Yesterday was a really great day.
I mean, it's been a great few days, but yesterday was particularly wonderful.
To start with, the spring sun is now warm enough to make longboarding my main form of transport. Which is awesome. And makes my journey to church a mere 8 minutes.
And church yesterday was great. I just love my church family here in Sapporo so much! 🙂
Afterwards I was helping some friends of mine paint the ground floor of their hostel/bar… Which involved some DIY shopping trips, skateboarding lessons, and enough hours spent painting the ceiling that my arms are killing me today.
And finally, my friend threw a party which involved some super encouraging conversation, spontaneous live music, and the most delicious food!
It was a great Sunday.
So great I thought my heart would burst at the end of it.
But there's a spiritual point in all this.
Yesterday I was painting my friend's hostel/bar. Actually 3 of us were painting the downstairs, which is a pretty huge area. So we all had different jobs and parts to do.
I was painting a chalkboard wall, and part of the ceiling.
My friend was cutting in on another part the ceiling.
My other friend was cutting in and rollering yet another part of the ceiling.
We shopped and painted for about 5 hours.
You couldn't really see the finished picture for a lot of that time. Just three people, standing on ladders and sheets with their arms in the air and paint dripping all over them.
Sometimes I felt a bit concerned that I wasn't as fast as my two friends. Sometimes they looked over at my kick-ass cutting in skills and felt a little intimidated. Sometimes we couldn't really see what the other people were doing at all, so were left to wonder about their progress.
And at the end of the day, the job was finished. And I think finished to a really high standard.
But thing is, I read this quote earlier.
Comparison is the thief of joy.
And it made me think of my painting experience.
And how if I'd been caught up in comparing the speed of my painting or the talent of my skill, or the choice of my brush, to my friends, it would have robbed all of the joy from what was a great afternoon.
Now don't get me wrong. There are times that we learn from each other and inspire each other and help each other out (like when my friends gave me an extendable roller to reach the ceiling with because I'm so short!), but that's different from comparison, right?
If we're constantly comparing our physical beauty, talents, weight, fashion choices, relationship status, career success, academic achievement, wealth and life story to others and feeling inferior as a result, we're not able to enjoy true and genuine friendship with them.
We're not really able to be inspired by them.
Or learn from them.
There will alway be a barrier in our connection with them and between us.
Because we're not loving them rightly.
Now I understand it. There have been seasons in my life where friends have shared that they have feelings of comparison towards me, and there have been times where I have been guilty of having those same feelings towards others.
But it's super damaging to ourselves, to our friendships, and actually hurtful to others.
We're not loving them rightly. But more than that, we're not loving ourselves rightly. And even more than, we're not really loving God rightly.
Because in the place where comparison is robbing me or robbing you of true joy, we're not really listening to the words our Heavenly Father is speaking over our hearts and into our lives.
So my simple thought today, as I reflected on some amazing times…. Is that I want to fall so in love with Jesus, that He gives me an identity unshakeable by comparison.
And that from that place I could become the kind of friend who can love others without restraint.
That having holy friends would inspire me to holiness.
That having beautiful friends would inspire me to embrace my own uniqueness.
That having fashionable friends would inspire my creativity.
That having popular friends would give me boldness in my own outreach.
That having friends at a variety of life points would cause only prayer to rise up from deep inside me.
That having talented friends would inspire me to use my giftings to the us.
Because just as comparison can be the thief of our joy, so can a genuine embracing of others from a place of unshakeable security in Jesus be the restorer of so much joy.
I'm so thankful for my friends.
For the precious, stunning ones that I am privileged to do life with. For the ones who are truly the iron that sharpens me.
And that's a Monday-wrap!
Enjoy some weekend pictures!