Stop comparing yourself to everyone else

Finding Hope in the valley

It’s funny in the age of social media we live our lives surrounded by mountain-top experiences. The best of the best. We see everyone’s highlight reel.

I’ve been in such a valley. The other day, I was reminded of the valley of dry bones when God took Elijah there and showed him that even those could be restored; not familiar with that story, how about a Lion King scene... Life's just been hard; I've been hard at work on myself. The pursuit of perfection has left me worn out; if I were a celebrity, I'd have checked into a facility for exhaustion. Okay, maybe that is a tad dramatic, but isn't checking into a facility for exhaustion dramatic for all of us non-celebrities?

When you stand on the mountain sometimes that view is a landscape composed of mountains of sand, sometimes it's snow for as far as you can see, and sometimes it's just pretty and green out there. It really doesn't matter what you see when you get to the top because keeping perspective is the name of the game. Perspective feeds appreciation, appreciation feeds gratitude, and gratitude makes life beautiful.

Growing up, one of my favorite artists was Asher Brown Durand. His paintings gave such a surreal and tranquil sense of place, but to experience and appreciate his work without realizing the thorns and stickers he tread through and the mountain he had to climb in order to gain his unique vantage point, are you really appreciating it? Just like appreciating the mountain top view by keeping it in perspective, we need to appreciate the valleys in our own lives and remember that every person you encounter deals with hard things. No one lives on the summit of the mountain all the time; no one has a 100% social media worthy life. Even Kim K wakes up and needs makeup before she takes a selfie. Can I get an amen?!

The fact that your living room is a non-Instagram worthy dark hole where you curl up at the end of the day to refresh yourself is okay. It is more than okay, it’s wonderful! It is a blessing, and you don’t need to whitewash and install shiplap in order to be cool. no matter what you see in everyone else’s Instagram-worthy images.

Living in a world that perpetually celebrates the great things in life and dismisses the hard parts of living leaves me feeling isolated. I refuse to believe that's what we're supposed to feel like, disconnected, not good enough, overwhelmed. There's more for us than that. We are called to be more inspite of ourselves, and that is what makes us uniquely beautiful.

We need grace. You have permission to give yourself grace. God gives us grace.

Everyone deals with things. Speaking of hard, please tell me I'm not the only one putting off washing my hair in favor of an extra hour of work today?! Some days you have to make choices, that choice means you won't see a selfie-video on my Instagram story today...on second thought, I should post it anyway, messy dirty bun and all, because GRACE.

Today, I encourage each of you to keep perspective, to foster appreciation for the present, and find things to be grateful for even when the moment isn't picture perfect. 

You have to download a strategy to get yourself through the valleys in life before you walk through up to that next victory. Make a plan, find things that refresh you, practice gratitude, gear up for the climb to your next victory. Valleys are where you find refuge, where you streams settle into ponds and lakes, where you can prepare for the climb ahead.

Will I keep my curated Instagram, yes--I mean it's pretty after all, but I am trying to find ways to be vulnerable. I'm remembering to be grateful and to share my story, from valley to mountain. 

This valley is giving me time to examine the path up each mountain that surrounds me. The thing is, there are mountains ahead, surrounding me. There is eternal hope!