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daily blessings

 

Last week I went to Las Vegas to visit some old friends.  Since the year that we have been apart, there were many changes in all of our lives.  New marriages, new children, new blessings and new challenges.

The best part about getting back together is that we all still care about one another and stand by each other, through all of our joyful times and difficulties.

I listened to a pod cast last night, from Jonathan Doyle about “the risks of comparison.”  I truly loved a conclusion that he drew about our attitudes when we compare ourselves to others, and beat ourselves up about our perceived shortcomings.  The truth is that each of us is unique, and just the way we are meant to be as be were created by God.  When we beat ourselves up by comparing and wishing we were more like someone else, it’s like telling God that He didn’t get it right.  Of course there are things we can do to improve ourselves, and we should always be striving to be just a little better, but that improvement can only come from a genuine respect for the gifts God has given to each of us.

The other danger of comparing is the danger of judging another.  Each of us are different and have different gifts and different struggles.  When I judge another person because they have a weakness that I have overcome, I’m not being very Christlike, and I’m not leaving any room for weaknesses that I am still working on.  I think when people judge another person harshly, they are really feeling their own inadequacies and are trying to make themselves feel better in pointing out that someone else is not perfect either.

One of my friends asked me if I thought that she was a bad mother for letting her child stay up late.  This could have been a problem of comparisons.  You see my kids have a 9 pm bedtime, even in the summer, even on the weekend.  If you asked me (or if they ask me) I’d say it is because I believe that it is better for a person to have the same bedtime every night, for their growth and development and it will be easier to get up early when school starts.  But there is a much bigger (and more personal) reason why I send them to bed at 9 pm every night.  I need that time alone to unwind before I go to sleep.  I’m not a night person, and I’m an introvert, so quiet time all by myself in the evening before I go to bed is like heaven.  It’s my reward for any hard work I did that day.  Does that mean that I think all parents should do what I do?  Absolutely NOT.  Seeing this mom spend time with her little girl late at night, while the baby was sleeping was priceless.  It works for her. It was beautiful to see her embrace who she is and do what feels is right for her.  If I chose to compare myself to her, I could either feel bad because I don’t have the energy to spend time with my kids late at night, so there must be something wrong with me. Or I could judge her, thinking that my way of doing things is the “right” way, and she isn’t taking good care of her child.  Neither of these ways of thinking is true, as most comparisons and judgments of people and ourselves are laced with false concepts.

In my life, I’ve had to remind myself to get over comparing and judging.  No one on this earth is perfect.  As for me and my family, what is important is that we keep trying. As for other people, my job is to be loving and understanding, and possibly help them out when they have a need.

When I read this scripture this morning.

Live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which (God) doth bestow upon you”  Alma 34.38

I was reminded of how important it is to recognize the blessings and gifts that we are each given.  I can and should be truly grateful for mercies that are freely given by God, each time I make a mistake.

If I look at someone and see how wonderful they are, I can choose to admire them, and be grateful for their presence in my life, instead of comparing myself to them, and looking for all the ways that I don’t measure up. I’m not supposed to measure up to other people. I’m supposed to make the most out of the life that I have been given.

I’m still working on these concepts, and I hope I’m getting better at living a grateful life. I’m learning to stop and ask myself “What does God want for my life, and what do I want for my life?” as I try to ignore the impulse to try to be like other people.  Today I’m choosing to be the person that God intends for me to be.

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