“Mommy, I can’t race. She’s ahead of me on the track,” my son said.
I looked left and right, but in neither direction could I spot her. I knew she was halfway looped around the track, on the other side of the building.
My son couldn’t see her either. There was nothing blocking him from charting his own path: she was enough ahead so that he wouldn’t see her and he could enjoy the ride at his own pace. And this thing wasn’t even a race.
Why was he so concerned with her? Why am I so concerned with them?
These are legitimate questions. Why am I so concerned with the track of others when God has me on my own path? Why do I look to let other people’s courses direct mine?
I told my son it is all about perspective. He could look at his journey around the loop as:
1.) Being behind his sister 2.) Being in front of his sister 3.) Being on his own unique track with God.
When we fail to stay on our track with God, we tend to decide we are either ahead or behind. This is where pain settles in. “Ahead” tends to lead to performance anxiety, arrogance or heavy burdens, while “behind” feels like disappointment, dejection and demotivation.
Which track do you tend to be on?
The best track is: with God. God has a journey marked out for each of us. It doesn’t matter if someone is a few miles ahead, tracking their own way. You track yours. I track mine. We each want to keep space (by grace) to see what God is doing as we travel our road. Looking at others takes our eyes off God’s next best thing He is about to do.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” Heb. 12:1
Prayer: God, I want to be on your road. I want to race with you. Let me not look left and right, but keep my eyes on You. Fill me with peace and an immense joy as I go. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Hey you, I know how you do things. You watch everyone else. You size them up to see if what they are doing is good enough. You pick it apart. You notice how they dress, act, carry themselves. What they do, think or say. You’ve pulled your microscope out and you are not missing a beat.
You survey things. You predict their next step. You pick apart their face. You want to anti-applause their success. You hope they will fail. You hate yourself, how you look so small and they look so big, as if they were Jackie O’ or something like that.
Your face tenses, your eyes squeeze, your blood pressure rises. You want her to fall and trip over a sidewalk crack. Maybe if she’d hurt her face, you wouldn’t have to see it and feel as flat as a pancake. So, you imagine her ruined, politically, professionally or personally. Truly unleashed, you rub your hands together like the bad witch of the west and chuckle a little over it. Of course, you wouldn’t let any Christian people know this was going on under your covers.
God, forbids that.
I’ve been this girl in the past. I see these girls in the present. It’s a war out there friends. Women are at war with women. At times we almost hate each other, and, no doubt, berate each other.
Can I just ask, “What are we doing?”
We take potential friends and, in our mind, make them foes.
The only one we hurt by hating – is ourselves. Because this kind of behavior makes us hate ourselves even more. We either grow so big for our britches we fear busting and been seen as a fraud. Or, we get so small we fear our whole calling will deteriorate into the vast outer limits of the universe and no one will bat an eye.
Either way, a comparing mind sits in a living hell.
It sees not all it can do, but all it hasn’t done.
It sees not where it will go, but only how it could never go there.
It sees not the call of God, but only his call on the other girl’s life.
It hears not his still small voice, for it is consumed by voices of social media.
It believes not that God will fulfill its longings, for it longs for other peoples’ unique gifts.
It knows not it’s specialness, for it never allows it.
It seeks not humble means, for it is caught up in worldly ones.
This kind of mind is so focused on outer things, it misses God’s inner voice. It misses his voice that says, “I made you for you and no one else can do what I have set forth for you to do. It is unique to you.”
That truth gets rushed away in the after-wind of someone’s success. Gone. Unseen. Woosh…
We stand there, left with obsessive and critical views that only see the world’s nothingness.
We are the sum of all we are not, short-sheeted by the sheer genius of another. We try to stretch out, but our mind lets our legs take us nowhere.Stunted.
So, today with all this bull, (yes, I said bull), I want to break through the depressive bed of lies that you have trapped yourself in. It is time to rise up and to move out and into something new – and that new is – you.
10 Secrets to Squash Jealousy & to Live Abundantly
Go forth with God. Grab his hand and let him know, “No matter how big or small, my plans will be your plans.”
Establish a determined and resilient will. When (not if) you get off track, be resolute in getting back on.
Give thanks for those around you. Notice their good and let them know.
Notice the little things, the small growths, God is watering within you.
Give out more than your flesh tells you you must acquire.
Believe that God’s goodness for you is plentiful, joyful and powerful. It is not hard to grasp.
Decide to follow his decrees all the way up to the place where he meets your deepest desires.
Agree with God; he made you good. He doesn’t play favorites.
Hope in God‘s “exceedingly, abundantly more,” (Eph. 3:20).
Remember, life isn’t about here, but all about there – heaven.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Ps. 51:10
Life is too short to find your mind, heart and progress stunted. God has too great of plans for you. He put the same power that raised Christ from the dead in you (Romans 8:11). He seated you with Christ in the heavenlies (Eph. 2:13).
After all this, you don’t think Christ has great plans for you?
He let son numero-uno take the rap for you.
Don’t you think he will carry you through?
For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence. Eph. 1:4
What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him (1 Cor. 2:9)
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I have this thing that I promise myself, “If I keep my eyes on God, I won’t end up far from God.”
This is actually a battle mottto, because no less than 100 times a day, I have to fight to keep the forces of my mind moving in tandem with it.
Kids go haywire. Battle.
Someone speaking things that threaten me. Battle.
Anxiety creeping in. Battle.
Girl disses me. Battle.
One thing, I always promise myself not to do, is to look at other people’s journeys and compare them to mine. I know this is the equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot. Suddenly you can’t get anywhere.
The blessing you believe is yours turns black, tainted. The progress you felt you were making looks like lint. The value that God places on you resembles a jail jumpsuit, lettered: CAPTIVITY.
Comparing is the quickest way to go about killing spiritual progress.It really is.
Suddenly, you believe you are:
A. Never going to get anywhere.
B. Never, ever, going to be as good as that other girl.
C. Going to fail, so you might as well pack it all up now.
Comparing is a kid on Christmas who only sees the one toy he didn’t get and sissy did. It is his red scrunched up face that glares at – he misses the 19 others wrapped goodies intended to bring joy.
Maybe you are like me saying, “Whoops! That is me. What do I do now, God? “
Friends, I want to offer you a solution here, but let me tell you, I’ve never been that good at giving myself the benefit of the grace (my inclination is to give myself a smack on the face).
I had a friend who knew how to love herself with grace. She got shunned by a boy, she said, “Oh, he is busy.” She had a teacher be rude to her, she said, “Oh, she’s having a hard day.” Me? No. He hates me and she is about to fail me.
Thinking of this friend, though, it inspires me. She lets love – love her.
When it comes to comparing, I am not unliked by God, nor deemed the bad child, but am the selected child. Hand-selected to impact the world in my own way. Hand-selected to dwell in his love. Hand-selected to minister to my family around me.
He is paving a way for me; that only I can walk through.
He is doing the same for you.
Just opening that small door of grace, let’s new ideas walk in:
People can succeed and I can too. God has enough to go around. Every woman’s journey is different but equally as important in God’s eyes. God cares far more about big faith than he does about big progress. What is good for her, can be goodin me too, as I applaud her. No one has the power to subtract joy from me unless I let them. God’s singular mission carved out for me – is mission critical in his eyes. I am always approved, no matter how much my feelings may disapprove my work. I am not the sum of accomplishments, I am a testament Christ’s love.
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3 Tools for Bloggers
1. Is there an online resource that blew you away with social media and marketing tips? Link it up to this resource- The Best Social Media Tips of 2016. Let’s create a one-stop-shop of all things social media to help us all move forward. It should end up being a treasure trove of info to help us all market better.
I have a love-hate relationship with HGTV. And Pinterest. And all of those fixer-upper shows.
My husband and I moved into a fixer-upper several years ago, and while we’ve done a lot of cosmetic upgrades, there are still things I’d like to change. But life doesn’t stop for remodels and the kids don’t stop needing new shoes, so for now we pushed the pause button.
Most days I’m perfectly happy having friends over to eat in my 70’s kitchen. But every now and then, I hear those voices saying what I have to offer isn’t good enough.
It’s a dismal truth, but it’s there.
Those voices interrupted my thoughts several weeks ago when I was having a dear friend fly in to speak at our local MOPS group. She was staying overnight, and in the weeks leading up to her arrival we made some preparations to ensure she was as comfortable as possible.
I was excited to have her visit and for the chance to connect in person, since she lives several states away. That is, until I visited her home. A couple of weeks before her visit, I joined some friends at her house for a weekend retreat.
The coach stopped me in my tracks with this soccer drill. It was meant for toddlers, but it was sent by God for me. It burst my bubble of known, it tossed out the waste of old and it rolled in eye-opening insight that would redecorate my heart with truth.
Who knew soccer was so good for mental health?!
My son tried to move, no dice (or rather, no goal!). He tried to inch forward, but couldn’t gain traction. He tried to kick, but his ball bounced off his companions’. He tried to run, but, the two collided like blind bulls.Boing!!!
Yet, amidst the mayhem and the maniacal movements of the inept, the coach broke through “crazy” with two words, “Break Out!”
And so they did. Kids, ran left, right and nearly out of sight! Like bees set free they could chart a destination on a course that was possible, feasible and liberating all at the same. If I could have I would have cheered this moment, saying, “Go, free ones, go. Now you can fly!”
The coach would too and, together, we would breathe a sigh of relief.
What small confines are you stuck in – trying to plow your way through?
What is not giving you an iota of movement, yet still, you fight for tooth and nail?
When we are so pressed against everything, we can’t enter the huge field of opportunity the Lord has set before us. We see the Promised Land, but our eyes keep us kicking around in the small perimeter of everyone else’s movements.
They are set on our competition.
They become obsessed with personal performance.
They see each kick like an eternal report card of worth.
Moves become belabored and burdensome.
Aggravation scores. We lose!
God becomes distant.
“He’s out in left-field somewhere!”
When we get hyper-focused on numbers, feedback, criticisms, critiques, God says, “Break out!”
When we start looking at everyone else’s progress, toys and accomplishments, God says, “Break out!”
When we start fearing our ability to succeed, God says, “Break out!”
When we start feeling our chest constrict into the fist of anxiety, God says, “Break out!”
When we start to be man’s responses, God says, “Break out!”
When we are obeying strategies and growth plans first and foremost, God says, “Break out!”
When we are sure we will surely be marginal at best, God says, “Break out!”
When we start making the past the predictor of our future, God says, “Break out!”
When we see the bad surrounding, the pressing in indwelling, God says, “Break out!”
When we doubt calling, God says, “Break out!”
When we wonder if we are any good, God says, “Break out!”
When we box ourself into sameness, God says, “Break out!”
When we look at boundaries and limitations, God says, “Break out!”
Get out of the box, push over the boundary and fly to the place where God is.
If you’re goal is to be with him, it is a goal that can’t be blocked.
It’s a goal that wins the game every time – heck, it wins the World Cup, for that matter!
Run into the freedom of open air.
Bask in the place of his prompting.
Skip to the place of true calling.
Jump to the heights of unrestrained love.
Fall into the depths of incalculable peace.
Sit in the field of rest.
Move to the new places, no one has transversed. Win there! That is where you win!
We find our little slice of heaven on earth, carved out for us in the here and now, in the freedom found, not in doing what the world and demands and people tell us, but found in the unusual, uncharted and unknown callings of him.
No one ever got anywhere by kicking around in the complacent and crazy confines of controlled chaos. Just ponder. Many of the “Great Remarkables” became remarkable because they stopped caring if the world called them remarkable and they just followed God.
Simple. He is speaking. Are we listening?
Look at the woman at the well. She became well because she broke free from confines at the well – so her mouth could not confine her truth of liberation.
“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” Jo. 4:30
She had to break out of world-made form though. Do you see this power yet?
She had to trample form that told her Jews don’t talk with Samaritans.
She had to push through the fact that talking women should have husbands present.
She had to push away the fact that rabbis shouldn’t speak to sluts.
She had to break out!
To step out of the box of confines to be unconfined.
What is God ready to break out on your behalf as you break out?
God isn’t found in the small boxes of safe, of expected, of normal, of man and of “steps for success”, he is found in the wild land of adventure, pursuit and nonconformity in him, by faith and through Christ.
Break out! Today, see what holds you in and push past it in the name of Jesus. Zig and zag his way. Run arms open. Sprint into his fields of purpose.
Don’t just read this and move on, but listen and press in. Promise me that. If you don’t think this is for you, think again, it is, especially for you. What is he calling you to?
My break out: I will not intentionally look at post or visitor statistics. My words are an incense being released solely on behalf of his beauty – from my heart to his, uncensored, untouched and unchangeable by man. And so they will be. And so I will go into the field of his providence, trusting.
What is yours?
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I started running around a little.
Seeing other people.
Jumping in with them only to realize I shouldn’t be doing it.
Well, it is actually not as bad as it sounds, but it is actually still really bad. You see, I got online and started looking at all the people doing more than me. I started looking at how God is using them, gifting them and providing for them.
I saw their glow – and my mediocrity.
Their gifts – and my struggles.
Their smiles – and my sadness.
Like an album of poised perfection, asthey radiated – all my faults were punctuated. Facebook seemed to exclaim, “Your really not that special.”
I hate it when it does that, don’t you? It can be an obnoxious friend. It’s shiny albums so often lead to dirty shame.
They have that? I wanted that too.
They went there? Why not me God?
They accomplished that? I will never.
Tsunamis in motion cannot be stopped; the hand of a human man doesn’t have the strength to hold them back. The thoughts roll in and they seem to take us down.
The stuff I have? It’s cruddy.
My clothes? They’re ugly.
My summer trips? They are small fry.
My status. It’s average.
How do I stop feeling this way God?
I don’t want to live like a pauper amidst your riches.
I don’t want to live thinking you won’t pull through,
when you already have.
I don’t want to live coveting,
when your life-injection power is found in praying.
How do I flip the switch of my hungry soul
to access the power of your nourishing being?
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully-grown brings forth death. James 1:14-15
God’s truth: By the time we have gotten to sin,
we have arrived too late.
The holiness party is long gone; it was found 4 steps back.
Here is how it works:
1. We have a desire. I want more happiness and more riches and more recognition.
2. It tempts us. Kelly, don’t you deserve more happiness, more riches and more recognition?
3. It lures us. Look at them. See what they have. See what you don’t.
4. It gives birth to sin. Covet! Envy! Judge! Be prideful!
5. It leads to death. Take what should be yours, at any cost. Put to death the temple within.
We beat sin not at the point of sin (#4), but at the point of disbelief (#1).
What is the impetus to your disbelief?
What little whispers coerce dissatisfaction in your life?
For me, it’s the whisper that I deserve to be happy, like really happy, slideshow-picture-perfect happy, glow-in-the-eye happy, arms-wrapped-around-each-other-so-tight-your-shoulders-get-smooshed happy.
MapQuest better send me there! A straight shot and no accidents please! That would throw off my happy meter.
It’s the whisper that small beginnings don’t count. Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” Zech. 4:10
Even the disciples started as fisherman so they could understand the words, “Be fishers of men.”
David started by first being faithful to sheep.
The tiny amount of loaves and fish were only the beginning of God’s miracle. God rejoices in the motion of faith-reliant beginnings.
It’s the whisper (and quite an embarrassing one) that I need you to love me. I kind of want that – for you to see all of me and say “Oh, wow, that girl, that gal, Kelly, she has it. I want to be her friend. I want to know her.”
Jesus died open handed and he calls us to
open the hands of our desires, our longings and our hopes to him.
The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing. Prov. 10:28
Then I see what is really in my hands – nothing.
And who entirely fills them – Him.
Deal with sin and be delivered from pain.
Run to him like a prodigal child runs to a long-lost daddy.
Be shocked by radiant truth that liberates needy hearts.
Suck in his gift of always-love that never runs out as I open my heart.
When we find God, we find what our heart was always searching for.
I want that. Do you?
It is called joy – feeling-ruling, comparison-busting, overpowering joy.
It sees Him, who hands out his best.
Eye on the prize, it knows who is active and adorned.
It envisions the heavenly banquet table of camaraderie waiting.
It sits in a place of hardship with a smile of gratitude.
It often grows from pain (earthly crosses and nails water it).
It’s unlike any album on Facebook.
It is unlike any heart that seeks a new and shiny
bridegroom or idol online.
It is unlike anything we could scavenge up on earth.
It’s joy in the all-consuming presence of the one who consumes our deepest longings. It’s atypical, absolute and anesthetizing.
It’s fruit that keeps on satiating and replenishing our soul’s ravage hunger. It keeps us going.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Ja. 1:2–3
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This shack caught my eye. Roaming chickens looked for their next meal. A swing set made of tires and recycled metal stood as an eye-sore. Men congregated in chairs on top of a dirt yard. And, one man climbed through the side window as if it was his front door.
Is this a crack house?
That man hanging out by the front door, he must be out of work.
The woman, whose knees I could just barely see through the open front door, she must be baking in that 100 degree house with no A/C.
Then I saw her, a little girl. One much the own size and stature as my own little girl. One who would make your heart say, “Awww”. She came running out of the house with all her might and beelined to the play set next to my traffic-stopped car. Her mom, rose from her sitting postion, chased her, swooped her deeply into her neck and gave her one giant love hug.
A mother, much like me.
A mother driven by love.
Overwhelmed with God’s gift of motherhood.
My heart instantly connected to this woman because her great love was apparent. It shone like the top of the Chrysler Building.
And it touched me. It reached over the fence to say, “You may live miles away from this woman. You may live entirely differently, but you are still driven by the same thing – LOVE.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:35
Love is the universal language that meets all hearts.
You may not know what to say, but love does.
Love transcends the boundaries of society, etiquette and race.
It is the greatest wonder of the world.
Love tramples down the barrier of initial perception;
it is the amplifier of real connection.
This woman pierced my heart. We may live miles away – she in Costa Rica and me in the US. We may have entirely different lifestyles, me in comfort and she with little, but she was the one with the lesson to teach me.
She taught me that when I judge, and often when I feel badly for someone, there is pride hanging out under that hood. If I really take a hard look into my inner workings, there is a girl wanting to stand a little taller, be a little prouder and seem a little wiser.
There is a girl that says, “Too bad they aren’t like me.”
It may be disguised in a heart of service or care, but I should never fool myself into thinking I am the great giver. Because when I make the choice to stand above, rather than with, I lose the opportunity to let God work – in.
I wear the guise of power-girl instead of seeing God as power-full!
Where do you hold power, see your power and exert your power?
How might God be calling you to lay down your status of power,
to raise up the power of his cross?
Judgement is often derived from one who (knowingly or unknowingly) thinks they stand in the power position – or at least that is how it worked for me.
1. an attempt to rise above our own weaknesses, so we feel better about ourselves. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? Mt. 7:3
2. self-mutilation. Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven. Lu. 6:37
3. a quick-opinion on what could stand as a life-long struggle for another. Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her. Jo. 8:7
4. a roadblock to the grace which is available to all hearts, at all times in all ways. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Eph 2:8
5. a prohibition of authenticity in our relationships.
We become fearful that others may smile and slap us in the face much in the same way we have done to others.
Judgement rides your worth high for a moment and then drops you in shame before you know it. It puts an ocean of differences between two people who have much of the same mess, playing out in different ways.
We are all people on the great hunt for love.
We are all just crazy, sometimes lonely, often emotional, people
in search of something to bring us peace, hope and joy.
We are all searching, but if we are judging, how can we help others to go about finding the answer – Jesus?
I don’t want to be so caught up in the wrongs of others, that I forget to reach them with the rights of Christ.
In this, I will never forget this woman, not because of where she lived, which is memorable, but because of how she loved. In that moment, I saw our great connection – she and I could be friends.
She taught me to see the things that are the same, to see the love and to make that the connection point.
I never expected to get this lesson from her, in this way, but, there are probably many who have gotten a lesson in pride along a trafficked road.
Did you like “Crack Shack to Love Shack to Judgement Free?”
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“Look at her. She has it all. It must have been easy for her. She doesn’t have the same barriers that I have. I could do that too if I had the financial resources that she has, the support she has, the backing, the connections. She is confident. Nothing can take her down. I want to be like her, but I will never be as good, as insightful or as knowledgeable. I can’t. I will never do “BIG” things. She’s the whole package. I may as well give up.”
Comparing is wearing. It’s tiring. It’s frustrating. It brings us down and settles us in a place of insecurity. When “comparing” is our companion, we are only as secure as the depth of another’s weakness.
How sad is that? Our strength balances on our assessment of another’s faults, lack of material items or “less than” appearance.
“COMPARING” STANDS AND TAUNTS: “I think I am prettier. I am smarter. I am happier.”
“My car is better. My house is better. My family is better”
” I am less than you. I am nothing.”
“You are better than me. I may as well give up.”
“You are respected. I feel dejected.”
“You are so put together. I am ready to fall apart.”
“You are so rich. Why can’t I have more?”
“Your clothes are perfect. Mine are outdated.”
“You have a neat house. I interact with my kids more.”
“You have kids that show you love. I have a neater house.”
“You may know so much about God. I think I love others more.”
“You love others. I know more about the Bible & God.”
“You serve. My faith is stronger.”
“You do so much. God loves me less”
“You are so “insert judgment here”, I am so “insert feel good response here”. “You are so “insert praise here”, I am so “insert a “less than” comment here”.
Aren’t we made for more than this?
Comparing takes us on the up and down roller coaster ride – called “judgment”.
And, it drops us off feeling inflated or deflated.
3 WAYS COMPARING IS BAD FOR US:
1. OTHERS BECOME THE BAROMETER OF OUR WORTH.
We feel unvaluable. So, we either look to others to confirm our worst suspicions or we look to put others down to lift ourselves up. Either way, others hold the power to sink us or to let us swim.
We win or lose. There is no middle ground. We are either better than or less than. No matter, we always stand ready to fall. Our position is constantly threatened – there is always someone who is better, who has more or who is more talented.
“In all this comparing and grading and competing, they quite miss the point.” (2 Cor. 10:12 Msg)
2. WE MISS “LOVE”.
Notice the theme of comparing? It is all about “US”! What if the person we are so quick to judge, has a life that is stuck in the sludge? What if they need encouragement, love and help? What if they feel worse than you?
When we compare, we have eyes that only see our own pain. We were created to love others. We completely miss the point of this when our greatest pursuit is seeking our own worth.
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. (1 John 3:16) Let’s make it about His story, not our glory.
3. WE MISS GOD’S GLORY IN OUR WEAKNESS.
You may be asking yourself, “Why is this bad? It is good to rely on yourself. At least then you are in control.”
When we rely on ourselves, we miss the chance to see God as he fills up our weak areas. We miss his glory as he works out his story. We miss the opportunity to learn about ourselves – as we trust Him. We miss the opportunity to see how he wants us to grow in love. We miss so much.
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.
For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12:10 NIV)
We now have a great understanding of the 3 ways comparing is bad and damaging for us. Be encouraged, in Part III we will look at the 3 Ways you Can Overcome “Compare” to Find Repair.
God is a God of grace, love and forgiveness. We have all fallen into comparing at some time or another; he loves you and has a plan to help you change. Comparing is bad, but God is good. He has great plans to help you.