From the time girls are small, they tend to be very relational.

This often comes in the form of "me too!"

"I got a new toy," a girl might mention, and her friend will happily chirp, "Me too!" even if her new toy was 6 months ago...  Or, "my favorite food is pizza!" to which one of the girls in her circle will reply, "Me too!  I like pepperoni!" even when her real favorite is spaghetti...

This desire to be relational, to say "me too!" can also take the form of "notice me! I'm the same!"

I saw it more than once in the line up in front of my daughter's preschool class.  "That's a pretty dress, Cassidy!" a little cutie would comment.  And if my child didn't immediately reciprocate, I would see the girl start to sway her own twirly skirt until my daughter would see and respond, "I like you're dress too!"

This doesn't end in the preschool, or even middle school...  As women, we want to belong and we want to be noticed.  We attempt to prove our worth to the people around us to gain their approval and to feel good about ourselves.  We compete with the other women in our lives - whether that is what we would like to call it or not.  We don't compete like men.  This is no head-to-head combat, where the winner takes all (and they walk away still friends).  This is more subtle than that, and we might not even really realize what it is happening.  If we are not careful, we will find ourselves trying to one-up the people we care about.  Oh you did that?  ...Well listen to what I did!

We can see it through social networking.  Often.

status update:  "Today I cleaned out my storage closet.  What a job!"

comment: "wow, great job!  i cleaned out my closet today too.  and my garage, and all my kitchen cupboards! :)"

instragram photo: "Here's a picture of the cake I made for my son's birthday"

comment:  "looks great!  i wish i had time to make cakes, i've been so busy growing organic produce in my backyard."

tweet: "So proud of my child for winning the spelling bee!"

comment:  "how fun!  i remember my child's first spelling bee win..."

And that's how we respond on a good day, a day when our self esteem is in a good place!

On a day when we feel low or insecure or responses would be different:

status update:  "Today I cleaned out my storage closet.  What a job!"

comment:  "I wish I had a storage closet to clean out.  I have no storage at all."

comment: "You are so lucky to have so much free time!"

instragram photo: "Here's a picture of the cake I made for my son's birthday"

comment: "my last attempt at a cake was a total disaster.  i wish i could make cakes like you."

tweet: "So proud of my child for winning the spelling bee!"

comment: "my kid couldn't win a spelling bee if the words were taped to her face. :( "

Of course, we probably wouldn't post those ones.  We'd just think it... and walk away feeling less-than.

Is there a way to share our lives with each other without measuring ourselves by the successes and failures of the people around us?  Is there a way we can celebrate with our friends without lamenting ourselves?  Can we choose to just be happy for someone and have it not be about us at all?

Today I remind myself that scripture has the answer!  If I want to know what love in action looks like, what it means to be humble (because that will help!), and how God is calling me to live, His Word is where to find it.  Today I'm thinking about Romans 12.  I want to give all of myself - heart, mind and body to the Lord.  I want to keep a right perspective of myself.  And I want to be sincere in my love for others!  I will, with the help of the Holy Spirit, get myself out of the way when I look at others and let it just be about them.

"Rejoice with those who rejoice;" Romans 12:15 says, "mourn with those who mourn."

Let's look for ways to encourage others today, without expecting anything in return!


thinking about thinking

Sunday morning as we drove to church, my son commented on a few geese we saw in the sky.  "It's amazing, isn't it, that God made animals' brains to know when to go and when to stay, even though they don't think like humans?" he said.  We agreed.  "The human brain is even more amazing," he continued, "That in itself is proof that there is a Creator."  We agreed again.

It got me to thinking...

The human brain is an amazing thing, and yet at the same time, it can sometimes feel like our undoing.

Thinking thoughts... always thinking.

Good thoughts, happy memories, dreams and positivity.

But all to often...

Angry mental tirades, regrets, worry and negative thinking.

Thoughts seem to come out of nowhere, and in the past few days I've been burdened by thoughts that are bringing me down and I can't explain why these things have popped up.  Every time these unwelcome thoughts enter my mind, I pray they would just as quickly leave.  And when they return, I pray again.

Where do thoughts come from and how do we manage our thought life?

Scripture says to "take every thought captive" (2 Corinthians 10:5)... That came to mind right away, and I believe it!  I also believe that in order to get rid of ugly thoughts, I need to replace them with positive things.

So I searched biblegateway.com.

thoughts, think, mind...

The Bible has much to say on these topics!

The book of Romans contrasts a mind set on fleshly desires (worldly things) vs. a mind set on spiritual things and describes the mind as the starting point of my actions. (Romans 8:5)  It also challenges me to "renew" my mind (Romans 12:2), for that is the way to true transformation to becoming more like Christ.

When Colossians 3:2 tells me to "set my mind on things above," does it mean to think about pearly gates and streets of gold?

I guess that could be part of it, but I think it's more about training myself not to dwell on unlovely thoughts.  By that I don't mean unconfessed sin or something of that nature (because those things would need to be dealt with before the Lord), but anything that is untrue or discouraging  - things that make me feel like a failure, or unloveable.

When unexpected thoughts come into my mind, I shoo them away by replacing them with Truth!  I remind myself of Who God is and what He has done in my life and in the world.  I look to the Word or sing praise songs to His name.  I fix my heart and mind on the saving work of Jesus.  I recite one of the verses I haven't forgotten (Phil 4:8).

I don't know why these thoughts come in when they are never entertained for long and are certainly not welcome - you'd think they'd get the hint!  But I do believe Isaiah 26:3 is true:

You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.

And so I trust, I train myself to focus on His good and I thank God for a reasonably sound mind (most days!)

How do you keep yourself from drowning in your thoughts?



one of my favourite feelings is "us against them."


does that require some explanation?

ok then.  what i mean is, one of my favourite feelings within my family is "parents against the kids."

there are days that husband and wife struggle to see eye to eye on parenting (or life in general).  but there are those better days when the kids are bananas and the parents can't help but laugh together, conspire together, and plan to put the kids to bed early just to be together.

those days are great!

...so much better than feeling like i'm smarter and know more about how to handle every parenting situation that comes our way.

...so much better that feeling right.

...so much better than being on the side of the kids.

being on the same side with him is much more fun.
i need to remember this.

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