Bake cutesy treats for the class at school? Volunteer at the nearby nursing home? Lead a Bible study? Assist with my child's team? Great ideas. But right now, I've just gotta run MY race.

And for now, those just aren't in my path.


  1. Thank you for the encouraging reminder! Thanks for the honesty and tranparency. MY race is the ONLY race I can run. Thanks and God bless!

  2. Beautifully said Amy, thank you for this post.

  3. Thanks for your post! This topic is one I traveled down before as well. I struggled with thinking that just because we were waiting for the adoption to happen, my sitting around meant I wasn't doing anything for God. I know that to not be the case. I am a mom training her kids for Christ! Oh and I haven't blogged about Christmas, there's laundry to go away, and Most days, the kids stay in p.j's. I'm being who God created me to be and I feel you are too and doing a great job at it!

  4. This post is perfect timing..... I have been comparing myself constantly lately to the picture perfect blogs etc and just not feeling that I measure up.

    We had a wonderful holiday season together but we were all on each other's nerves many times and I almost laughed when every blog I looked at showed such perfect family times. I thought my goodness are we the only ones driving each other nuts.

    You said it so great.... I've just gotta run MY race!!! Love it!!!!!

  5. YES. Amen. You are welcome at our chaos any.time.you.want. I am so far from a perfect mom or a perfect household that it hurts to think about it. I too grow weary of the shiny blogs. I get it. Thanks for being real (again).

  6. Love it! All the social media stuff has made it easy (too easy) to put up and maintain a facade. I just read an article about how social media is actually making us more lonely - because of the very things you wrote about. I laughed at your Christmas day - we celebrated between bouts of the stomach flu...great first Christmas memories here too - ha!

  7. Blessed by you. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I hope that my blog does not come across that way as being a perfect life! It certainly is far from perfect (although I do capture just the joys most of the time) and I have such a long way to go in so many areas. I totally understand the danger to compare ourselves. In fact it was just a couple of weeks ago when I began to feel that following certain blogs may not be the best thing for me. I really think that while some may be an encouragement and helpful, it can also stir up discontent within us. I often feel like I am not doing enough and I wonder how other's manage to do all that they do. But I am failing to realise that I am basing this assessment on a standard I have made from comparing to others rather than what God has called me to do. Thank you for being so honest!!

    We leave for Uganda 1 week from today!! I am also praying about not blogging for awhile when we return so that we protect our adoption. I will just email friends who would like to follow along so that it is more private.

    Blessings to you!!

  9. I am sooooo thankful for your honesty! We are praying about starting the adoption process (from Uganda!) soon, and I know it won't be easy. Love your transparency, it just helps us all know how to pray. Keep it up!

  10. Ahhhhh, breath of fresh air! Just today I emailed our adoptions counselor/friend and told her how overwhelmed I was that my potty trained 3 year old has decided to have 100000000's of accidents because she is "too busy" to potty. In the midst of our already crazy life and now multiplied laundry, i find myself discouraged. How could I bring another child into this home when I clearly am failing the kids I already have?
    I need to stay focused on my race - what He has called me to do.
    It's so easy for me to compare my insides with other peoples outsides.
    I had to stop reading Homeschool blogs because I was sinking in to such despair!!! All 12 of you kids read at 3? you made all your meals from you organic garden? You made what out of egg cartons? a working satellite to orbit the moon for your science project? super.
    Thank you for your honesty. Its good to know I am not alone.
    Keep running your race!

  11. Oh dear Amy, I am SO there with you! Crafts don't happen around here, unless you count a paper countdown chain for Christmas???? I don't think that makes the cut for most craftsy folk! Laundry, ummm yeah, we've got laundry. Talk on the telephone?!? You know the last time we talked and how long it took to make that happen! God is overwhelmingly good and we (both you and I) are extremely blessed, but yes, lots of things just aren't post-worthy or picture perfect...or perhaps they really are... Gotta run the race He has for each of us. Love ya!


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