The night before my Living Room Tour post was published last week, I sat in bed scrolling through Pinterest. “Do you really think the pictures of our living room look good enough?” I asked my husband. Although I was happy with my updated living room, after looking at pictures of other living rooms on Pinterest, I had settled into a cloud of doubt. “Sure, they look great!” was his reply, but inside I just couldn’t believe him. What if people didn’t like what they saw? What if people responded with nasty comments because they didn’t like my decorating style? What if it just wasn’t good enough? Should I cancel the post or just go with it? These were the questions swimming around my head that evening.
I’d had a busy week preparing for that post. The natural lighting in my living room is awful to start with on a good day, but add a week of cloudy days to the mix and it was almost impossible to get good pictures of the space. I took pictures on two separate occasions and I still wasn’t convinced the quality was good enough to share on this blog. No matter what I did the pictures just wouldn’t do the room justice. Looking at pictures of other bloggers’ living rooms on Pinterest only made it worse. My home doesn’t look like a page out of HGTV or Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, and I didn’t even try to make it look that way. I want to be real, folks! I took pictures of the way my home is every day, except I may have kicked the doggies off the couch. (Well, twice… or maybe three times…but who’s counting?) I didn’t bring out a bunch of props from other rooms to fill in the empty spaces on my tables or against my walls. When I looked at the other living rooms on Pinterest, in my mind I knew my living room didn’t quite measure up.
As much as I wanted to be genuine with my readers and represent my home the way it is in real life, I was afraid. Afraid of disappointing my readers, afraid of not not measuring up to other bloggers, afraid of not living up to society’s standards, ultimately afraid of not being respected and accepted. As I lay there in bed debating what I should do, I was reminded of a quote from a recent Bible study. “Compare leads to despair.”
Those are such powerful words! Comparing ourselves to others will lead us to self-criticism, discouragement, envy, and discontentment, which are never good for the soul. The Bible instructs us to “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.” (Galatians 6:4 NLT) True satisfaction comes from doing our best, and not by comparing ourselves to others. Imagine how much happier our lives would be if we stopped looking at everyone else and ran towards the goals set before us!
I think we’ve spent so much of our lives comparing ourselves to others that we don’t even realize that we are doing it sometimes. Just this past weekend while at a church event, I made a comment to a friend about the beauty of someone a lot taller and a lot skinnier than me. She stopped me right in my tracks and spoke truth to me, reminding me that I am beautiful in God’s eyes. I didn’t even realize how much I was criticizing myself by my comment. It came so naturally while comparing myself to someone else. We need to learn to recognize these thoughts that cause discouragement in our lives and fight back with scripture. When we catch ourselves in the act we should say, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalms 139:14 NIV).
I’m so glad I went ahead with my Living Room Tour not only because it received some great compliments, but it also freed me from comparing my work to the work of others. Theodore Roosevelt said it best when he said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Let’s not let comparison rip the joy from our lives, but instead fight back with contentment. Let’s learn to be comfortable being who God has created us to be, because He has made us intentionally with our own looks, desires, thoughts and tastes for a unique purpose on Earth. Will you join me?
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