Comparison

Recently I was experiencing a lack of joy in a relationship. It occurred to me that I had let unhealthy thoughts creep in to my mind once again. Comparison being the number one unhealthy thought. Just when I think I have the whole comparing thing nailed on the head, it comes back around again.

I was comparing myself to someone else. The way I looked, my home, my family, my gifts, my abilities. I was putting myself down, having a little pitty party as to why I did not have the things or gifts and abilities that they did. Comparison is the thief of joy.

I was focusing on what I did not have instead of what I do have. In that moment of me comparing myself to someone else I had believed that God had cheated me. That somehow God had missed giving me something special when He created me and instead He gave it to somebody else. Now I would never say that about God but when I compare myself to others that is what I am doing.

I find that comparison comes from insecurity in my own life. As soon as I start comparing myself to someone else I have to stop and realise that love needs to happen right there. To let God come into that part of me where I am really struggling or feeling inadequate and love me there. That I have to recognise that insecurity and invite God in to it and ask Him why I am struggling so much with it and how can I fix it.

Comparison is a waste of my time. The Lord really encouraged me to stop looking at other people and just focus on myself. There may always be someone in the world who is better than me at things I try and do… but I am the only me there is and God does not make mistakes and He did not forget to give me anything that I need. My identity and my value are that I am a daughter of God, pure and simple. That is what defines me; not what I think of myself or what the world may see me as but what God thinks.

So I am trying my hardest to stop comparing myself to others. I am opening my heart up to the Lord and letting His love come in and heal the hurting places inside of me and everyday I am reminding myself that I am a daughter of God and I am valuable in His eyes. I encourage you to do the same.

Advertisements

Unpacking Eden : part two

forest

The Garden of Eden was the first home God created for man and woman, for His son and daughter. I believe it was much like a heaven on earth type of thing. It was a perfect place where there was love, peace and abundance.

Everything that Adam and Eve needed was in the garden. It was their home, full of food, both plants and animals. The garden was a safe and secure place to live like every good and wonderful home should be and most importantly of all, the Father was there. The most important reason it was home is because there was an intimate connection between the Father and His children.

In Genesis three verse eight it describes how God was walking in the garden in the cool of the day. God was present in the garden and His children knew the sound of His footsteps. I imagine that the sound of His footsteps would have been a welcoming sound, much like when my little girl hears her daddy’s footsteps coming up the path outside the front door at the end of the day. Those footsteps signal that daddy is home and now all is right in her little world. She runs to the door exclaiming “daddy is home!” and she gives him a kiss and a cuddle.

This is what makes our home complete, the presence of the Father and this is what made the garden of Eden a home too. Without the Fathers love the garden of Eden would have been an ordinary place. The Fathers love made it a home.

Everything we need can be found in our Father God. Because of the fall we no longer live in Eden but Jesus came so that we can go to the Father through Him and get back to that life that God intended for us to live, forever in the garden of Eden. To get back to living a life of abundance, full of love, walking with the Lord and having His constant presence.

The garden of Eden was our ultimate home. It was not a story, it was a reality written down and recorded so that every generation would know what life was meant to be for us. Life was meant to be living with the presence of the Lord and his provision and we need to get back to life in the garden, metaphorically speaking, once again.

God please help us put aside everything that distracts us and to help us focus our heart, soul and mind on the things that matter the most, your presence and our intimate relationship with you. We long to live in the comfort of knowing that we are your children, knowing your full love and your full abundance over our lives. Amen.

Unpacking Eden : part one

Unpacking the Garden of eden

What you believe about your origin, where you came from, makes a difference in the way you value yourself and others around you. The book of Genesis tells us about our origin. It perfectly describes to us where we came from and the life that God ultimately wanted us to lead.

God created Adam. He formed him from the dust of the ground but the most unique thing about Adam was that the Lord breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (Genesis 2:7). Nothing else in creation was brought to life in this way, because man was different, he was valued and desired above anything else that God created.

Adam walked with God in the Garden of Eden as a son. They spent time together walking and talking and being in a beautiful close relationship with one another. God saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone (Genesis 2:18) so He created him a suitable helper, Eve. We get to see how Father God was concerned for His beloved son Adam and that God wanted him to be happy.

Then God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. To increase in number and fill the whole earth (Genesis 1:28). Here we see that from the very beginning God wanted sons and daughters, He wanted a family, children that He could love and adore. We are not here on this earth as an accident. God desired us. He also values us greatly because He didn’t just create us, He created us in His image.

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

So think about what God is and then that is how He created us. We are His children, made in His image.

If we do not believe that this is how we were created at the very dawn of time then we will not value our Father and the unique relationship He desired to have with us. All of our identity as being sons and daughters of God is revealed to us here in the pages of the book of Genesis. It is not a story told to generations upon generations but it is the truth. It is the truth that we stand upon and we place all our hope and faith in it.

Let us not disregard the beginning of life but let it be our starting point, it is a look at what life was supposed to be like for us. We are so loved and cherished that the whole world was created for us. We have the breath of the Lord in us and He made us in His perfect image. We are wanted, we are not living here by some accident but we were desired by God himself, and we were created with purpose.

That is what everybody is looking and searching for. To know that they are wanted, loved, desired, cared for and that they have a divine purpose. And here it is, all written down for us at the very beginning of the book that He created for us to read, know and learn from.

Why do you think it is at the very beginning of the bible? Because it is the most important place for us to start from. We start out our relationship with the Lord knowing that we were created in the image of God and have His very breath inside of us, we are wanted, we are cared for and looked after. We are sons and daughters of the most high God.

understanding your identity : we need to start over

One of my favorite songs at the moment is Simple Gospel by United Pursuit.

I  love these words from the song…

I want to know you Lord like I know a friend,  So I’m laying down all my religion. I use to think that I could box you in. I’ve been told to be ashamed, I’ve been told I don’t measure up, I’ve been told I’m not good enough but you’re here with me. I reach out and you find me in the dust. You say no amount of untruths can separate us.

I feel like this is a process that I have been going through for the past two years. I came to a place in my life where I just wanted more of God. I wanted to know Him like I know a friend. I had this feeling deep within me that there  was so much more to God that I had not yet discovered. So I set out on a journey to know God more.

Laying down my religion, breaking down all of the walls I had built to hem Him in and all the boxes I had tried to fit God into all had to come down. It was like starting all over again.

Religion had me reading the bible because I had to. Somewhere along the line I had been told that you must read the bible everyday. The bible is so hard to understand and where do you even begin? The task became too difficult and not very enjoyable so my goal of reading the bible everyday was not achieved. I would then begin to feel guilt and shame over not reading the word of God everyday and to avoid those feelings I just stayed away from reading the bible all together.

I had to lay down this perception and this lie of being a good Jesus follower meant that you had to read the bible everyday. God does not want us to feel shame and guilt over not achieving that. He wants us to read His word and if we could do it everyday then that is great, but if we don’t, He is not there looking upon us and condemning us. He is there with grace and mercy. Guilt and shame are not part of my DNA, God did not create me with those qualities, they are not my identity.

Religion had me praying every night before going to sleep, to offer Him my lists of requests because I had been told that you have to pray to God everyday. I never really had anybody sit me down and explain to me the art and love of praying and I never really set out to discover it for myself either. I had failed to see that prayer was actually talking and listening to God, that it was in actual fact a two way conversation between two people that actually had a loving and intimate relationship .

I had to lay down my thoughts that God was far off and too distant to care or worry about the little things that I was concerned about. I had to understand that I am not an orphan that He is in actual fact my Heavenly Father and that He sees me and knows me and nothing I think or care about is insignificant to Him. Being an orphan is not how I was created. My identity is that I am His daughter and I can talk to Him and He will talk back to me

To begin to really know God and to really know my identity as His daughter I needed to start all over, I needed to learn how to do my walk with the Lord all over again, but this time in the right way.

I needed to be more childlike. I needed to have a childlike, teachable and humble spirit so that I could stop believing the misconceptions and the lies I had been believing and start to understand the truth about God and the truth about myself. I also needed to be hungry for more and I had to seek these things out for myself and not just take another persons word for it.

Starting over again is hard but I truly believe that the Lord wants to break down the boxes we have put Him in and even break down the boxes we have put ourselves in.

What are some of the lies or misconceptions that you are believing about God? What are some of the lies or misconceptions that you are believing about yourself? I encourage you to start to think about these two questions and ask the Holy Spirit to help you along in this process of knowing God like you know a friend and knowing your true identity as a son or daughter of God.

 

understanding your identity : learning to love yourself

woman looking out window

Now that we have a better understanding of our Heavenly Father – His beautiful nature and His unending love for us now we need to start to understand our identity.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10

We are sons and daughters of the King, we are the people of God and we need to begin to learn to love ourselves the way God loves us and see ourselves with our Fathers eyes.

There are so many of us who struggle with insecurity. We find it hard to love ourselves which then makes it hard for us to love others and hard for us to receive love from others. The answer to our insecurities is simple. We must learn to love ourselves as much as our Heavenly Father loves us.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:10-12

He loved us first. Before we even knew Him, He was pursuing us, drawing near to us, watching and waiting for us to turn our face to Him. He loves us so much that He sent His beloved Son for us. This love is powerful.

If we are going to love ourselves as much as God loves us, then we must encounter His love for us. When we experience Gods powerful love for us, it gives us the ability to love ourselves. How do we experience and encounter His powerful love?

 The prayer of Apostle Paul can help us…

A Prayer for the Ephesians

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19

It takes power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of God for us and it takes power to know this love. The Holy Spirit is the person to give us that power. We need to ask Him to give us that power in our inner being to know, experience and encounter His love.

The bible tells us this…

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15

Whatever we ask, He hears us, and we know that we will have what we have asked for. He is just waiting for us to ask Him to reveal His love to us. The bible is full of verses of His powerful love for us, but I believe He wants to show us first hand what that love feels like. And as we begin to feel His love for us we will then begin to feel worthy, accepted, loved unconditionally, powerful and free. Free to love ourselves the way that our Heavenly Father loves us.