We have a problem. It’s a serious problem that’s affecting our lives more than we even realize. Relevant Magazine calls it the “Envy Effect.” It’s a natural tendency for us to judge our lives against other’s. Well this creates a real problem. Comparing your life to someone else’s essentially breeds one of two outcomes.
The first would be that you’re comparing your life to someone who you view as inferior. Basically, you put yourself up by putting others down. We all have those friends who only post really sad things on Facebook or you can just tell that they are always sad. And it makes us feel better that at least we aren’t that sad or lonely or whatever it may be. This is bad, but it’s not really what I want to talk about.
The second outcome, I find, has a far more consequential result. Have you ever noticed how on Facebook and Instagram, people generally only post good things? By that I mean, the pictures that are posted are usually of an adventure or something really fun that the user has done. No one posts really mundane things. It’s because we all want to lead these really exciting, adventurous lives. We do. You can’t deny it. The problem is that we are comparing the low points of our lives with the high points of other’s lives. Nobody lives a perfect life. There’s so much more than anything that’s posted on Instagram or Facebook. No one lives like that. You need to know that. You need that hope.
I know it’s easy to think that no one has crap like you do, but everyone does. I promise that if you just look at my Facebook and my Instagram, my life looks pretty good. It looks like an adventure. And it is, but there’s much more than what you can see. I post very few things on Facebook, most of which are quotes or Bible verses that are influencing me at the time. I post on Instagram maybe once a week. There’s obviously so much more that happens in a week than one quote and one picture. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I’ve been open about some of the harder things in my life. And that’s just a glimpse…
So stop comparing your life. I know it’s not one of those things that you can just quit cold turkey, but there are a few ways to combat this sort of thinking. The first is learn to capture these thoughts. It sounds funny to say, but you have to be aware of your thoughts. Don’t just let your mind wander all the time. Take control of your thoughts. Once you’re able to catch yourself thinking of these things, extract the thought and fill it with something better. Whether that be a positive statement or a reminder that the sun’s still shinning. Whatever it takes, do it. This will change the quality of your life.
I feel like it’s been a while. It really hasn’t been all that long, but the days seem to just drag on…
This has seriously been a great school year. I’ve learned so much and made friends with so many great people. But you see, that’s also the problem. Let’s tackle this one item at a time.
There’s no denying that a year of college and 30 something credits later, I’ve learned a lot. I don’t just mean the general stuff. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my dreams. I know who I am and who I want to be.
I have met the best friends that I have ever had this year. That’s an understatement. Seriously. There aren’t enough words for them. It’s hard because one graduated and moved away. It’s hard to loose a kindred spirit like that, but on the other hand, there are still a few that I am privileged to take the college journey with.
But here’s the thing…
The more I know, the less I actually know. I mean I am walking into more unknowns now than I was a year ago. And it’s a really funny feeling to know that you actually know less than you did when you started this journey called life. I know, it’s a weird thing.
“If I lay here, if I just lay here, would you lie with me and just forget the world?”
I remember in high school it was kind of a big deal to be single. I don’t really know why it was a big deal. I remember feeling ashamed because it was like I wasn’t good enough if I couldn’t get a boyfriend. I’ve grown up a lot since then and I am totally okay with who I am. I don’t want to date someone for the status of having a boyfriend. I don’t want to waste time dating someone I don’t really like or know. I just want to be happy and have fun with the people I love.
If you’re in the same place where being single is shameful, let me encourage you. It gets better. If it’s the people you’re around that make you feel this way, find new people to be around. You don’t need friends that make you feel bad about yourself. You are strong. One of the greatest encouragements I’ve received this year comes from my friend, Rachel. She said, “Don’t believe anything that anyone says. It takes a secure person to stay silent and hold their tongue.” Granted, we were talking about something a little different, but we were still talking about other people’s opinions. Don’t let other people’s meaningless words define you. Let Jesus define you.
So, for now, I’m single. I am not ashamed. I love who I am. I’m never going to say that it’s easy, but there is fulfillment in this. My time of singleness has been a time where I’m learning to rest in God’s presence. Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to Me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” If you’re weary and tired of what other people are saying, rest in Him.
And on that note, there’s a book I want you to read. I’ve been reading Lina Abulamra’s blog for quite a while now. It’s so encouraging. She has an incredible story and a great gift for writing. She wrote a book on being single and she knows a lot more than I do. It’s called Thrive. It actually doesn’t come out until May 1st, but you should definitely pre-order it now because you will want to dive into this book as soon as it comes out! I know that’s what I’m going to be reading the minute finals are over. And if you are just so excited about this book like me and you don’t think you can wait any longer, you don’t have to! Lina has posted a 7 day challenge here. Find out if you’re satisfied being single. I am starting this today and it will be a great journey over the next week.
I seen a lot of my friends have really good roommates, but I’ve also seen some of my friends have really bad roommates. There a few things that I’ve found are good things to take note of before you room with someone random. If you are rooming with someone random, just make sure to lay things out (annoyances, schedule stuff, etc.) before you live together too long.
1. Pick someone with shared cultural values. This may mean you need to pick someone from the same part of the country as you. College is a hard enough adjustment as it is, so it will really help to have a roommate who understands what you’re going through. For example, if family is a big deal to you and you miss them a lot, it’s not good to have a roommate who doesn’t really like their family. They won’t understand and sympathize with you. Or another example, if you’re from up north and you love to eat meat and potatoes in the winter and all your roommate wants is fried chicken, it might be hard to get along. I know these examples are small things, but my point is if you and your roommate don’t get along and understand each other, dorm life will be much harder than it needs to be.
2. Don’t pick all the same classes as your roommate. You spend enough time with them outside of class. Make different friends in class. Actually, I recommend not having class with anyone that you know because if you know someone in a class, you will not make other friends. But seriously, even if your classes suck, that’s valuable time that you will need away from your roommate.
3. TALK ABOUT THINGS! I cannot emphasize this enough. Talk about your schedules, what annoys you, talk about everything. Don’t assume anything. Just because you borrow Ramen once, doesn’t mean you can eat all their food without asking. If something bothers you, talk about it in the moment. If your roommate turns on the light while you’re sleeping and that bothers you, say so. Don’t hold it in and tell yourself you’ll talk about it later because you probably won’t. Definitely use discretion though. It may not always been right to mention it right when it happens. But you have to talk about things.
Words mean more than gifts ever will. Physical gifts are nice, but my affection can’t be bought. At this point, there are two possible thoughts running through your head. You either agree completely or think I’m crazy. If you agree, keep reading and see if you still agree and let know what you’re thinking. If you disagree, read carefully.
People who are sentimental and value words over gifts are special and fragile people. The simplest words can change the whole day. And your tone is equally important. I know this is hard to understand because it’s completely dependent upon the situation. If you’re a quick and witty conversationalist, stop and listen and try to understand. It would mean a lot more if you tried to understand rather than just quickly disagreeing.
If you want to have a good conversation with someone who has a very different personality type than you, you must first understand how they operate. What makes them tick? How do they respond? What do they respond to?
Most people write me off as a shy girl with nothing to say, but I think that’s the furthest thing from the truth. But you’d never know unless you really got to know me. Few people get that privilege.
Sometimes life gets really hard. And by sometimes I mean, life is really hard a lot of the time. It seems like everything is just piling up. It feels like I’ve made no progress. And I don’t want to feel like that. I want to know that I’m going somewhere- that I have purpose. And I know deep down that there will be a good ending to my story. I’ve seen others with stories similar to mine come out on the side of glory. I know for sure that there is hope, but the bridge getting from where I am to what the future holds is pretty much non-existent. I don’t know how to move on from where I am. It’s hard for me to even express what I’m feeling and thinking. The only words I can even muster up to say to God are written beautifully by David Crowder. The song is called “Here’s my Heart.”
Here’s my heart Lord, here’s my heart Lord
Here’s my heart Lord, speak what is true
I am found, I am Yours
I am loved, I’m made pure
I have life, I can breathe
I am healed, I am free
You are strong, You are sure
You are life, You endure
You are good, always true
You are light breaking through
You are more than enough
You are here, You are love
You are hope, You are grace
You’re all I have, You’re everything
Why are we silent about the things that matter?
Why won’t we speak up for what we believe in?
Today’s the day.
Stop being silent.
Start saying something.
Whatever strikes a chord in you heart, speak up about it.
Whether that’s human trafficking, bullying, mental illness, depression, abortion, suicide, euthanasia, or whatever else.
The world can’t wait any longer for you.
People being trafficked and sold can’t wait for someone to save them.
The suicidal can’t wait to be told there is hope.
The kids getting bullied can’t hold on much longer without you.
The mom considering abortion doesn’t have time to wait.
Your voice, no matter how small, may be the only one they hear.
I’ll be the first to tell you that it will not be easy.
It will be a fight. It will be hard.
You will get discouraged.
But take heart, those you impact are far greater and more important than your momentary discouragement.
Keep fighting, but don’t fight alone.
“We’ve got to rise up, open our eyes up. Be her voice, be her freedom, come on stand up!” -Matt Redman & LZ7, 27 Million