the secret that’s killing us during quarantine

photo-1498354136128-58f790194fa7This quarantine thing is getting a little old, amiright?

To be honest, I’m doing better than I was in the beginning, though. I cope much better when things are clear cut. I need boundaries and structure. My mental health feels more stable because there have been less changes lately.

In my house, we are finding ways to relax and finding ways to have fun. We have all recognized that we need down time and space from each other, and all of that is okay. Even my little people need a break from each other, and I certainly need a break from them.

This quarantine has hopefully opened our eyes to our schedules and our busyness. It’s show us what truly is essential in our lives and what we don’t truly need.

But I’m afraid that this whole season has grown a bigger secret in the majority of us.

It’s eating away at us on the inside, and most of us aren’t even aware of it.

It’s the secret of comparison.

I’d be willing to bet that more of us are on social media than ever before. It’s a bit of a lifeline right now, isn’t it? We can’t do anything in person, so we have to connect through other creative ways. Zoom meetings, Instagram live, Facebook videos, Youtube… they’re all blowing up. One of my favorite things about this time has been to see people in their homes. Famous artists that I listen to are putting on concerts in their living rooms. We are seeing more of real life than ever.

But we can’t forget the truth about all of this: social media is still just a snapshot of real life. Even now, when we’re confined to our homes and it all seems a little bit more real, we see about five percent of what really goes on in someone’s life.

I believe that there are a lot of us that are feeling lonely. We see beautiful family pictures and think, “Man, I wish I had that.”

Young moms are being inundated with bottles and crayons and it seems like everyone else in the world is getting space to be creative.

Those who are still working most likely wish they had more time at home with their families. And those who lost their jobs would give anything to get out of the house.

You cannot compare your season to anyone else’s. It is impossible for me, with two young kids, to have the same kind of time and space as a woman with grown children.

Jealousy and comparison sneak into our lives in varying ways. We compare body sizes, children’s behavior, friendships, home decor, health, happiness, possessions… jealousy is not picky.

More than ever, this is the time to be present in our own lives. We don’t need to worry about how everyone else is thriving.

So get on Instagram for a few minutes. Watch some Tik Tok videos to make you laugh. And then put it all away and try this…

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” [Philippians 4:8]

Did you catch that random word in the middle? Lovely.

Focus on the beautiful things in your life. This is different than gratitude. Looking for the beautiful things keeps our eyes open and our hearts creative.

What is beautiful in your current life? If you don’t see it automatically, search for it. Create it.

When you’re aware of the beauty in your own world, you’re much less apt to be jealous of someone else’s beautiful life.

Thinking on things that are beautiful take practice and intentionality. It requires work to notice the beautiful tree outside of my house, because I see it every day. I’m beginning to notice the puffy clouds when the sky is its truest blue.

My kid’s laughter… most of the time.

Really, really green grass.

Something cooked in my cast iron skillet.

Watercolor paints.

Afternoon light in my kitchen.

These things are lovely to me.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to look back on this season of world history and have been so concerned with everyone else’s life that I have nothing to reflect on.

I want to see the beauty here and now. I don’t want to miss out on God’s presence in my own life because I’m so worried how He’s moving in someone else’s.

Contentment and joy comes when we fix our eyes on Him… not on them.

So since we find ourselves fashioned into all of these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.” [Romans 12:5 msg]





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