I smiled as I walked into my kitchen and watched her wipe my counter tops to a sheen.
Every dish was thoroughly rinsed and nearly clean before she even placed it into the dishwasher. And this morning she was at it before her coffee or shower was over. My kitchen had never seen a guest like it before.
She taught me how to perfect my coffee, how to create nutritious drinks as delicious as Starbucks. Plates were filled artistically, colorfully, and carefully. And my family soon grew to love her cooking while I urged her to create her own cookbook.
When I wake, on the other hand, the kitchen is the last place I want to be. I’m thinking of that painting project or yard clean-up, the writing inspiration, or getting laundry started. I’ll leave dishes for the kids to do, and quickly stir up a pot of oats for breakfast just because our bodies force us to think about food.
Many days I’m gulping bites down quickly while I’m running about the kitchen. Preparing meals must be done, but truth be told, it’s not what I’d love to focus on.
We laugh about it together. We’d make great room-mates because we balance each other out perfectly. I’d keep the house and yard spotless and she’d keep everyone in food and the kitchen in clean counter tops.
I was tempted to compare myself with her, especially when the kids raved over her meals while I let the fridge run emptier, cooking simple meals speedily so I’d have time to settle into our new home. But the beauty of it all was, we balanced each other, and when I really thought about it, I was content to be me.
Sara, who loves outdoor chores and summer nights carrying pallets over her head to a less conspicuous place.
Sara, who cooks large pots of food in a matter of minutes, then runs away and out to do other things.
Sara, who wakes in the morning excited to run outside before the world stirs.
I’m just me, plain and simple. And every day there are opportunities for comparison or contentment.
This morning I caught myself again. I was sitting in the back of the church, observing other girls’ hair and clothing. How can some people be that beautiful? Effortless class and radiant beauty always strikes me.
God nudged me as quickly as comparison thoughts judged me.
“Sara, jealousy is no longer a part of who you are. You are loved, safe, and held. You are OK.”
Breathe. It’s OK to breathe your own air.
Just yesterday I was crying in my husband’s arms because someone had criticized me, for what seemed like the hundredth time. This person seemed to love “fixing” me, no matter what I did or said, and the last words got to me as I doubled over in that inward fetal position of self-protection.
Somewhere along the way, I had gotten hurt and had spent many years feeling less than good enough. I found myself nervous, weighing words before I spoke them, cringing in wait for the next someone to notice where I went wrong. It was emotionally debilitating.
God began to show me that He had a word to speak over me. That before my visible questions of identity formed, He had His own unwavering statements while He formed me invisibly in my mother’s womb.
That, rather than find myself, I needed to find what God said about Himself and His thoughts and His creation—because I was part of what He made.
That my own hurts were not an excuse for insecurity or comparison, and that I was responsible for whether or not I continued to listen in on self hatred.
I was responsible. I had to choose. I had to take hold of life before death grabbed me once again.
I turned around at church today, and introduced myself to the prettiest girl there, with the loveliest family. Good grief, how can every single member of her family be that gorgeous, almost as if she stirred a beauty-gene potion into her soup pot each night?
I relax, and I smile. I reach into lives and hearts, then I do it again, and again, and again. It doesn’t matter anymore who is outwardly perfect or who is less beautiful. I look into souls as I want them to look into mine.
Here, I find complete peace, and here, I am content.
Here, I get to zone in on what God’s placed in my heart to do. I get to enjoy it, thrill over it, and cultivate it. Because God creates us purposefully to do the things He wants accomplished on this earth, and all we need to do is what we do best.
There’s a multitude of angels praising the One Savior.
There’s a heavenly host with no thought but to worship the Creator of the Universe.
But long ago, there was one who coveted the place of God and desired to be like God. Cast down from the heavenlies, he now waits about God’s creation, trying to convince them that they, too, should have more glory, more power, more attention.
Life is not so much about seeking to be noticed as it is about noticing and seeking God. When we seek the face of God, we are rewarded with the things of God, the heart of the Father, the passion He breathes into us that keeps us from apathy and dull living.
All the things of God come from gazing into the face of God, and you don’t need to wow people with anything; you just need to live Christ in everything.
When you give up your natural desires for status, God gives you a place of grace not to be compared or replaced by anything better. Whatever things you consider gain to yourself, you must cast them down as nothing so that Christ be replaced by nothing.
As Michael Tait says, “We are not called because we’re talented; we are talented because we are called.” -Newsboys
See this, you are not loved or wanted because you’re good at something; you are loved and wanted because God is good at everything. He has business to accomplish, and He equips His people to accomplish it.
Reach out your hand, and share your heart. Be glad in the face of all beauty, for God loves His creation. Relax, and smile—others will be drawn to those like you, for they see in you what they know is true.
My friend and I love each other so dearly there is no room for jealousy. She’s happy that I know how to decorate well and I’m happy she loves to cook. If she ever creates her own cook book, I will be her greatest cheerleader.
I want to be everyone’s cheerleader. All good comes from God, and calls for cheering on. Let the fallen angels remain in their state—as for me, I shall join the ranks around the throne who want nothing but to worship God and rejoice in all His goodness.