I have this empty frame that hangs in my kitchen. It has no back or glass pane, just a shell with a wire that stretches from one side to the other. A tiny clothes pin clings to the wire in the middle. Here I hang a variety of cards penned by a sweet woman with incredible penmanship. Some of the cards hold several of my favorite scriptures. Some have quotes. And I’ve found that the card that hangs on that clothes pin the most bears the well known words of Theodore Roosevelt,
“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Sometimes I need reminding that I’m not her. That I don’t have to be who she is or have what she has. I don’t have to do that thing she does well, because I do my own thing well.
…yet I forget.
You see, once I left the workforce I found that the closing door in my life stirred up the comparison in my heart something fierce. “But what if others go on to be successful and I lose my identity at home?” – that was a common theme inside my worrisome head.
I laugh about it now. Chuckle, even, over the thought of losing something that God has been displaying to me in full force for months and months now. Peeling back the layers and showing me who I truly am and exactly what He’s made me to be. This, ladies, is a blessing I could not fathom at the time.
And you know what? It makes me happy!
In the months leading up to that decision I was filled with incredible unhappiness. I didn’t think I could embrace a change so far displaced from the life I’d been living for 16 years prior. But happiness has flooded over me time and again as I learn who I am. Learn what makes me tick.
Believe me when I say that there are still days when I forget. I stop and compare my life to the next woman and feel unsure all over again.
But I dig out that quote and replace whatever card is held within that frame with the reminder to be who I am. To embrace the woman He’s called me to be. Career or not. Paycheck or not. Short hair or long, thin or full figured, emotional or unmoved…I can now find happiness in the intricately designed ME!
Jennifer Dukes Lee says it best in her soon-to-be released book, The Happiness Dare, “You don’t find happiness by being the best version of someone else. You find happiness by being the best version of you.”
The best version of me: Jennifer 1.0…
I’m an original. There is no one like me. What a simple, yet profound realization that makes me want to dance across the tile in my fuzzy socks. (And those make me happy, too!)
So what about you? What’s one thing that makes you happy about who you are? I’d love for you to share with me in the comments.
Even at the age of 53, this speaks… I was a Pastors wife for over 20 years and now we are full-time missionaries and evangelists! It’s so easy to compare my ministry of teaching and speaking with someone else’s and come up short. I have to remember who I am in Him!!
Beth, I know well enough now that this is something that will be a struggle for me my entire life if I let it. Always reminding myself through scripture and writing and confessing away my thoughts to make sure the enemy doesn’t get a stronghold. Thank you for reading!
I still struggle Every. Single. Day. with feeling that my work has any importance at all. When God calls you to do something so completely outside your personality, and then you realize you may never do that work as well as you would like, it can be hard to not lose joy. But just like I tell my children most mornings, God’s mercies are fresh every morning….which is something I often cling to like a life rope!
You’re an inspiration for so many, Jackie – whether you think so or not. *hugs*
Oh how I recognize what you share here. For me, Jennifer Dukes Lee’s book Love Idol opened my eyes to what I was doing: worshipping the love and approval of others by trying to be like them…I wanted to “fit in” and not stick out like a sore thumb!! But I’m learning, like you, that not one of us is truly the same. That each one of us is created as unique individuals…and this is opening my heart in a huge way…Like you, I still fall into my old traps…but I have a patient Savior that turns me back to the truth of His Word each and every time!
Thank you for encouraging us to be real. BTW Love that quote: I’ve shared it and your post (don’t think we’re the only ones who struggle/d with this!).
Anna, I am with you 100% and Jennifer’s book opened my eyes to the exact same thing. And I’ll even confess how easy it is to let myself fall down in that pit again if I’m not keeping my eyes upward. Thank you for visiting and for reading!
I love this… and you… and the happiness you are finding as you stand up in your own skin! What makes me happy? Coffee. I think coffee is the correct answer (–and then once I’ve had some this morning, I will think of a lot more, too!)
Love you, friend! <3
That quote hit me smack in the heart. I want to be exactly who God created me to be too…to be the best version of myself. Oh and fuzzy socks make me happy too! Love you sweet friend. I’ve missed coming over here to your place. I’ll be back!
Thank you, friend! It’s been a difficult summer to keep up with life so the blog’s been a bit quiet. But school starts soon…and hopefully so does my 9 month routine. 😉