Tuesday, February 4

A new perspective

January is over, and we are here for it.

Think back over the social media posts you've read over the last few days. How many have said something like "January is the longest month!" or "Thank God January is behind us!"?

Isn't it interesting that we approach January 1 saying "Hurray for new beginnings!" but by the time February rolls around, we're sick of the new year? Some research indicates that 80% of new year's resolutions are broken by the second week in February.

It seems that our new year's resolutions, however well-intentioned they may be, aren't serving us very well. Why is that?

It's not because we don't have the right tools. With dozens of apps on our smartphones to keep us on track, we're able to keep up with all kinds of details.

It's not because we fail to write down our goals. In fact, even with the use of smartphone apps, the sale of paper planners and journals has skyrocketed in recent years.

So why are we failing to keep our resolutions? I think it's because so many of them start from a bad premise. It's because so many of our resolutions are based on comparison.

Think about it. How often does your new year's thinking run along these lines?

She looks so pretty! I need to lose 20 pounds so I can look like her.

Their house is amazing! We need to complete six projects to make ours look better.

He's in such great shape! I'm going to start going to the gym every day so I can get in shape, too.

Their life is so organized! We're finally going to declutter so we can be that organized.

There's no denying it: when we begin with comparison, we end up dissatisfied and disgruntled.

How to rethink your goals for the new year

There's a better way, I promise—and it all depends on where you start.

Instead of beginning with an eye toward how you stack up against others, start from a place of assurance. No matter what elements of your life you'd like to change, you are deeply loved and genuinely liked by God. You may not believe that you are loved and valued, I know. But disbelief doesn't alter the facts.

We compare ourselves with others because we're seeking assurance. We're unsure of ourselves, and we see that others seem to have what we want.

But comparison doesn't bring the assurance we crave. Comparison usually leads to one of two outcomes: either we feel less-than, which can lead to jealousy or envy, or else we feel greater-than, which can lead to arrogance and disdain. Those are all soul-crushing outcomes.

So we need another source of assurance, and we can find that in the God who loves us with an unshakable love.

If you want to lose 20 pounds or start exercising, that's great. That will be good for your health. No doubt it will make you feel better and will give you more energy. But you don't need to lose 20 pounds in order to be lovable and valuable—you already are.

If you want to get more organized and declutter your house, good for you! I'm trying to do this myself. But we don't need to get organized in order to be loved—we are loved already.

Let assurance, not comparison, shape your approach to this still-new year. Let the "new year, new you" pressure roll off your back. The old you is dearly, deeply, eternally loved.

Want to know more about escaping the trap of comparison? 
Read Mythical Me: Finding Freedom from Constant Comparison

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