Just Don’t. It Gets Ugly.

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Don’t try and be someone else.

It’s ugly.

Children will have nightmares about you.

And dogs will howl through the night, keeping your neighbors awake unnecessarily.

My friend, Jason Rodgers, sent this to image to me, and I realized (as if I ever needed reminding) that I’d make a terrible girl.

But it raises a great question. No, not what florist I got those flowers from. Why do we try and be something we’re not? Why do we endeavor to copy those we admire?

The problem with comparing ourselves to others we’re envious of is that our eyes are on processing someone else’s value instead of our own. Likewise, we tend to glorify their successes and minimize their failures, all the while reminded of our shortcomings without entertaining any rebuttal proposed by grace.

We spend our time wondering, fruitlessly, how we can attend to the same problems that others are already fixing, instead of discovering the opportunities intentionally positioned around us by divine assignment for us to address.

And most tragically, we rob God of the creative joy he is entitled to receive, from fashioning a wholly-unique expression of himself on the earth, when we dismiss the brilliance of his craftsmanship in us by betraying it for a substandard replication of someone else that we were never meant to emulate.

Learning to be comfortable in your own skin is imperative to leading a purpose-centered, unencumbered life.

If we’re bound to clone anyone — which it cannot be dismissed that that tendency lies firmly ensconced in our nature as humans — the sole model can only be Jesus. Better said, the only way we can most authentically be ourselves is to be as much like Jesus as we can.

When we see ourselves, we become deformed; when we see Jesus, we become transformed.

Pastor Kris Vollotton

Jesus is ultimately qualified to empower us in the midst of our emulation to become more like him. This is not to say that there’s isn’t value in admiring Christ-like behavior we observe in others, both sacred and secular; such acts point to something eternal, and such role models serve us well. But a likeness of anything is never a substitute for the real thing.

So, eyes off others, and start enjoying just being yourself. God kinda’ likes you. And you’ll find it works best when you’re emulating Jesus.

ch:

Who ‘Dat Is?

I arrived at church last night wearing a costume.

After landing in DC and connecting to “Sara-cruise” (as the flight attendant kept pronouncing it), we made great time from the airport and I was able to catch the last few minutes of New Life’s annual Harvest Party. Always an epic event.

My children hadn’t seen me in 6 days, and they hadn’t been informed of my surprise arrival. So I tracked each one down as they were all in different parts of the building engaged in various candy-gathering activities. And each time they looked at me, first with blank stares for about 3 seconds, shock for 2 seconds, hugs and kisses for 4 seconds, and then right back to their activities.

What was I wearing?

Street clothes and a hat.

Seeing anyone after an absence makes even the most mundane costume extravagant. At least for 5 seconds. ch:

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The Art of Celebrating

Serious question:

How do you feel when someone else wins?

No, stop. Don’t lie. I mean really wins. Like, your best friend wins on a $30 million lottery ticket.

What’s your first thought? OK. And your second?

Ah, see, there it is. “Me.” Somehow, “I” enter the thought process much more quickly than I’d like to admit. “Self” wants to participate. Instead of purely celebrate.

Last night Luik was told he would be heading home to Grandma Jo-Jo’s house.

Alone.

He was thrilled.

His older sister was not.

Parenting boys means keeping after the purely stupid things they do for no other reason than to see what happens. Parenting a girl means keeping after drama. Lots of drama.

When Eva finally started to descend from the delirium of her self-centered throes, I talked her through the concept of celebrating her brother’s blessing.

Now, mind you, Luik is by far our most sensitive, most sincere child.

Here’s what happened:

Eva walked into the living room to see Luik all dressed up and ready to go. She’s hugged him, still half-sobbing, and said, “Congratulations on getting to go to Jo-Jo’s house.”

Without missing a beat, Luik said, “Congratulations on getting to stay home.”

Of course all the adults in the room bit our fingers and held back laughter, trying not to ruin the lesson of the moment.

But what was the lesson? Perhaps there was more than just the obvious.

Learning to celebrate one another’s victories – and identify with defeats – is a core value of the Kingdom (Romans 12:15). In fact, much of the political turmoil I see in our nation could be averted if we’d kill jealousy with a healthy dose of genuine celebration. Entitlements to those who have worked hard to be entitled is a virtuous thing. But further still is the citizen of the Kingdom who understands he/she is entitled to nothing. Breathing is a gift. But the polar opposite is the person who feels they are entitled to anything at the expense of everyone else. This is the attitude of a child who was never properly parented.

But there is another lesson:

Learning to see that right where we’re standing is worth celebrating.

To Eva, going to Jo-Jo’s is going to Disney World. But she failed to see the value of where she was. In a home, with her family, and a new baby brother. Even though Luik was excited to leave, he was genuinely happy for Eva who was able to spend more time with Baby Levi and the family.

I’d say nearly every American – including myself – is so focused on what we wish we had that we fail to see the incredible blessing of what we do have. Correcting such an attitude is at the core of a contently lived life.

So try wishing yourself “congratulations” today. Not for where you’re headed. Or what you someday want. But for where you are right now.

Congratulations! ch:

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