What’s a ‘hate word’? You may be thinking about hateful words towards others, but I am talking how you talk and think about yourself. Need some examples? Here you go!
If only I had…
A better house
A better job
A nicer car
If only I were…
If only he would…
Be like her husband
Pay more attention to me
Love me like that
Do what I want
Be more romantic
Surprise me with things
Let me begin by saying I can relate to all of these! I have spent a huge part of my life living in the “if only” part of life. But here is the thing – comparison is the thief of joy. When you are constantly saying “if only” you are not focusing on what you have already been blessed with.
And, you know what? There have been plenty of times where I have gotten my “if only”, only to be disappointed because it wasn’t as great as I thought it would be.
I remember trying to come up with a name for my blog. I found myself thinking lots of things that often began with
If only I…
Were a better writer
Had more of an interesting life to write about
Had more confidence
Can you relate?
I thought about writing about marriage…
I responded to my husband with kindness and grace
I loved my husband the way God asked me to love him
I didn’t want to punch him in the face on a weekly basis
Oh, and ministry (I could literally go on and on).
I had not done that in the past
I had paid more attention in church
I knew the Bible better
I didn’t struggle with prayer
My entire house looked like the one room I share on Instagram
I were as happy as I appear
And the list goes on…
But that is not life. Life is messy and life is real.
So instead of saying “if only,” admit to some things that may not be on your highlight reel. Like when I am honest that I give my husband more eye rolls than hugs, or that my arm pits sweat worse than most men, or that my pile of laundry is rarely all folded and put away, or that the older I get the more “they” go east and west (sorry guys, TMI right there). Honestly, most of the pressure of life comes from myself and you may be realizing that yours does, too.
After starting a walking group this week, my heart became very heavy because I was reminded of how many “hate words” women often tell themselves. If only I had always exercised or eaten healthier, or had her body type or could get perfect Barbie doll plastic surgery.
STOP IT, SIS! If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself. Words and thoughts matter.
So let’s shut down those hate word by thinking about a few (10) things:
1. Grace. Are showing yourself grace? What standard are you holding yourself to? Jesus is all about extending GRACE! If you belong to Jesus – well, He has already accomplished the only “if only” you need.
2. Who defines perfection for you? Are you stuck in the comparison trap? Stop, hold up, wait a minute! Does everyone know all your struggles? Those personal private struggles? We have no idea what the person we compare ourselves to is struggling with which is why no good can ever come from comparison!
3. Make a list of things that fill you and drain you. I did this a few years ago and it was life changing. This allows you room to do the things that are important to you and to say no to the rest.
4. What you allow in your mind will take up space. What are you watching? What are you listening to? If you are a parent, you preach this to your kids but do you live by this yourself? If you are expecting your marriage to resemble a Nicholas Sparks movie, you are going to be disappointed time after time…and if you are looking for 50 Shades of Grey to help the spark – well...enough said.
5. My friend Gabbi says this: “When I am second guessing myself the most is when I am speaking to Him the least” – Wow, what truth! When I feel insecure or I am thinking about myself, what I look like and what people think of me, I am not spending time with Jesus! #truth
6. “The days are long but the years are short.” Don’t miss out on the relationships around you. Invest in others. Volunteer. Serve. Be others focused.
7. Community – we need each other. Who are you pouring into and who is pouring into you? Relationships do take effort but they are so worth it! Surround yourself with people who encourage and inspire you! Spend time with people who speak truth to you because they are people who are spending time reading the truth.
8. We don’t have to be the best at everything. Just show up! If you want to start something like a 10K step challenge, just start! Try it! Don’t think you have to run a marathon next week, but enjoy the moment! If you fail, at least you tried.
9. Pay attention to who you follow. Make sure the people you are following on social media are bringing you joy and inspiration (this goes for TV shows, books, music, or anything else you are allowing into your life). Friends, this is so important. Now, don’t get me wrong, some days it has nothing to do with the person I am following but more about me and my attitude, but shut those thoughts of comparison down. Step away and focus on Jesus and His Word.
10. Only you can make the choice! No matter what you read, the advice you receive, or what a great counselor tells you – you have to make the choice to believe that you were created for purpose!
I can say to you from experience that I have tried it the world’s way and I’ve tried it God’s way. I have read self-help books and Cosmo for relationship advice. I have been a size 6 and a size 16. But the One who created you sees you! No more “if only…” His love is unconditional! It is grace filled! It is joy filled! Believe it; live it; share it.