First comes the wedding. Then comes the marriage.

Hey Hannah!

I am two months out from my wedding and I wanted to see if you had any advice for self-care and creating balance amidst the craziness. I never like to hyper focus my efforts on one thing, so I don’t want to get too wrapped up in the wedding things because life keeps going outside of that! My fiance and I also just bought a house in January so we have been in the process of making it a home. Things have been busy!!!

Basically, I want to know how you would go about savoring these big and exciting moments while also making space for myself and my normal, everyday life things? I know the wedding stuff will be over before I know it and will never happen again, but I can’t help but think that there is more to life in these final 60-ish days of our engagement besides wedding planning spreadsheets and minute details that likely nobody will notice when the day comes. I always like to be working on making myself the best possible version I can be, so I don’t want to lose that just because I have a lot going on. 

Thank you for listening to my ramblings!

Best,

H.


Sweet H,

Here is a list of things I remember about my wedding day:
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1. The look on Lane’s face as I walked towards him. 
2. A swarm of my favorite people crowded around a burger truck outside. 
3. The way the room felt during the ceremony: we got married in an old library and I just remember the room being drenched– absolutely drenched– in the presence of God. It’s a hard thing to explain but it’s a feeling you cannot shake. 
4. Wishing I could sit with every guest and talk for two hours. 
5. Ditching the heels for Adidas sneakers before my dress was even on. I bought these beautiful Nine West heels and they never even made it out of the box. 
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I remember the little details. I remember what the letter board signs said. I remember the wildest dance floor that I had ever experienced in my life. I am not kidding you, this thing was wild. I remember the countless hours Lane and I spent leading up to the wedding day writing handwritten notes to every guest in attendance. I wanted everyone to feel chosen. Hand picked. Letters have a way of doing that for people. I remember sending out a Starbucks gift card to all the wedding guests the week before the wedding and people emailing us back selfies with lattes.
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A lot of the big details are a blur for me. Some are captured in photos. I don’t remember a thing I said to Lane during the ceremony, only that I cried quietly in the business area of the hotel that morning as I wrote my vows (yea, I waited until the last minute).
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I remember the way we exited the venue. How everyone dunked their palms into buckets and pulled out a handful of fake snow. I remember Lane and I running hand-in-hand as people threw the snow on us. It was magical. It was one of those rare days where everyone gathers in one place to celebrate love.
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Savor the little things, H. As the days crawl closer (or maybe they are running at this point), savor the tiny things between the two of you. Make space to laugh. Talk about things outside of the wedding planning. Remember: the wedding is just the beginning. It’s a single day. What follows after the wedding is the thing that takes the real work.
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It’s easy to get swept up in seating arrangements and the color of tablecloths but there is something more serious, more important at stake here. You are getting married. You are making a covenant in front of people. You are choosing a hard pathway, a pathway that ends 50% of the time in our culture. I remember telling myself as I planned, “Don’t think for a second this is about a dress or a cake. This is about a partner.”
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See your future partner above the party. Plan the marriage as you plan the wedding because that plan is going to matter very soon.
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Lean into building the strongest foundation for your future marriage. This is the part more people should write about. People love to write about the extravagant details of a wedding. I think we need more commentary on the extravagant details of marriage because they do exist.
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I’m not a marriage expert so I won’t pretend to be. But I do know this: the wedding sealed us, bound us together, but it is every day after that wedding which makes us who we are as a couple. We are defined by our love. We are defined by how we handle conflict, how we resolve the arguments. We are defined by whether we stay or run, whether we keep promises or keep secrets.
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When the day is over, all that is left is a dried up bouquet and the vows. Invest in the vows daily. I believe this is incredibly essential within a world that tells us, “Do what feels right.” I think we have feelings for a reason but if I listened to those feelings of mine all the time then our fights would never be resolved, I’d always get my way, and we wouldn’t grow closer in love.
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Vow to choose one another daily. Say to one another, “In this crazy world where it feels impossible to choose a coffee option off a board at Starbucks or choose a laundry detergent from the cleaning aisle at Target, we are choosing. Hallelujah, we are choosing!”
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One last note: What I remember most about that day is that the dance floor was filled with every person in my life that I loved and cherished. All in one place. Never to happen again. I remember going up the grand staircase in the middle of the party and just watching everyone down below. I remember my brother and cousins lifting Lane into the air during the crowd surfing and me thinking, “Wow, this is the best feeling in the world. How, in moments like this one, do I ever doubt God?”
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I think the very best thing you can invest your time and energy into before the wedding, during the wedding, and after the wedding is the same: people. Other people. The people who helped you build your love story brick by brick. The people who will be sitting in the chairs. The people who are lifting you up to heaven right now without you even realizing it.
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Yes, people will have their eyes on you that day. But be sure to look around at everyone gathering with you on that day. These are your people. These are the ones who choose your love story. Some of these people will be pillars in your story. Some won’t stay forever. Whatever the outcome, these people matter.
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I am learning if I spend every single day seeking to make people feel loved, chosen and special then I can never lose. I can never really say a day is wasted.
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Invest in yourself. Invest in him. Invest in the future marriage. Invest in the people. I don’t know much but I know these are the things that matter.
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Have some sweet advice for H? Please write a comment below. I know she will be reading and it’s beautiful when we can use a forum like this one to connect with one another.

Just do one thing.

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Its been one of those weeks for you. You know the kind.

The to-do list is long. You’re looking at each item– a thousand small tasks sitting with each one– and thinking to yourself, “How? How am I going to do all this?”

Breathe. Take that moment. Do one more thing.

Anxiety wants to tell you that you can’t possibly get it done. You can’t make an impact. You can’t make a difference. Anxiety wants you to sit down and spin your wheels with all sorts of thoughts you were never meant to hold in your tiny hands, “Am I good enough? Do I have what it takes? Can I really make this happen?”

You. You’re the right person for the job. This list of things for you to do isn’t accidental. You’re more equipped than you think. You’re more capable than you imagine.

I know these things about you because I daily speak these truths over my own life. I call my husband and I find myself drowning in self-pity as I whine into the phone, “I can’t do it. There’s too much. I feel incapable.”

It’s a pity party. A short dedication, a party ballad, to all the ways I think I cannot possibly make it happen this week. I’m good at hosting these parties. They do not last long since my husband never wants to attend these parties of mine. I can sit and eat my pity cake solo or I can grow up and go forward.

But then I sit down. I do the first thing. I do something that seems completely manageable. It leads to something else. Soon enough, the tension eases up. I realize, “I’ve got this. I can do this. I am equipped for this.”

You’ve got this. What you have to make sure you do is actually show up for it. Show up and then keep showing up. Fear wants to draw a map for you but it won’t ever lead to a good and proper destination. It will always leave you lost. Aimless. Striving.

Babe, this life isn’t about striving. I’m young but I can say that with the fullest confidence. If you’re striving at this moment then I know more about you than you think: I know you’re exhausted. I know you are trying to perform. I know you are pushing things out there into the world just hoping they will stick.

It will burn you out. Because you were made for brighter things than constantly trying to measure up to a standard that isn’t real.

You’re not drowning. You’re not too far gone either. Just take that spare breath- it’s always there waiting for you. Make a list. Pick one thing to tackle.

Just do one thing.

Want to write more this year? Let’s roll!

hey you!

Just a note: this is the last time I will be offering a live digital version of my writing class! If you’ve wanted to grab the class live then this is your chance! I’ll be offering something new in the Summer but this course is the last of its kind!

xoxo,

hb.

I used to be a drama queen when it came to writing. I would claim I couldn’t write until “inspiration hit.” And you know where that got me? Missing out on a lot of writing that would have just happened naturally if I’d been so inclined to just quit being dramatic and get my butt in the chair. I had to stop telling myself these lofty lies about my writer dreams and just say, “Okay, I want to write as much as possible. I want to see what comes out of me when I sit down to write. I want to do this thing and love this craft with everything I’ve got.” Change your mindset and you end up changing the whole story.

The thing is: so much of writing is discipline. Discipline is not a sexy word but it’s essential for anyone who wants to figure out what they have to say and be someone who actually does the writing rather than just talking about writing “one day.” My writing course is about discipline (and storytelling, Taylor Swifting, platform-building, and vulnerability).

I created this course in 2015 after I realized there was a large pocket of people who wanted to write more. More books. More blog posts. More copy. Even more journal writing. I have LOVED teaching so many creatives, bosses, students, and lovers of the written word how to finally sit down and just do the dang thing. I would love for you to join the community of over 700+ who’ve taken my writing courses.

WHO:

This class is designed for anyone who wants to write more. There is no skill level required to take this class. Just come ready with a notebook, pen, and a willingness to learn.

WHEN:

Saturday, April 21. 12-3 (est), 9-12 (pst). Can’t make the date? You can purchase the class and get the materials delivered to your inbox. Go at your own pace and still join the community! You won’t miss a thing!

WHERE:

Online. No need to go anywhere. Come in your jammies if you please!

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT:

This 3-hour online intensive will be broken up into two teaching parts + an extended Q &A for all participants (with short breaks in between to refuel with lots of coffee).

A NOTEBOOK WITH LOTS OF PAGES IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR THE FOLLOWING:

  • Teaching Part 1: the writing process.
  • Teaching Part 2: storytelling.
  • Lightning Round: branding 101 + building a platform
  • Extended Q&A (you get to ask me anything!)

TOPICS WE COVER:

  • The elements of compelling storytelling
  • Breaking the fear
  • Developing voice
  • Connecting with readers
  • The art of Taylor Swifting
  • Consistency & control in writing
  • Vulnerability hangovers
  • Finding direction with a crowded writing world

YOU’LL GET ALL THIS WHEN YOU SIGN UP: 

  • A recording of the teaching.
  • All handouts + material used in the course.
  • Invitation to a closed writing community//alumni group after completion of the Writing Intensive.

 

The Better Guide // March Edition.

Welcome to Issue 3 of the Better Guide! 

This is my monthly guide– a most-random resource list of all things food, drink, faith, fitness, and fun. I publish this guide at the end of every month (consider it a wrap-up of the last 30 or so days) and I am making a single promise to you in creating and curating the resource list: I promise to seek the better. I promise to gather resources, apps, news, and test them out first. I’ll be the guinea pig, ready to report back my findings. I promise not to report things that are fake, way too much money, or will ultimately do nothing for your life but distract you. Life is precious and I ain’t toying with your hours nor could I ever, in good conscience, recommend a $600 gym bag to you. I promise to be fair, real, transparent, and ultimately focused on the better. Better health. Better work. Better relationships. All the better. 

Thank you for your patience (I know I am 4 days late to publishing this guide)! I’ve been under the weather and fighting off the pollen here in Atlanta but I’m happy to be back on my feet and feeling better.


Better Reads.

  • This book has been around for the last year and a half but I am just picking it up. And y’all- every chapter preaches to me. If you’ve ever felt left out or uninvited, rejected or looked over, then I would recommend this read. It will be a healing balm to your soul.
  • I am about 100 pages into this book and currently LOVING it. It’s worth the rage (everyone seems to be talking about it)! I am looking forward to a weekend in Savannah reading this book and getting to finish it off.
  • My girlfriend just sent me this link to Refinery29’s 2018 book list and there are just so many good reads listed here. I am definitely going to be referring to this list throughout the year whenever I want to read a book that is profound, impactful, and fierce!

Better Brain.

  • This January and February, I wrote my first Bible study. It’s been a longtime goal of mine. I wanted to create something free for my readership and this is the result: a 15-session study on following Jesus in a follower-obsessed culture. I hope you enjoy!
  • This is a really good read. I am someone who uses and advocates for medication for those who need it but I think we all can take something away from getting a little exercise into our day-to-day routines!

Better Listens.

  • Okay, maybe it seems as if I am on the Caroline Leaf train but the woman knows her stuff. If you’re wanting a podcast to learn more about the brain and just what social media is doing to it… check out this one and then follow up with this one. You’ll learn so much in just 20 minutes.
  • Our pastor Ben gave this message last Sunday on shame and Y’ALL… it preaches. Dig in and move forward!

Better Travel.

  • I don’t read many blogs but I am heavily invested in a few of them. One belonging to this girl. She recently paired up with Target to create a luggage line for families and I’m a few pennies away from buying two of the suitcases. Finally, luggage that is stylish but not too expensive!

Better Tech.

  • I’ve been scheduling out my social media lately. I still use social media to engage with others but I can attest to feeling like I’ve gotten a chunk of my life back by using this tool. I’m still able to lift & encourage others without feeling like I always have to be posting on the fly. I went ahead and invested in a year subscription and so far it has been the best office subscription of 2018!
  • Has anyone tried these? I would love your opinion! I’m thinking of investing in these for my workouts and would love to know what you think.

Better Eats.

  • I’m loving this easy hack article about how to make a cheese plate on a budget. This article is a game-changer for the party hosts reading!
  • All the yum! We still love to cook Whole30 style meals even when we aren’t doing some crazy food diet!
  • This is my go-to. I find myself craving it on a weekly basis.
  • If you love cooking hardboiled eggs + have an Instant Pot then this recipe will blow your mind! Easy-to-peel eggs! Finally!

Have a suggestion for the April Better Guide? Get at us. 

Mapping my weeks: my current favorite productivity hack.

*image cred.

I’ll just start by being honest: I went through a series of weeks at the beginning of this year where I wasn’t getting anything done. The slump didn’t last all that long but while I was inside of it, feeling like I was just treading water but not making an impact, it felt eternal. My time felt spread too thin. I felt chaotic whenever I would go over what needed to be done in my mind. I wasn’t making progress and I was getting sucked up by distractions.

I was wasting time on social media. I wasn’t writing. I was doing a series of menial tasks and making no real advancement towards projects that actually mattered to me. But in the last few weeks, everything changed.

I’m a sucker for productivity hacks. I live for them. However, I am learning that everyone operates differently. What works for me may not work well for you. Regardless, I think we all need some systems in our lives. Systems stabilize. Systems clear out the chaos. Systems help us get stuff done. 

I believe we are living in an interesting time where people talk (really loudly) about life and living life but aren’t actually doing it. I feel like we’ve become spectators. Some of us have stopped doing the work. We’ve lost hours to social media and it’s time to claim back that precious time. At the end of the day, I believe the most valuable resource I have at my fingertips is time. I plan to use it wisely. I plan to be a doer, not getting to the end of my life and having to say, “I watched too many people live. I never thought to put down the phone and own my life instead.”

You being here matters. You get a designated load that has your name on it. You get the chance to leave your fingerprints on the lives of people and projects. But no one will know if you never wake up and live. No one will bother to write an article about you or thank you for your service if all you ever do is sit back and scroll. I’m not trying to be harsh, I’m just needing to be honest.

One system I’ve been implementing every Sunday is taking an hour or so to map my week out and make a massive to-do list. This happens before I do anything else.

It looks like this:

 

And this halfway through a week:

What the colors mean:

Yellow highlights: There are a few tasks I will highlight in yellow before I go over them in orange. The yellow tells me something: this is a task you are planning to get done today. It helps me to see what takes priority on a Monday or a Thursday. It’s a bit of a roadmap in a sea of tasks.

Orange highlights: Plain and simple, orange means completed. I get so much satisfaction out of getting to check something off the list.

What gets listed:

It’s basic. There’s no huge science to it. I only include what is necessary for that week and I do not allow myself to overflow into the next set of pages. My whole week exists on two pages and it allows me to believe I can conquer what is to come.

Tasks & projects:

I write down all my work-based and personal tasks that are necessary enough to make the to-do list. I dump my brain out onto the pages of a bullet journal (yes, I am obsessed) and I get to it. Sometimes I miss things that needed to be added to the list but if the task is something that can happen the following week then I slot it away for next week’s workload.

Where to be: 

I keep a running list of places where I need to be throughout the week. Mind you, I use a monthly calendar on a daily basis. I don’t leave home without it. I am proud to say I am still functioning with a monthly paper planner in an iPhone world! This monthly planner is my roadmap for the week but the “where to be” section of my list preps me to show up for these events, meetings, and occasions.

If you introvert hard like me then it can seem like getting over a mountain just to jump on a phone meeting. The homebody inside of me wants to stay in my creative zone all day and talk to absolutely no one. Being able to highlight these meetings off my list upon completion helps me breathe knowing I showed up and made it happen when I wanted to stay in sweatpants all day.

Self-care:

I can guarantee that no self-care would happen if I didn’t add it to the bottom of my weekly lists. I list simple things like a workout, a study session with my Bible, and personal tasks that are good for my heart. Last week I challenged myself to mail two love letters to people in my life. This week I’ve been tracking all the foods I’ve been consuming to get extra protein into my diet.

I used to struggle with self-care because it seemed selfish to me. I now believe self-care is the opposite of being selfish. When you take care of yourself, you are able to take better care of others. By getting a workout in, studying my Bible in the morning, and checking a number of water bottles off my list, I can give people the best version of myself. Taking care of yourself matters. Don’t be afraid to make it a priority.

A note to the hustlers with anxiety:

I feel you. And this productivity system of mine was largely created because of all the anxiety I deal with throughout a given week. Yes, I face anxiety but I refuse to let that anxiety hold me back from all this week has to offer me. What this system does, more than anything else, is give me a map. I need a map. Otherwise, I tread water. I fill the air with self-deprecating words about myself. I fail before I even begin.

I can honestly say that since beginning this system, my productivity has doubled. I’ve yet to have an unproductive workday with this list in front of me.

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Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

Some tips to get you feeling productive:

What you likely don’t need right now: It’s very likely that you don’t need another planner. I love planners and I love supporting planner companies. But I used to be a chronic planner purchaser. I would buy a planner whenever I felt like I wasn’t being productive enough. I would blame my old planner and think the solution was a new planner. Turns out, the planner wasn’t the key to the productivity. The key to productivity is simply putting your head down and doing the work. Easier said than done, right?

Start before the week begins: I’ve reoriented my weekends in the last few months. Sunday used to be my day of ultimate rest but I’ve recently shifted that day to Saturday. Saturday is my actual sabbath where I don’t do any work, don’t bother checking email or being “on.” I relax. I eat brunch. I sip my coffee slowly (after sleeping in). I spend time with Lane and friends.

It’s honestly my own fault that Sunday became more of a workday. A few months ago, I was failing to write the Monday Morning Email in advance and it ended up being a Sunday night task. I don’t recommend waiting until the last-minute but establishing Saturday as my Sabbath has freed me up to do a little work on Sunday. That might seem crazy but a) I love my work and I am happy to do it any day of the week and b) I really love getting a head start on a Sunday evening. It relieves the pressure that so often comes with a Monday.

Diversify the tasks: I write it all down. Everything. Writing down only the big tasks can be overwhelming and writing down just the little ones seems trivial. When I look at my list, I am able to choose. I can choose to dive into a big task I know I want to tackle or I can start getting into the workflow by tackling something little. I don’t scale my tasks in order of importance. If it makes the list then that means it is important to try and accomplish the task that week.

People, Plans & Projects: This is what matters most to me. I wrote a blog about it last year if you want to know more about how I manage my priorities in these 3 areas!

Eat the frog: My friend Christina told me about this method and it really is a game changer. Look at your own to-do list (if you’ve got one). Locate the task that is the most important but also the one you’re most likely to procrastinate on. That’s your frog. Your frog is the thing that NEEDS to get done and may even take only 10 minutes to do but you’ve been dreading it. Don’t delay any longer. Do that thing. Make it happen. I try to “eat the frog” every week, early in the week. It helps me look forward to the tasks on my to-do list rather than dreading the things I have to do that week.

Airplane mode: This is a huge key to having a productive week. Be willing to turn off the noise to plug-in and be productive. Social media is great but does it really make you more productive? When was the last time watching other people live their “best lives” helped you go out there and tackle Monday? I use airplane mode heavily throughout my weeks. Social media can wait.

I am very productive: Ever get to the end of the week and feel like you’ve done nothing? This hack helps you defeat that feeling. I can look back on the last few weeks and see all I’ve done, all I’ve accomplished, and all I’ve managed to steward well. It’s pure proof that I am productive, moving forward, and making little dents in my corner of the world.

 

 

I am planning to let this system evolve and change in the next few weeks so let me know in the comments if this was helpful or you want me to write more about these productivity hacks and systems. I am always happy to share my process as I grow and learn! 

 

Honesty Hour: Celebrate good times… come on?

I want to be a party person. This is what I’ve recently decided.

My mother is a party person. She knows how to celebrate with the best of them. She brings the instruments. She orders the things off Amazon. She makes the person at the center of the celebration feel chosen. She rallies hard for others because people deserve to be rallied for. And I’ve decided that this is a great goal, a worthy goal for my life: to be more of a party person with each passing year.

My first roommate in Atlanta was a party person too. She would transform our backyard into this mystical celebratory land. She would blow up the balloons, buy the cake, and the celebrate the guts of this life. What I admired most about her is that she had no problem planning parties for herself. She loved to celebrate things like birthdays because it gave her this chance to thank the people who’d played their role in transforming her and remaking her.

 

I’ve always been an unnecessarily fear-filled party planner. I’ve planned the parties, I’ve partaken in the celebrations, but I am always waiting for this doom-filled reality to show up that no one is coming to my party and no one wants to celebrate me. Where does that come from? Why are we so eager to pump ourselves full of fear?

Celebration is actually spiritual discipline. It is commanded and it is a well-loved tradition of the Bible. So I am determined to get over this “not worthy of celebration” feeling in my spirit before I hit 30 in a few months.

 

So I am craving your wisdom and want to use this comment section to have a dialogue. Pick a question below to answer in a comment:

How do you celebrate the good in your life?

How do you get past the fear of celebrating yourself?

What do you think of birthdays: yay or nay? Anything special you look forward to each year?

What’s a favorite tradition you think I should adopt?

How can you and I better celebrate in 2018?

Let’s talk! 

Slow to know your role: a note on comparison.

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We dressed up, shared an $11 appetizer that was really just a dolled-up version of pork rinds, and walked down the busy street, hand-in-hand, to the theatre together.

It was date night and I’d been waiting all month to see the show RENT. I’ve never seen the musical before but it’s on the musical bucket list I keep in my brain. Some people want to skydive or make it to the Grand Canyon before they die. I simply want to see Hamilton, the Book of Mormon, and Les Miserables.

At intermission, I touched Lane’s arm and said, “We are in the company of some serious RENT fans.” It was obvious five minutes into the show. These people were hardcore. They knew when to stand. They knew when to clap. This was an audience that had definitely seen the show once before if not 5 or 6 times. They knew when to laugh. They knew when to rally.

I listened to conversations of the people around me during intermission. They bantered about how they really preferred this actor in this role or that actor, the one they saw in the New York production, playing that character.

These people knew the play. They knew what to expect. They knew the words by heart.

 

As we watched the second act I had a strange thought. I kept thinking about how these people sitting to the right and left of me would absolutely know it if all of a sudden someone did not play their role. If someone sang a different song altogether or chose to never enter the stage on cue. People would notice something was off, someone was not playing the role they were called to play.

(Sidenote: This is what it is like to go a musical, show, or movie with me. I can barely stay present to whatever is happening on the stage in front of me because I am too stuck in my heading having an existential crisis about life that will eventually morph into an essay I publish on my blog. Yes. Here we are.)

Admittedly, I felt a little lost the whole first act. I felt like I was floundering to understand the plotline while everyone around me was already revving up for the next song. But in act 2, things began to click. I began to see the plot and feelings emerge. I even knew the words to two of the songs. I was pumped to join the chorus of voices singing low to the right and left of me. Together, we all hummed.

 

Lately, I’ve been digging into the issue of comparison when God and I get together in the mornings. I ask some questions. I dig for answers. I take notes. I am curious about what comparison does to our souls.

I’m naive to think comparing ourselves to others is a relatively new concept. I think it has always been there, the issue is just hyper-intensified because of social media.

Ten years ago, you didn’t know what everyone else in the world was doing on any given Wednesday morning. You compared yourself to people in the neighborhood or people in your classroom. Now we’ve got this chance to compare ourselves to millions of others. It’s a little terrifying to think about for too long.

I read a story about Peter the other morning. If you don’t know anything about Peter of the Bible then let me just give you the nutshell synopsis: Peter is a gutsy fisherman who Jesus places a lot of stock in. Jesus, upon meeting Peter, basically says to him, “Hey, I want to give you a different name because I don’t think the name you currently have is bold enough for you. I am going to call you ‘Cephas,’ which means ‘rock,’ because I want you to be the rock I build my future church on.”

No pressure.

But Peter is pretty confident. Annoyingly confident. His confidence gets him into trouble a lot and I think that is because Peter tends to rely on his own strength above everything else. Our own strength only gets us so far. He ends up doing the one thing he told Jesus he would never do– denying him right before he is crucified– and one would imagine Peter was heaped with shame, guilt, and grief because of that denial.

But here’s the better story: Jesus uses him anyway. Because that’s the kind of guy Jesus is. He meets up with Peter after he has died (we can dig into that one another time) and re-commissions him. He doesn’t take the mission away from Peter because of faltering. He forgives him and then basically says, “It’s time to get back to work, Peter.”

I can just hear God saying that so gently to me, “It’s time to get back to work. It’s time to get back to work.”

I was blown away the other day when I noticed what happens directly after Peter is re-commissioned. His slate is wiped clean by literal dead-but-not-really Jesus and Peter, likely not 5 minutes later, asks Jesus, “Master, what’s going to happen to him?” I see Peter pointing his envious little finger at another man Jesus was investing in.

I want to shake Peter. Really, dude?! You just got this clear go-ahead from Jesus and you are worried about someone else?! What is this?!

It’s proof to me that we all struggle with comparison sometimes, even these figures of the Bible who we wrongly think were untouchable struggled with the heart stuff. Clearly, this comparison meant something to God to be included in the text.

Even when life is good, even when we’ve gotten the clearest message from God that we are okay and we are on the right path, we still look for excuses to size ourselves up to other people and their callings.

 

I’ve learned that comparing yourself to other people just sucks the joy out of your own path. To live in constant comparison mode is to live imprisoned to a false target. It has nothing to do with those other people. Your aim was never to arrive at someone else’s destination so why bother focusing on it?

People notice when you are not playing your part. They know when the script is off.

We all miss out when you don’t show up to play the role custom-made for you. But there is magic– untouchable magic– that emerges when you step out into the world dedicated to being yourself. People can tell when you’re walking on the right road. They see it.

I want to believe the more we live out what we know we are called to steward, the more we give other people the courage to do the same. We stop living such a small existence, hyper-focused on things we have no control over.

We start to grow. We start to see each other. We start to be real characters in the story, not two-dimensional people governed by fear. We evolve and we step into what we were made to do. That sweet rhythm that might not show up until act 2.

And there, in the middle of act 2, things to start to click and people start humming anthems all around you. This strike of confidence hits you in the heart. You whisper under the breath, “Yes, I know the words to this song.”