Comparison and Contentedness

One of the worst habits I deal with on a day to day basis is comparing myself to those around me. Are they skinnier than me? Prettier? Smarter? More successful? More spiritual? In a happy relationship? If there’s a way in which I can discover a new failing within myself, I’ll latch onto it. It’s been going on for years, but it was only the other day, after finding myself crying in bed following a conversation in which my friend told me about her happy new relationship that I began to realise the extent of the impact it was having on my life.

My own life is not terrible, by any stretch of the imagination, and that’s something those around me frequently bring to my attention. “But Georgie,” they say, “you have an amazing job/you’re doing really well at uni/you have these awesome friends/your family are so supportive/you just won a trip to Paris/etc./etc.”. It’s at this point that I bring out one of the most used phrases in my vocabulary – “yeah, but…”. Instead of accepting the positivity they’re offering me, rather than seeing my life as it appears to outsiders, I’ll whip out my half-empty glass and go on to complain about everything wrong with my life. All I can think is “well, if they have it, why can’t I? I’d finally be happy if I had that”. Instead of counting my blessings, I’ve become obsessed with my perceived burdens. I’m single. My anxiety makes it hard for me to participate. My job can be stressful. I could be doing so much more than I currently am, I should be doing so much more.

Somewhere along the line, I missed the lesson on being content with what I have, with what God has given me. I managed to become obsessed with what I could have, rather than being thankful for the blessings right in front of me.

A few months ago, my mum decided to do one of those gratefulness challenges on Facebook. At the time, I laughed at her, but I’ve come to realise that I should be adopting one myself. Living moment by moment, day by day, and focusing on all the things I’ve been given rather than all the things I’m missing out on is the first step to potential happiness.

God has these amazing plans for our lives, plans that He mapped out for us before we were even born, and they are so much better than we could ever dream of. But we need to trust in Him and His timing, or we risk sabotaging everything He is working towards in our lives. If I spend too long stuck in my room crying about what I don’t have, I might miss out on what I could have, on what God wants me to have. Remembering we’re all on our own journeys, and at different stages of said journeys, is something I really need to work on. Life is not a race, as much as I feel like it is at times. Nobody wins for getting married first, or for having the best career at the youngest age. That’s just not the point of life, and I need to stop believing that it is.

Overcoming my comparison problem and finding a content heart is not something that is going to happen overnight, but I do believe that it is something which I can conquer (with a lot of work, and help from God).

So, today I am grateful that I am currently spending a week at home recharging my batteries, and that my plans for tonight involve eating one of my favourite meals, and marathoning Psych season six with my parents. Sometimes it truly is the smallest things that can make our souls the most joyful.

georgie x

Frangi Faith: Choosing To Believe In A Secular World

Long time readers of my blog would know that my faith is somewhat of an ongoing journey. I call myself a Christian, and yet there is still so much exploring and development that needs to happen on my behalf.

I was not raised a Christian, per se. I was taken to church from a young age, but we never read the bible, we never prayed, we never spoke of God except in general terms. I suppose you could say I was lead to the water, in that my mum would take me to church each week, but drinking from the water was entirely my decision. I am the most religious person in my extended family. As far as I know, I’m the only one who owns a bible.

I have never had a close friend who has been a Christian. And so, a question I am often asked, is “how can you believe in God in modern society?”

I’m not someone who blindly believes. I have done a lot of reading and research and contemplating. My faith is not something I was forced into, or something I wandered into. It has been a completely conscious decision. Sometimes I disagree with the church, especially on issues regarding marriage equality and abortion, but those are discussions for another time.

So, given this world we live in and the circles I tend to frequent, why do I choose to believe in God?

Under no circumstances would I call myself a science student (I almost failed year eleven biology, which was the last time I took science, and was two years ago). And I don’t want anybody to think I’m disproving evolution or the big bang (nobody ever said God didn’t create those, as my current pastor says. We are not those crazy Christians who think the world is 6000 years old). But the way I see it, we can’t just be here. I honestly do not believe that through a random twist of circumstances the beauty of this world just happened to occur. There has to be a plan. Something bigger than us had to be behind creation.

I’ll be honest in saying a large part of my faith has to do with the unconditional love offered by God. As many Christians are, I came to my faith a broken person. And God offered me love and support and the fact that He will always be there for me. And I will admit, that that sounded like something I could get used to. The idea that I’m not alone, that there’s someone out there who will always love me no matter how much I screw up, is an amazing thought. And while people may say that that’s a silly reason for turning to God, that you’re just looking for support and not truly believing, that’s not true at all. It is through my devotion to God that I can understand his unconditional love, not in spite of it.

So many people today get caught up in tiny issues to do with Christianity. Issues that get mentioned in one verse, or are the opinions of an Apostle, and not of Jesus himself. And, atheists are usually only looking for the bad. So they grab hold of the Christians who have more conservative views and make an example of them, saying “Look! This person believes that homosexuality is a sin, therefore all Christians do, therefore we hate them!”. But in doing that they ignore the majority of Christians who do not share in this view. They ignore the Christians whose hearts are full of love. Because that is what Jesus taught. To Jesus, there were two commandments important above all others, and they were to love God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and to love your neighbour as yourself. That’s the root of God’s message. LOVE.

I once read a quote by Ghandi that said “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ”. And that is the very root of our problem with Christianity. Non-believers see the hateful spite of confused “christians” and ignore the absolute beauty and love of true Christianity. As Christians, we were called to Love. Not to judge, not to hate. Our role as humans is to spread love and compassion to all we meet. That was what Jesus wanted us to do. And so many Christians get so caught up judging and hating, that they forget that Jesus said “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. They forget that Jesus would eat with the tax-collectors and the prostitutes. Jesus didn’t judge on face value, he treated everyone with equal respect. God will judge everyone when it is time, but until then, it is our job as Christians to spread the message of Love and Acceptance.

I am a Christian, but I believe in equality. I believe in acceptance of all. I believe in spreading God’s love to everyone, regardless of where they’ve been, or where they currently are. I am a sinful human. I have no right to judge or to think I am better than anyone else. No Christian does.

So, I live in a secular world. A society where Christianity is often looked down upon and scorned. I want to work in an entirely secular industry. An industry which often goes directly against what God has said. And yet, I am a Christian. I feel called to work in the secular media industry, and try to change it for the better. I am a Christian because I see the unfailing love of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ every day. From the amazing opportunities my life has handed me on a silver platter, to the simple act of laying in the grass and watching the clouds on a warm day. There is evidence of God everywhere I go, and I am too convinced of it’s existence to believe otherwise. The world may want me to deny everything I can feel in my heart, but I am not here to serve the world. I am here to serve my Lord, and no matter how much I get scorned for that, I know it is the Truth.

I respect atheists. I respect people of all religions. I am not judgemental. I will not force my religion on you, or try to convert you. But I am a Christian. My heart is filled with the love of my God, and I am called to spread that love to everyone. And sometimes that is hard, because people are annoying. And sometimes faith is hard, because depression is an ugly illness where there is sometimes no light or room for faith. But even in the darkest moments, there is a light deep inside me, a voice whispering in my ear, “I am here”.

I choose to believe because to me, all signs point to God. And I respect that you may believe otherwise, but please, I just ask that you do not discount Christianity because of negative experiences with other Christians or churches. I have had those experiences too, but the true wonder and majesty of the Lord is waiting for you, and I can promise there is no hate. It’s just love. Pure and unconditional, and waiting especially for you.

frangipani princess xoxo