By Joy Ballard
A better yes can give you freedom in so many ways. Here are some tips for you to break free from comparison and choose a better yes.
How Comparison Blocks a Better Yes
It is no secret comparison is one of our biggest weaknesses. It is also no secret we live in a culture brimming with reasons to compare. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. We’re all peering through little square holes called social media to gape at it.
Although that greener grass has more iterations than I can summarize, the struggle we all share is the inner war against contentment and confidence.
And therein lies the irony: We all want to be confident, happy women. But we are often unwilling to admit we keep trying what has failed us before. We keep listening to the loud voices out there telling us to add more, do more and be more.
Treat yo’ self.
You do you.
It all sounds so great. But has it ever resulted in lasting peace and happiness?
Take another peek through that little square window in your fence. You may be so used to it that you don’t even recognize where that grass is full of self-centeredness, marketing and agenda-filled empowerment.
It’s sad when you can’t tell if someone is being genuine or trying to sell something. There is an empty sound of self-promotion and self-reliance threaded throughout our feeds.
What Jesus Tells Us
What Jesus is saying in the middle of all this social noise is this:
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12 (NIV)
We are chosen. Set apart. Loved.
There is a slowed-down, deep-sigh feeling in this verse. I imagine a thoughtful morning ritual of clothing oneself with these intricate, intentional garments.
Have you seen many people post on social media about their lives of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience? The very nature of those qualities goes against the self-promotion that tends to saturate social media.
If you read through the Gospels, it is obvious Jesus lived against the current of his cultural norms, and ours. They held to a totally different standard of life than the world around them.
Isn’t that what is so compelling about Jesus? He breaks down all the constructs and societal rules to show us a way of life that is diametrically opposed. Jesus’ way of living is set apart. That is what he calls us be, too.
The Fuller Life of a Better Yes
As we grow closer to Jesus, the grass on the other side of the fence will begin to lose its appeal. We will experience the full, free life he intended for us to live.
But just like any step towards a healthier life, there is a process that requires saying no to something in order to say yes to something better. For example, you can say no to donuts every morning and instead say yes to eggs and fruit. This choice leads to long-term benefits of more energy and healthier living. A yes to the current healthier choice is also a yes to a better future result.
In order to build something new in our lives, we need to tear down old habits, old values and old ways of thinking. And that process rarely feels good in the moment. It’s a long-term investment. In a world where whatever feels good is considered the ultimate choice, choosing a better yes is as set apart as you can get.
10 Ways to Say a Better Yes
If you’re ready to try tearing down some of the social patterns you’ve accepted as normal and start building on the foundation of Jesus’ way of life, here are 10 ways to start saying a better yes:
- Instead of scrolling on social media to see what people are up to, call a friend.
- Instead of watching baking shows and mouth-watering recipe videos, invite a family over for dinner.
- Instead of online shopping, handwrite some sincere thank you notes and drop them in the mail.
- Instead of binge-watching TV shows, read an inspiring biography.
- Instead of finding ways to escape the screaming children, the tough marriage conversation, or the annoying relative or co-worker, do something kind for them.
- Instead of planning far away vacations you can’t afford, plant some flowers and care for them.
- Instead of the default carry-out meal, make time to cook something from scratch. Alternatively, instead of cooking the ultimate organic meal for your family or friends, order a pizza and spend time in real conversation with the real people around you.
- Instead of falling asleep to the light of a screen, turn screens off and have some fun pillow talk with your husband.
- Instead of stressing out to make your house look perfect before people see it, really see the beautiful people in your home and let the pile of dishes be evidence of your humanity.
- Instead of posting anything on social media, get together with a friend and tell her how you really are doing.
As you may notice, almost everything on that list values real in-person relationships over screen relationships. It is difficult to live out love, compassion, kindness, humility and patience when there is no one physically present on the receiving end.
In a world where self is the priority, relationships cave in. But when we choose to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39), we thrive and bring life to those around us through the love of Jesus.
Wife Step: Pick one item from the better yes list and try it this week.
Joy was born and raised in Mexico, but fell in love with a Minnesota guy. More than a decade, many geographical locations, and four kids later, they are currently settled in the city of Minneapolis, MN. Together they love helping couples discover the incredible adventure marriage was intended to be. They have led many marriage small groups, ministries and retreats, but their favorite way to connect with other couples is by simply sharing life together. Although homeschooling, parenting and helping run their vacation rental take up most of her days, Joy is always finding ways to sneak in time for writing, reading, design and coffee with friends. You can find her posting on Instagram @joy.ballard or @theriverlodgemn. Photo credit: Woodford Sisters Photography
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