Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Comparing, I'm pretty great at that.

Comparing. I'm pretty great at that. Comparison is something I wish I could eliminate from my life all together, but for some reason it just holds on to me. At the different stages in my life it has been a different type of comparison. In high school I compared my skill level in cheerleading to the skill level of others. I compared the number of friends I had to others. The list goes on and on, I was more insecure than I like to admit. In college it has been a wider array of comparisons. I'm my own hardest critic and I know that, and I'll probably never fully understand why.

Recently, Alex and I decided to go on a little Instagram fast. Strangely enough, it was a lot easier than I thought. It enabled me to be less distracted, be more interactive with people I'm with, and eliminated a lot of the comparison I was doing. It's obvious that we use social media to post the highlights in our lives, we want to appear perfect, like we have it together, and like we have the Lord's favor everywhere in our lives. I'm not pointing fingers, I've definitely done that. Why do we want to appear so wonderful through social media? I will admit, some of the toughest seasons of my life look like a field of wildflowers through social media. I spoke on this about our engagement before. So trust me, I fall guilty of this too.

Proposals and engagements have literally exploded at Clemson over the past two months. It is insane how many people have popped the question, it's even crazier to think how many are just in the month of October! I love engagements, I am so pumped for those who are on the path to marry the person that God created for them, it's such a special blessing. But man, Satan has used these proposals/ engaged relationships to keep me enthralled with comparing myself, and I bet there are many others who can say the same. We all want that perfect proposal with the perfect pictures, the most beautiful ring we've ever seen, the flawless relationship that follows all throughout your engagement, and then the perfect wedding. Who doesn't want that? In reality though, it is all what you make of it. If you're comparing your relationship to their relationship, her ring to your ring, their wedding venue to your wedding venue, you are going to be blinded by the comparisons and never enjoy your own special season of engagement.

For whatever reason I always feel so lead to be extremely transparent about issues in my life and in my relationship (and now marriage) with Braden. We want to serve others in that way, we want to be vulnerable, open, and available to those who are on the road to marriage. It wasn't easy for us, it's a new battle every day, but they are so worth it on that day you get to marry your best friend and say yes to forever. If I have any advice to the newly engaged ladies around me, it is to focus on your marriage and not the wedding. I missed out on this for almost half of our engagement, I was so focused on making the wedding perfect and making it a social event rather than focusing on our marriage. There's a great article on this here. After the ceremony is over, the music stops, and you're back from your honeymoon - it's all over. You have a video and some pictures to show it, and memories to go along with it. After that, you're starting a brand new season of life, one that is so different from anything we've ever experienced.

It's not worth the comparisons. Your relationship is so different than anyone elses. You are blessed in different ways, it's just a matter of acknowledging those blessings. My hope is that by being so honest, we can help others through their season of engagement/ the beginnings of marriage. We definitely don't know it all, I'll admit to that. But we can share from our own experiences.

This started as a post about how I struggle with comparisons, but sometimes the Lord leads me in a different direction. Who knows if anyone even needs to hear this, but it's what He wanted me to say today.

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.u And the God of peace will be with you."  {Philippians 4:8-9}