Friday, February 17, 2012

The Journey

Life is not a competition.

If it were however, I could measure myself by my weight, pace per mile when running, number of kids that I have, choice of education for my children, our household income, the size of our home, and how many tropical vacations we've been on in the past 5 years.  I could judge my success by how well behaved my children are when we're out in public, by how "healthy" or "gourmet" I can cook, and by whether I have the latest style handbag hanging on my shoulder.

On a more serious note, if life were a competition, I'd pay close attention to how many times I've cried this month, how many times I've yelled at my kids and whether I'd volunteered enough of my time for selfless endeavors.  I'd wonder if I had put enough effort into my relationships with my children, my husband and with God.

The problem is, when you're in a competition (and I'm not... at least that's what I'm telling myself daily), you have to COMPARE yourself to other.. well, competitors.  Then all this nasty sort of self-talk wells up inside; things like: "She's definitely fatter than me, look at those chunky thighs..." or "That woman must have had a tummy-tuck.. there's no way she's had a couple of kids and been able to bounce back to that shape!" or "I would never homeschool my kids with that curriculum!" or "Man, their house is way newer and nicer than ours..."

Then, on an even deeper level, you might begin to compare your successes in your personal and emotional life; particularly your ability or inability to maintain sanity in the midst of work, kids, marriage, etc.

And when we compare ourselves among ourselves... we either deceive ourselves and can fall in to pride, or we simply fall short.
For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:12
Oh how true it is... The only measuring stick I ought to use is that of my conscience; as I stand before the Father God.  Yet even in that instance, I must be grounded in the truth and light and in the hope of His grace. 

A thought came to me the other day: Don't compare the journey if you're riding a different train...

(photo from:
The fact is, life is a journey, not a competition.  And we are all traveling on different paths, using different methods of transportation.  You might be in a sports car, an SUV, on an airplane or in a helicopter.  For now, I'm stuck in a fully occupied, 8-seater minivan with crumb filled car seats, candy wrappers on the floor, and a stroller in the back.  I have to slow down quite a bit for my passengers... pit-stops, potty breaks and sometimes to stretch our legs and get our wiggles out.  It would be ridiculous for me to compare myself to anyone else, especially when we likely have entirely different destinations.

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