Cattails, Rabbit Trails, and Thistlefish: Where Are Your Eyes? - Looking to the wrong places to find Real Life

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Where Are Your Eyes? - Looking to the wrong places to find Real Life

   That was the question that I was asked this morning as I journaled out my frustrations to the Lord. I was asking Him questions like
   Why do I feel inadequate?
   Why do I feel left out?
   Why do I feel like I'm never pretty/thin/athletic/put together enough?
   Why doesn't my life look like that?

"Where are your eyes?"

   Such a simple response, but oh, how it makes sense.

My Fight:
   My insecurities have been on the prowl as I start working my way into consistent blogging again, especially as I have considered getting back into fashion blogging. I'm so out of practice! 
   Not only that, but I am constantly looking at other bloggers on their websites and Instagrams to gather tips and inspiration. However, this search for tips and inspiration can quickly grow discouraging, especially as I grow to realize that I will never be like some of these women who seem to look picture-perfect all the time. I know it's not true, and that they have sweatpants-and-topknot days too, but I also know that my picture-perfect days don't even look like theirs. Not only is my body type and lifestyle way different, but in a life of ministry I know that I will never have the time or money necessary to be like these fashionistas. (Also, who expects that from someone who works full time while being a full-time student?? Psht.)
   So why am I looking at them to create a standard for a life and a blog that I already know is completely different than theirs?

   Social media is another relentless source of discouragement. While I typically avoid Facebook and I stop using Instagram every now and again, I still get caught in the trap of comparison sometimes. (Ok, more like, a lot of times.) Especially when it comes to social events and community. 
   I'm gonna be real, ya'll, being in a community now that I am married - especially as one of the first to get married among my closest friends - has been HARD. Throw in a job that has us on-the-move a lot, and it is even more difficult (seemingly impossible sometimes). Don't get me wrong, this has been an awesome season of growth for Jon and I, and I'm not saying we don't have friends. But when our life looks different than most of the friends we had in our "single life," it's hard not to feel left out.

   And don't even get me started on the constant struggle of body image... I'm going to assume we are all familiar enough with this one, and I'll just keep moving...

My Problem:
   Here's my point to all of this:

   Why do I feel like my life is "less" because of these things? or emptier?
   Why do I feel like I'm not cool/pretty/together enough?
   Why do I feel isolated or excluded, when my life is just different?

   Here's the answer:
I am discouraged because I am looking to others - to the world - for what it looks like to have Real Life.

   When I am placing my eyes on bloggers who have "more" than I do, I begin to think that I need more time and money to really be cool.   
   When I am placing my eyes on people and their fun social lives, I begin to devalue my own stage of life and  think that my friends are experiencing life to the fullest and I am not.
   When I am placing my eyes on clothes or styles or models, I begin to think that I need to have what they do, or look like they do, to really start living.

   When I realized this morning that I have been thinking like this I was a little embarrassed. 
   Why on earth would I look to these people - most of whom aren't experiencing the Real Life that I want to be experiencing - and I expect them to show me what it's like to really live? That's not even logical! Especially when I have a real relationship with the Creator and Source of all life. Logically, if I want to experience a full life... shouldn't I look to the Creator and Source of life?

My challenge to you:
  So if you've experienced anything like I have in the past few weeks or years - the discouragement that comes from seeing others' version of "life" and thinking that you need what they have to experience it too - then I challenge you to reevaluate where you're placing your gaze.
   Where are your eyes?
   Are you looking to models, Instagrammers, decorators, athletes, artists, bloggers, or other moms/college students/wives/girlfriends to define your standard of what life really is?
   Or are you looking to the Creator and Source of True Life who has His fingerprints in every area of your life?

   See, when I'm looking to Jesus, He says that He has everything I need or desire.
   He says that giving my life away to the people around me is more meaningful than all the possessions in the world, regardless of what the world says I need.
   He says that my body image could never make me more or less beautiful.
   He says that Real Life comes from experiencing Him and His love more every day, not the amount of social outings I have.

   I don't know about you, but I want that Life that Jesus has for me. And I have found that this world doesn't have it.
   So why look to the world for what it does not have? I'm going to start looking to Jesus to show me what it is to have Real Life.

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