I Don’t Have Words

blog picI’ve always had a lot of words.  As a baby, I found my words early.  As an elementary school student, I got frequent notes from teachers telling my parents that I needed to be less chatty.  As a social work student doing lots of introspection, I learned that I was a verbal processor with a side of extrovert.

But lately, I’ve struggled to find words.  Many days, I simply don’t have words to text, to email, to talk on the phone, or even to pray.

There are no words to describe the depths of sadness I feel about Adam’s diagnosis. There are no words to describe the heights of fear I feel about cancer. There are no words to describe the weight of exhaustion I feel to my bones.

Lately, I find myself being silent and craving silence.  I’ve been commuting to work with no music and sitting on the back porch listening to only the wind.  There’s been something so calming and peaceful about silence in the midst of the swirling diagnosis that’s been screaming for so much of my energy.

I worried for a bit that I wasn’t praying enough.  I worried that God might not heal Adam if I weren’t asking for it often enough. Cancer tests all the differing theology you’ve been taught over the years.

But then I was reminded that Adam and I not alone in this.  We have hundreds of people praying around the world for Adam; praying the words we’ve lost. I was reminded that God doesn’t need my words to be who He is. I was reminded that the Holy Spirit is interceding for Adam. I was reminded that silence is sacred.

And so I sit in guiltless silence often now. And in that silence, I know God’s goodness and I feel His sweetness. And I gain strength.

My friend sent me this poem by one of my favorites, Amy Carmichael, and I wept.  This is what I wish I could write:

Wordless Prayer – by Amy Carmichael

O Lord, my heart is all a prayer, 

But it is silent unto Thee;

I am too tired to look for words,

I rest upon Thy sympathy

To understand when I am dumb;

And well I know Thou hearest me.

I know Thou hearest me because

A quiet peace comes down to me,

And fills the places where before

Weak thoughts were wandering wearily;

And deep within me it is calm,

Though waves are tossing outwardly.

When Bravery Looks Like Healing

I haven’t felt fully myself for several months now.  I’m still me, just a slightly off-key version of me.

This summer, I experienced some trauma.  The physical recovery was grueling, and is still ongoing, but it’s clear that the emotional recovery is the harder of the two recoveries.  Since July, I’ve struggled with periods of debilitating anxiety and moments of sheer panic.  What used to be routine outings have become special ops missions: I have to emotionally prepare to go to friends’ homes, I have to read my courage-meter when committing to any outdoor events, and I have to be on high alert when I go for hikes or walks.

There are days when I feel brave and grounded, and others when I feel absolutely weak-kneed and cowardly.  A certain noise, an instagram, or a scene in a movie can either leave me feeling confident I’m healing or completely panicked.  There doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or rhythm as to what can trigger the panic or lack of panic.

Maybe that’s what makes healing so hard.  It’s unpredictable.  And unrelenting.  And sometimes seemingly endless.

I’ve struggled to give myself permission to heal.  I’m typically more of a “suck it up” kind of girl, especially when it comes to personal standards. Some days I feel totally silly and weak and I want to tell myself to “just get over it”.  But thus far, that hasn’t been possible for me.

Over the last few months, I’ve found myself feeling more defeated than determined.  I’m quicker to give up or not even try things at all.  And that’s not me.  At least that’s not the old me.  And I hope it’s not the future me.

Over the last few months I’ve also felt more attuned to my own pain and issues than the greater pain and issues in my community and the world.  I’m not indifferent, I’m just tired from fighting my own battles that I don’t have as much energy for others’ battles. And that’s not me.  At least it’s not the old me.  And I hope it’s not the future me.

Because I haven’t felt completely myself lately, I haven’t had a lot of my own words to share, so I’ve been taking in others’ words.  Reading has been a nice reprieve from my inner dialogue.

I just finished the Divergent trilogy and one of the last paragraphs in the final book left me sobbing; not necessarily for the plot line, but for the truth that was contained in the words for me for this season:

“There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else.  Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known , or everyone you have ever loved for the sake of something greater.  But sometimes it doesn’t.  Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life.”

Bravery looks different for me this year than it has in years past.  And I have hope that bravery will look different for me in future years than it does now.

For now, bravery looks like admitting weakness and fear.  For now, it looks like knowing when to face fears and when to take breaks from fear-facing.  For now, bravery looks like not worrying about what others’ will think about my courage or lack thereof.  For now, it looks like being ok with not being ok.

For now, bravery looks like healing .

To those who have experienced great trauma and repeated trauma, this post by no means compares my experience to yours.  I am so very sorry that you have experienced horror, fear, and injustice.  I hate that there are triggers that re-traumatize you.  My struggles to cope with my own experience cause me greater compassion for those who have experienced greater trauma. I cannot imagine the bravery it takes for you to face each day. I applaud you.

2014: A Year Of…

Happy New Year, friends!

Hope your new year is off to a brilliant start!  I’m still sitting in my pajamas drinking a delicious mug of coffee so I’d say 2014 is looking up!

Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions?  If not, my husband has made some for all of us so feel free to read what he’s resolved for the masses.  I’m all for resolutions.  I know that’s not a popular opinion, but I hold to it.  Resolutions can be a good thing.

Last year, I decided to take a new approach to the New Year Resolution and jump on the One Word 365 train.  If you haven’t heard of this, it’s a movement to choose one word that will define your year.  This word guides growth, reading, learning, and thinking.  2013’s word for me was generosity, and it was an awesome year of growth in gratitude and sharing.

Throughout last year, I thought a lot about generosity.  I prayed a lot about the selfish areas of my life.  I was intentional about giving.  I read about generosity.  It was a focused year.

I liked this concept of picking one word so much, that I’m doing it again.  I’m picking one word that will shape and grow me throughout the year.

2014 will be a year of REST.

As I type this, I am fighting every urge to delete that word and fill it with something more awesome, more adventurous, or more productive.  I am an achiever and a do-er.  I am not a rester.  I love being busy.  And the longer I stare at my cursor dancing over that little 4-letter word, the more panicky I become.

I often fight rest.

Instead of rest, I pick checking off one more thing on my to-do list.  Instead of rest, I pack in one more coffee date with someone.  Instead of rest, I multi-task while watching movies.

For a long time, I have felt guilty about ignoring the Sabbath and making it rather unholy with all of the ways that I make it just another day to accomplish.  I know that I need rest, I just fight it.  I know I need Sabbath.  I get stressed out too much.  I get sick too much.  I crash too often.

So enough is enough.  This year, I want to learn how to create rhythms of rest that are lasting.  This year, I want to become a student of the Sabbath.  This year, I want to become healthier spiritually, emotionally, and physically because I am resting regularly.

So as I push publish, know that I am taking a huge gulp, because this means I’m letting you in on this… Which means you get to hold me accountable… Which means this is really happening.

What about you?  

Are you going to pick one word for the year?  

Do you have any resolutions?

Generosity in 2013

I love this thing that my friend, Alece started.  In place of New Year’s Resolutions, we pick one word that will define, grow, challenge, and inspire us for the new year.  Last year was my first year to pick my word, and I loved it.  Unlike resolutions of years passed, this word really was a prescription for growth, behavior, and learning for me.

My word for last year was generosity.

Let me tell you, it has been an amazing year!  I know, I know, I should have been blogging about this all year, sharing my journey of growth in generosity, but it’s tricky to blog about generosity.  How do you blog about sharing and sacrificing without bragging or over-sharing or taking the joy away from being generous in secret?  This year, I felt the tension of not letting my left hand know what my right hand was doing, so I didn’t talk a whole lot about this journey on the blog or outside the blog.  And I’m ok with that, I hope you are, too.

This year, I learned how to give with joy when I knew that there would be no reciprocity.

This year, I learned how to give when prompted by the Holy Spirit without doing budget calculations.

This year, I learned how to open up my home when it was dirty and messy and feel no shame.

This year, I saw God’s provision, that to be honest, was miraculous at times.  Apparently others were learning generosity this year, too, because we were the recipients of a whole lot of generosity.

This year, I became less entitled and more grateful through constant reminders that “my resources” aren’t really mine in the first place.

This year, I learned how to welcome generosity from others and feel grateful, not guilty.

Through generosity, I grew in openness, vulnerability, and joy.  I don’t think I can go back, either.  This year has been a beautiful journey. I’m excited to announce 2014’s word…  but not yet.  I’ll leave you hanging for a bit.  What about you, how was your year?  Have plans for your next year’s One Word?

2013, God With Us

2013 has been a really hard year for many of my dear ones.  It has also been a really good year for many of my loved ones.  For Adam and I, this year has been both really hard and really good.  And as I’ve been reflecting on this year through the lens of advent, I keep coming back to, “God with us, Emmanuel,” and finding deep comfort.

As I think about all that my friends have experienced this year, and all that we have experienced this year, I keep envisioning God there with us in the midst of it all.

In sleepless nights, chronic pain, and un-diagnosed illness, God with us, Emmanuel.

In routine days on a route job, God with us, Emmanuel.

In positive pregnancy tests, healthy pregnancies, and in births, God with us, Emmanuel.

In the clinic during chemo treatments, God with us, Emmanuel.

In running after busy toddlers, and taxiing around teenagers, God with us, Emmanuel.

In depression and in anxiety, God with us, Emmanuel.

In contentment in single or marital status, God with us, Emmanuel.

In loneliness and in broken relationships, God with us, Emmanuel.

In graduation, and job placement, and promotions, God with us, Emmanuel.

In infertility, miscarriage, and loss of children, God with us, Emmanuel.

In a clean bill of health and in the miracle healing, God with us, Emmanuel.

In job loss, job discontentment, and job searching, God with us, Emmanuel.

In a second chance at life, God with us, Emmanuel.

In caring for aging parents, God with us, Emmanuel.

In loved ones being deployed, God with us, Emmanuel.

In our loved one returning home, safe from deployment, God with us, Emmanuel.

In addiction and compulsion, God with us, Emmanuel.

In figuring out life-callings, changing majors, changing colleges, and dropping out of college, God with us, Emmanuel.

In unwelcome singleness, God with us, Emmanuel.

In becoming a parent through fostering or adopting, God with us, Emmanuel.

In financial stress, God with us, Emmanuel.

In falling in love, engagement, and new marriages, God with us, Emmanuel.

In the loss of ones we love, God with us, Emmanuel.

In growing, healthy relationships, God with us, Emmanuel.

In infidelity, broken hearts, and divorce, God with us, Emmanuel.

In financial peace, and unexpected provision, God with us, Emmanuel.

In endlessly long nights with a crying infant, God with us, Emmanuel.

In uneventful weeks, God with us, Emmanuel.

I’m so thankful for a God who is with us – in the smallest and biggest, easy and painful moments.  A God who left the comfort of heaven to be with His people in their deepest pain, shame, guilt, and sorrow to save His people is Good News to me.  A God who is a Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty One, an Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace brings me Great Joy.

In the moments when we acknowledged it, and the moments when we were unsure, God was with us in 2013.  He was with us as we cried ourselves to sleep and with us when we squealed with joy.  He was with us in our deepest hope and he was with us in our deepest hopelessness.

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)

 

While We Wait

wait banner pic
Image courtesy of Kandace Parker

There’s no one in my life that loves advent more than my husband, Adam.  No, not Christmas; Advent.  The man loves some good liturgy, some good tension, and some good reflection.  I thought it only fitting on this advent of advent today, to have him guest post about why he loves this season so much.

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Advent is one of the best times of year. Not only is it the start of the liturgical calendar, but it is also when we set aside time to wait and anticipate the birth of Jesus. It’s the season set aside  to prepare for the celebration of the moment that history forever changed on a humble night in a manager. It is the season when we are reminded that  even though Jesus has already come, we are still in a time of longing, of waiting for the final Advent that will put everything right.

The problem is that we aren’t very good at waiting. We do well with anticipating. Our culture anticipates Christmas more than anything else, which is why we see sales and decorations and marketers dictating what will bring our hope, joy, peace and love before we have even finished deciding on our Halloween costumes. But there is a big difference in learning to find the significance in the waiting and trying to rush a celebration.

We look for significance around Christmas, but often, our search for significance centers around tapping into the sentimental longing that has made past years special. It is rare that our search for Christmas significance leads us to sit in the tension of the in-between. This is why people make a big deal about red cups being back at Starbucks or put a lot of effort into their Elf on the Shelf or listen to Christmas music for a month (or longer). We crave significance and wonder in the build up to Christmas, so we fill it with events and memories.  And none of these are inherently bad, but I fear that when we fill our Decembers with too much activity, and we fail to sit in the unmet expectation.

There is an art to learning to wait, of realizing what it means to be in a place of yearning for an answer.  Waiting is often uncomfortable.  We consistently try to speed through this idea of yearning, of waiting, of longing to know and experience our desire.  Our culture celebrates speed, rush, and hustle.  And when we don’t have to wait, or we rush through the waiting, what we receive on the other end looses some of it’s value. It lacks the significance of the expectation we placed on it because our “satisfaction” was almost immediate.  This is often met with disappointment and results in lowered expectations. But this idea of waiting for something for so long, and then finally finding it (regardless of what it is) is vital to our human experience.  And yet we keep trying to fast forward the waiting process.

This is why I love Advent. It’s a set aside time to long for the long-expected Christ. To spend time preparing and anticipating the significance of a God who was so passionate for His creation that he would become Emmanuel, God with Us.

Everyone I know is waiting for something – longing for redemption in some area of their lives – whether it is a relationship, a job, a healing, or a conflict, but no matter what it is, we all wait. I want to learn to sit in the awkward unrest of unmet expectations, of learning what it means to find my joy, my hope, love, and a true peace in the significance of the humble birth of Christ. I want to be reminded that while I wait, redemption rushed to me. Father Richard Rhor says it like this, “the Incarnation was already the Redemption, because in Jesus’ birth God was already saying that it was good to be human, and God was on our side.”

God is on our side and during this season of Advent, and I want to learn to place my expectations in the coming of Christ. I want to be overwhelmed as the reality of a promise comes true in a stable. I want to live in constant hope for redemption for the world we live in, I want to yearn and search and struggle with what it means that a Savior is coming, like the wise men, shepherds, and priests of Jesus’ day. I want to live in constant expectation of a Holy God who is present and will return to his creation that is groaning with it’s need for a final redemption. 

“That’s Not Me, We’re Not All Like That.”

Last night, at a work event, I met a new friend.  Our conversation started with work chatter, but quickly shifted into our backgrounds and passions.  She works primarily with Kurdish and Arabic families – helping them navigate systems in the US.  She speaks multiple languages, and has experience acculturating to America, herself.

As she was talking about the families that she works with, and her own transition to life in Tennessee, she stopped and thought for a moment and said, “You know all of that stuff going on around the world in Africa and elsewhere.  That’s not me.  We’re not all like that.”  And she stopped and looked cautiously at me, wondering how I would respond.

I had a million thoughts in that moment, and a zillion things I wanted to say to her.

I wanted to tell her that I’m sorry that acculturating to the US has been difficult.  I wanted to tell her that I can’t imagine how difficult it is to be Muslim in the Bible Belt of America.  I wanted to tell her that I believe her.

But I started with, “I believe you, and I can understand why you would say that.”

I can’t begin to count the number of times that I have cringed at fellow Christians’ choices to picket, rally, and preach in megaphones and wanted to scream, “That’s not me, we’re not all like that.”

I can’t begin to number the occasions when Christians have said hurtful things, ostracized others, and pushed their religious but non-Jesus agendas to the detriment of others, and wanted to yell, “That’s not me, we’re not all like that.”

I can’t begin to list the historical woes of wars, murder, and oppressive reign in the name of Jesus that made me shudder and want to cry, “That’s not me, we’re not all like that.”

Followers of Jesus are people, not deities.  We get it wrong.  We misinterpret the Bible.  We get stuck on the wrong priorities.  We are selfish.  We mess up.

And if I want someone to give me the benefit of the doubt and not lump me into a category of those terrible Christians, then I need to give others the benefit of the doubt.  Not all Christians are the same.  Not all Muslims are the same.

The news reports from Kenya and Pakistan have been absolutely heartbreaking this week.  And as I’ve followed the news and prayed to the Prince of Peace for answers and intervention, I’ve been grieved for those who have died, for the families and friends of those who have died, and for those who caused the death and grief.

In the midst of processing such large death tolls and such unimaginable violence, it’s easy to villainize an entire group, based on a few people’s actions.  But that’s not fair.  That’s not right.  Jesus called His people to be meek, to be merciful, to be forgiving, to be kind, to be non-judgmental, and to make peace in the world.

 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth… Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy… Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.   Matt 5:5-9.

So as we interact with fellow creations of God today and this week and this month, what are we going to believe about them?  What assumptions will we make?  How will we interact?  Let’s be good neighbors. Let’s choose to believe the best.  Let’s be kind and open and learn from one another.  Let’s befriend people who don’t look, act, and believe just as we do.

Taking a Deep Breath

I refuse to write a “Dear Diary, I’m sorry I haven’t written much, life has been so busy” – esque post regarding the quiet on the blog.

Life has been busy.  I started a new position in August and my learning curve is steep.  And I haven’t been feeling completely myself for the last month or two.  To be perfectly, honest, I’ve been wiped out, and haven’t had time to think about the deep things of life, or world injustices.  I haven’t had much energy to get sassy, even on a Friday.

Yesterday was the first day that I had nothing on the calendar in a long time.  I started several loads of laundry and then took a mug of coffee, my Bible, journal, and a few books out on the back patio ready to process life with God.

I opened my journal and embarked on a rather long prayer to God, analyzing why I assumed I felt so busy, so tired, so drained, so dry.  I told God that I needed to rest, and then made a long list of excuses as to why that seems an impossible task in this season.  And then in the middle of my long whiney prayer, this big gust of wind came and blew through the big trees in our backyard, and made this loud, “shhhhhhh” noise.

I stopped writing, and in that moment, I was sure that God himself was shushing me.

I got quiet and looked up at the trees blowing in the wind and the perfectly blue sky and I listened for the first time in a long time.

photo

Yesterday, on the first day of fall, on my back deck, I communed with God.

It was so refreshing, so sweet, so good.

And then I opened up my Bible to Hebrews and read this:

“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest.”

I left my back deck feeling like I had breathed for the first time in nearly two months.

And mid-way through a Monday I still feel like I’m breathing.

And this – this feeling of breathing -must be why God instituted the Sabbath.

“You Are Healing”

I’ve been learning a lot about pain, wounds, and healing this month.

One of my biggest takeaways is that healing is exhausting.

The last few weeks have been a blur of exhaustion.  Work has taken every ounce of energy that healing hasn’t taken.  I’ve been grossed out at my body, tired of seeing medical professionals, and hopeless that my arm will ever function normally.  Nerve damage is painful.  Oozing wounds are disgusting.  Anxiety is debilitating.

I was explaining my medical overwhelm to a doctor this week, and she stopped writing, came over to me, and took my face in her hands.   She looked me in the eyes and said “You are healing.  You really are!”

At that statement, I felt release from:

Some of the worry.
Some of the disgust.
Some of the anger.

And I also felt a surge of hope.

In the midst of pain, open wounds, and sleepless worry-filled nights it’s hard to keep perspective.

Sometimes in the thick of it, we need someone who knows us or who knows what healing looks like to say “You are healing, I promise.”

To me, my wounds still looked oozy and red and hopeless, but to the one who knows healing, they looked ok.

And in the midst of darkness, ok sounds like a glimmer of hope.

Surely you know someone in your life who is wounded – our world is full of heartache and pain.  Reach out to them, take their face in your hands and offer them the hope that they are healing, because they probably don’t feel like they are.

Hope is the best balm for deep wounds.

Allison, Allison, Quite Contrary How Does Your Garden Grow?

3 months ago, we set out on the daunting task of growing our first vegetable garden.  This isn’t a daunting task for everyone, but since I can’t keep the average houseplant alive for more than a month, it’s daunting to me.

prepping the landWe spent several weekends clearing space for our garden beds.  We still have no idea what transpired in our backyard over the last 80 years, but we found oodles of glass, a full cutlery set, car parts, plate shrapnel, countless snakes, and a huge charred carpet under the area we cleared for the garden.

Once cleared, we (and by we I mean Adam) built a compost bin and garden beds.  And while he was building, I was researching what kind of soil we should use, what vegetables were good garden mates, and how to keep vermin away.newly planted garden

And then we planted our little seedlings, and we waited.  And in a very short time, we saw blossoms, and then buds, and then vegetables.  I was giddy.  It was working.  We just plated things and they grew.  I posted on social media about our success and showed everyone who would look pictures of our little veggie babies.

A few friends congratulated me while admitting jealousy because their gardens weren’t blooming, or they hadn’t had the time to plant a garden that year, or they didn’t have the backyard for a garden.

growing veggiesA few weeks passed and all of the vegetables that had started to grow, and all the blooms that had been promising just stopped growing.  It was like the garden froze.  No growth, no progress.  Friends told me to stop watering as much, and I did, and then everything looked very very thirsty and wilted.  And so I listened to other friends who said, “water everyday, don’t listen to those other people.” So I watered everyday, and still nothing.  The garden was simply unchanging.

I looked online, I talked to expert gardeners, and everyone had different advice.  A lot of the advice was contradictory.

few veggiesAnd while our garden was stagnant, others’ gardens started thriving.  I started seeing countless glorious pictures of zucchini and squash harvests in my news feed.  Friends were posting pictures of their beautiful garden meals, of their children eating the fruits of their labor, and of giving away of their excess veggies, all while I was harvesting one baby pepper that hadn’t grown for weeks, one cherry tomato, and 2 green beans.

What used to be my favorite time of the day; my garden time, was quickly becoming the most discouraging time of the day.  I would inspect my non-growing plants asking myself: Why isn’t my garden growing?  I did more research than “Plentiful Harvest Patty” over there, and I spent more time in my garden than “Instagram Ike” who can’t stop taking pictures of all of his success.  I’m doing everything I’m supposed to, and yet my garden is failing, and everyone else’s seems to be perfect.

And last week, as I stood in my garden, disappointment surfacing in the form of tears in my eyes, it hit me, my disappointment was stemming more from comparison than failure.  And as I stood there longer, analyzing our sad little gardens, and getting bitten by blood-hungry mosquitoes, I started thinking about all of the other areas in my life where this is true.

I let comparison rob me of joy more often than I would like to admit.

I can be feeling completely fulfilled in my job, content to be working with a supportive boss in a role that suits me, and then I hear about a friend my age who just did something completely amazing professionally, and all of a sudden I feel very small and insignificant and unaccomplished – and I wish I were doing more with my professional life.

I can be having a mostly content with my size day, until I see a skinny peer wearing the same outfit but better, and all of a sudden I’m hideous – and I wish I were a fairy waif.

I can be completely content in my relationship with Adam, feeling content in our communication, our affection, and our purpose, and then a friend tells me about her spouses’ new resolve to do x, y or z and I feel like our marriage is too routine – and I wish we were more like that couple.

And I know I’m not the only one who struggles with this.  I talk to friends, I see it in blogs and statuses.  It’s so easy to look at others lives and wish ours were different, that our lives were more like_____.

* The friends who take glorious vacations every other month

* The friends who look so happy in their pictures with their significant others

* The friends whose children always match, whose hair is always combed and tied back with big bows, who are incredibly well-behaved (or at least it seems so in pictures)

* The friends who are married

* The friends who are single

* The friends who have kids

* The friends who don’t have kids

* The friends who have that job

* The friends who stay home with their kids

… And the list goes on and on and on doesn’t it?  It’s so easy to compare our situation to others’ an immediately become jealous, frustrated, and even withdrawn. If we’re not mindful, we can start to look to others to gauge our emotions.  If we’re not careful, our jealousy can turn into wishing for others to experience our loss, our struggles, our pain, and our failures.

In the grand scheme, the success or failure of our little veggie patch is rather unimportant.  How is it that something as unimportant as a vegetable garden can have me so discouraged?  How can the failure of my zucchini have me unable to be happy for my friend who has too much zucchini?  How can hearing about a friends tomato success leave me feeling bitter in the produce aisle as I still have to purchase mine at the Kroger rather than plucking them from the vine in our backyard?

CS Lewis was right, “comparison is the thief of joy”.  Comparison steals my own joy, and it steals my ability to be joyful for others.

So how do we stop the comparison game?  

How have you put an end to this joy-thief in your own life?

comparison quote