everything and no less

Several months ago, my mother-in-law handed me the book So Long Insecurity: You've Been a Bad Friend To Us by Beth Moore. She said the book struck her and that many of the words impacted her. Having been a reader of Beth Moore's for years, I was excited to get my hands on the book and dive into the words.

At first, I read quickly. Nodding my head when appropriate and marking pages. But then life got busy, and I stepped back from the book. (I say it was because life got busy but really I think it's because the book dealt with many of my own "heart issues" and I needed a break from it.)

I recently picked the book back up and started reading right where I left off. I haven't finished it yet, but I am getting there.

I'm soaking in the words. I'm allowing them to speak truth to me. I'm healing from the pain my own insecurities have caused me. I'm reminding myself that I have no reason to be insecure.

My mother-in-law was also the one to introduce me to Working It Out by Abby Rike. I think my mother-in-law has intuition when it comes to knowing what I need to read and when. I also think know that it is no coincidence that I'm reading both of these books at the same time.

Even though Working It Out is meant to be inspiring, I also find it daunting. In so many ways, it makes me feel insecure about my own life and my own journey. Because if Abby Rike can lose the weight and move (somewhat) forward with her life after losing her husband and two children all at once, why am I struggling? It's the same thing with shows about weight loss and renovations to homes for deserving families. The story also revolves around people who are doing amazing things despite the odds stacked against them.

I am always inspired by these stories. But I am also always left feeling like I am lacking in so many ways. Like my life doesn't come anywhere close to measuring up. Like I have no reason to be frustrated or upset or tired. Like I need to get over all these small struggles because so many people are facing so much more.

And while it's good for me to recognize that I can do more with my life, it's not good for that recognition to turn into comparisons that lead to feeling insecure.

In So Long Insecurity: You've Been a Bad Friend to Us, Beth Moore shares a story about a girl who initially lied about her testimony because she felt like her real testimony was lacking in some way. Comparing herself to others, she decided that as her life had had no "real" adversity that she needed to create "adversity." So she created a story about how she lives the life of a stripper (I believe) before being saved and changing everything about herself. Eventually, she told the truth. But before she told the truth, she made that decision to lie. All because she felt like she was lacking.

It's something I so sensitive to right now. It's a struggle I have. I can compare myself to everyone around me, but at the end of the day, comparisons mean nothing at all because my life is completely different - and for a reason - from someone else's life.

I try to be careful about what I share here. I limit talk of dieting and even on the exact exercises I complete. Because I'm afraid I might be judged for doing too little. Or of not trying hard enough. But also because I am afraid someone else might judge themselves in comparison to me. And that is the very last thing I want for anyone.

Being alive is hard enough. And I think, in many ways, being female makes it even more difficult (though I realize men have their own struggles to contend with). But to add into that moving from one phase of your life and into a newer and healthier phase? It's almost impossible.

But it isn't fully impossible. If you do the work. If you continue to move forward. If you never give up. Then it can happen.

But for all of that to happen, there needs to be no more comparison. This is where I am today. I'm listening to other's stories. I'm finding pieces of myself in their story. I'm seeing that if they can do it then so can I. And that is as far as I am letting it go. I stop myself before I have a chance to think about how they are so much better (smarter/thinner/healthier/more committed/etc.) than I am. I stop myself before I think about how I have nothing further to bring that someone else hasn't already brought. I do not allow myself to think that it's not worth sharing my story because it is nowhere near as inspiration as someone else's.

What would have happened if someone else had thought? What if people had allowed the comparisons to stop them from every moving forward? I can't say for sure, but I think the world would be a much dimmer place.

I know it's easier to compare yourself to others. I can so easily point out the positives in someone else, but turning around and looking at myself makes me feel like such a phony - like all I am doing is trying to make myself feel better. And while I think there are some people who make too much of themselves, I know that's not what I am doing in the situation. What I am doing is convincing myself that I too can be healthy, that I too can run on the treadmill with an incline, that I too can continuously increase the amount of weight I lift.

My story might not be as inspiring as someone else's. I might not be rising from the same amount of ashes as someone else. I might not have as many obstacles to overcome. But my story is just that - my story. Just like your story is your story.

And every story deserves to be told without comparison.

(title from "take it all" by adele)

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