Winter is a hard season. The cold weather and overcast skies takes a toll on me; they take a toll on our family. We are sunshine and warm weather people for sure. But there is something to be thankful for in every season. And there is usually something learned in every season as well as things to enjoy. So as my excitement for the coming Spring grows, I'm also trying to reflect on and grow from what has been.
Quit comparing and just be faithful.
Around Christmas time, people start sharing their gift guides. And I just love them. I love learning about new companies that have incredible hearts behind them. I love seeing others' creativity and how the Lord is working through people in this unique time in history. But as I was introduced to many young entrepreneurs and authors and creatives, I found I was quickly comparing myself to them. I saw how so many others were around my age, or younger, and had started and grown some amazing companies and ministries. I found myself thinking I had not worked as hard as I could have, I had not stewarded my time and resources well enough.
But then the Lord reminded me that obedience looks different for everyone. And being faithful to our individual callings is our obedience, our offering, to the Lord. When I compare myself to others, I lose sight of my own calling and cease being faithful to what the Lord has called me to and the people He has entrusted me with. And I have to remember that what I see online is only a glimpse of reality; it doesn't show all the necessary parts that are in place to make that company or ministry run well or book get written. I have to continually remind myself to choose gratitude and contentment while at the same time working with excellence in the things the Lord has given me to do and recognizing there is a season for everything. And I can celebrate what the Lord is doing through others while at the same time running faithfully in my lane.
Love sacrifices, celebrates, and perseveres.
Valentine's Day is a pretty polarizing day. People either feel elated and delighted in or are left feeling longing and left out. It can be a day that held sorrow or unmet expectations, regret or joy. But no matter what happened or didn't happen on that particular day, there are truths about love that are not displayed on end caps or at the movies or on magazine stands. There are books and movies and magazines making lots of money right now selling a false notion of love, a stripped down version of love. They're trying to convince us all that love requires seduction, that love requires some sort of selling of ourselves. But that just isn't true; it's the opposite of true. True love sacrifices. And a sacrificial love is far, far richer and better and sexier than any of the lies being sold to us. Love sacrifices.
On top of the things the media advertises, social media thrives on comparisons especially on days like Valentine's Day. We easily see what someone else received or is doing and start to compare. But our souls aren't meant to compete with one another or compare ourselves to one another. When we choose competition and comparison, we aren't choosing to love. Love celebrates. It uplifts and encourages. Whether in friendship or in marriage or in parenthood or wherever else, love sees another person and honors them. I was reminded to be intentional about celebrating with others in different seasons of life and loving well those who are often overlooked or forgotten on certain days. Love celebrates.
One day doesn't define your love. It seems like a simple thing to say, but it always seems necessary around Valentine's Day. Your love is not based on a single day. True love, real love shows itself through the thick and thin of many days and many nights. It shows itself in the mundane, in the mess, in all the things that don't seem to matter that much. One day doesn't display love. A faithful love lived out across the everyday craziness and commonplaceness is absolutely beautiful. Love perseveres.
Black History Month is needed, but I wish it wasn't.
Over the past couple years I've started listening to stories from people that don't look like me; I've begun to educate myself on the different experiences of others; I've tried to learn from a diverse group of people. And as February came around, I was really excited to learn more about black history. But I also heard many people scoff at the fact that Black History Month is a thing, wondering how it isn't racist. And I can understand that, because I used to think along those lines. But what it has taken me, sadly, twenty-nine years to realize is that Black History Month is so needed. It is needed because the majority of the stories and details, the accomplishments and the accounts of black Americans are not included in regular American history. Black History Month is needed because our history books and history classes still lack the complex and hard and beautiful and rich diverse history that is America's history. I wish it wasn't needed though. I wish our history lessons were complete and comprehensive. I wish we didn't still struggle with race. But we do. And while we do, Black History Month matters. It matters greatly and it is needed.
Instagram Stories are such a good thing.
This one is totally not as serious as the others. But it's still true. It took me awhile to like the latest feature on Instagram, the Instagram Stories. But I really like it. It's such a good part in all the craziness that is social media. It allows things to be a bit more unscripted; it allows people to show more of their real lives and everyday happenings. I'm always for more authenticity and more ways to make each other smile. And I think Instastories do just that.
Sarah loves Jesus and her family and is passionate about addressing the urgent spiritual and physical needs around the world. She is the wife of Spencer and mama of Katherine and Claire, and they live in Nashville, TN. She runs a photography business with her husband and writes in order to offer encouragement and invite others to choose grace, joy, and gratitude in the adventure and the mundane. She loves traveling and reading; she will choose unsweet tea over sweet and bootcut jeans over skinny; and she is all sorts of awkward with small talk but thrives with deep conversations.