I hope this finds you charged up and ready for a solid day after leaping out of bed at 4:30 to get in a good workout, soaking up some quiet time as you watched the sunrise, enjoyed a nourishing breakfast, gave warm hugs as you parted for the day...
at what point did you roll your eyes?
But why? Why do we do this to ourselves? We, and our schedules, are a product of our choices. But as I grow older, the more I realize just how much my decisions are made through a filter ofcomparison. Not conscious comparison like side by side, this or that, but subconscious navigation toward what seems to be a reasonable end based on the factors at play in figments of my soupy imagination.
The world around us subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) reinforces this comparison game every waking minute. No environment is this more apparent to me than ranching (or spending extended periods of time in wilderness but that's not a daily occurrence for me so I'll stick with the ranching example). I can have a hard day building fence in a crappy old truck yet come home feeling so enjoyably tired, satisfied, and fulfilled. That is amazing in my world. Heck, that is amazing in anyone's world! But what is even more amazing to me is how quickly I can becomedissatisfied. It's as easy as a day trip into town, 30 minutes watching TV, or 3 min. on social media. The world is constantly preaching "you're not enough", "it's not enough", "you should be here", "you shouldn't be that". So when is enough? Who decides if you're enough? Where is the relative benchmark for "enough"?
The contributions we make to our families, the land and animals under our care, and the people this land feeds are our sphere of concern and from which we should derive our daily satisfaction, provided we are caring for the land, animals, and people in the same way God intended when He created our life & love ecosystems. If we are not true to ourselves, we will never be satisfied. Our purpose can be found within our passion; our truest, God-given passions. Our value needs no proving; we can be valued no more than we already are by a God who created us on purpose, for a purpose, and loves us unconditionally. I trip myself up when I start looking around comparing my world to others. My truck to your truck. My land to your land. My house to your house. My family to your family. My spouse to your spouse. Our lives today are a culmination of our decisions yesterday. To reap a new harvest, we have to plant a new seed. The world tells us our harvest must be more, faster, bigger, stronger... and while I fully believe in relentlessly pushing ourselves to express our God-given potential in order to contribute greatly to the world around us, we need not look around for direction or approval. Martin Luther King once said; "I must pray another hour for I have so much to do today." If that doesn't make you pause and question our helter skelter rat race... "Being efficient is being effective." is another quote that jars me from my robotic stupor.Are your daily choices & chores embracing your values? Are they effectively & efficiently satisfying your sense of purpose while honestly and lovingly serving those around you?
We are often sold the lie that more stuff will make life simpler or that all we need is another vacation to get away from it all. That sounds like the most obvious oxymoron just putting that in writing but I'm guilty of it. We're masters of over complicating just about anything, even ranching. But ranching has a much lower tech ceiling than most industries because it has an innate, underground wiring that simply rejects anything but the way it was intended to function. It can operate under oppression, but to really thrive, it needs to function as it was fully intended to. In some ways, I think we are like that too. We can survive under stress and pressure but eventually our souls can only absorb so much toxicity before we begin to produce toxic fruit or go dormant. Chronic stress is a great yield sign. When we're on the treadmill and feel we're not getting anywhere, our natural reaction is to click up the speed another notch when in reality we just need to get off, reset, refocus, reprioritize. Doing what is good for the soul is often not what the world is telling us. We're the blind leading the blind, but it doesn't need to be that way. Almost every choice I can recall that I made out of some level of comparison I've felt dissatisfied with to some degree. Conversely, almost every decision I've made based upon my own, truest self, I've felt deeply satisfied with. We can make a new conscious choice, we can plant a new seed, one that aligns with our most meaningful,transcendent purpose whicheffectively and efficiently fills our souls with peace and satisfaction.
Now, ranching is not everyone's calling, it's just my tangible example. We may not all be called to be ranchers, but we are all called to thrive where we are planted... to be acommon person doing common things in uncommon ways.
Much of our physical health can be traced back to our mental state. Living in a state of peace, joy, purpose, and satisfaction can cure a lot of comparison symptoms.