Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Comparisons can bring death or life...what will you choose?

Quite a title that, don't you think? Here is a little background before I step onto my soapbox.

By chance I read an online interview where the mom being interviewed mentioned some of the things I do in my home. It wasn't nasty in anyway but she portrayed what I do as something that made her feel inadequate as a mom to her own children.

Socks I will one day knit.
I spent Sunday evening, after having read this interview, asking myself "Why am I doing what I am doing?". I certainly don't cook from scratch, grow my own veggies, equip my children with lifeskills, take them on trips to the UK in their 15th year or try to live an eco-friendly life for anyone elses benefit but our own. I also do not do these things to boast or to make others feel bad about what they do or don't do in their own homes.

This blog is an online diary of our lives, the changes we have made since 2008 and our attempt to live how we believe the Lord is calling us to live. My Simple Green Living website is an extension of that, but is more about the "how to" and "why to". If in either place I can help, motivate or encourage people to do better in their homes, with their children or for our earth, then that is a good by product.

Asparagus - 4 years of love
So, when you sit down to read my blog, or in fact any other blog, make sure that you realize that it is someone sharing the best of their lives. Would you honestly look forward to me showing you my overflowing laundry basket before we get to it? Would you be inspired to do better if I shared the flopped cakes and dinners? I don't think that reading someone elses daily stuggles with unwilling children is either edifiying or right (and it would be an invasion of that family's privacy.)

I have only a handful of blogs that I follow, a few more that I read intermittently. Besides for 1, they are all close friends of mine and I know their struggles behind their "shopfront" blog. We all struggle...the Bible promises us that we live in this world as aliens until we go to our Heavenly home and with this life comes struggles...I just do not choose to share them on my blog.

When I read peoples blogs that show their fabulous knitting projects I normally have one of two reactions:
1. Someday I will knit like that!
2. Gosh she is talented!

Preciou baby lamb a.k.a Jungle Dog
The same goes for most blogs when I see gorgeous homes that are decorated so tastefully, or food that is photographed stylishly.

The thing is that if we read other peoples blogs and are continually feeling bad about ourselves then I believe the Enemy is using those blogs to bring death and defeat into your life and home. My advice: stop reading blogs and live YOUR life.

1 Thessalonians 4:11 instructs us to "mind our own business" and Titus 2:5 instructs woman to: "to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good". I believe that blog reading has it's place. I am often inspired to try something new in food, lifestyle or garden because of what I have read somewhere. There is no wrong in that - it's the virtual backyard fence that we as woman can chat and learn from one another.

Spuds - real hit and miss.
But when blog reading takes up your time instead of you living your life well with your families, then you have a problem. If you are going through your day thinking you are not good enough, start removing the distractions from your life - be it Facebook, Blogs, Twitter, Websites or phones, and then grab your life, YOUR REALITY, with both hands and start living it.

We should always be willing to grow, to change, to try something good that is new. Don't let comparisons hold you captive and stop you living, and enjoying YOUR life in your home, with your family and in your particular circumstances.

Stepping down from my soapboax...how do you feel?


Anonymous said...

Besides when subscribing, i've never been 'here', but i just had to pop over from reader to say; well said! and keep doing what you do.

i better get back to my pot now, before it burns

Taryn @ Hayes Happenings said...

It's a good thing that you didn't raise this when I saw you this morning, otherwise I could've kept you busy for hours! :) This is a topic that is close to my heart.

I agree with you 100%. I think that most blog readers can be divided (albeit simplistically) into one of two groups. Namely, those who generally walk away inspired and those who walk away deflated. I think that personality mostly dictates how we react. It's much easier to naturally be the "inspired" person. I (and you, it seems!) fit into that category. So it completely befuzzled me when it came to my attention that people could be seriously tripped up by others' blog posts of their "highlights". I tended to view blog posts in the same light as you - "wow! I could never do that, but how cool is that?" or "that's amazing - I want to do that someday/try that in my home." I seldom get tripped up by even overt boasting, if the content is great and it's something I want to use/copy/aspire to.

But the reality is that that is just how I'm wired. For someone who finds blogs more a hindrance than a help, it seems to be hugely difficult not to compare their lowlight's with the blog's highlights. Which is why I think your advice is excellent. Rather not read and trip up on our own weaknesses. I've had to learn that in other areas of my own discontent and/or sin. Stay away from that which causes me to downward spiral into discontent and trusting self above Christ! Not easy, but certainly wise advice!

Last thought - for bloggers like you and me who have come to a point where we recognise that many blog readers struggle with the "shopfront" experience in relation to their own lives: I think that if we understand that, it's perhaps it's helpful to be more transparent on our blogs - writing about our tough days as well as our great days, or ensuring that our writing is humble/balanced. I have no problem with a proud mama blogging her child's achievement, but there are ways in which it can be written that is more helpful to others. Of course, we can't account for every reader's reaction, but I do think that it's worth keeping them in mind. What do you think?

Lol - and here end's my blog post on your blog post! :) Thx again for this morning. It rocked!

Keren said...

Shew...a lot to digest! I think that reading others blog posts is always inspiring and fun. Usually it spurs me on to try something new or I think, wow that is great...would love to try what others get up to. I love your posts and they have often been a source of help when I need to find out something.

Wendy said...

oops that was me not Keren

reginascottage said...

great post! i agree with you!!!!!!!
i like your way...keep doing what you do!!!
blessings regina

africanaussie said...

If it wasn't for reading other blogs I would never have tried half of the tropical veggies I now grow. I recently wrote a post titled "does blogging make you a better gardener" and I definitely feel I am a better gardener because of my blogging.. I admit sometimes it can become a bit addictive, but that is just a sign to cut back and get on with living! Thanks for your thoughtful post.

Lynette said...

Thanks for all the effort you take to write this blog. I recently became interested in vegetable gardening and started reading blogs to find different ways of doing it. I am a different person after seeing the inspiring things people do.

My compost bins are up, my worm bin is built and awaiting its first worms. I have even made my own laundry detergent and shower gel today, things I would never have done if I did not start reading. We are changing the way we live because of this. I even made your gnocchi with spinach tonight! It was delicious!!!

Thanks again and keep it up!

Wendy said...

You are all so kind with your comments and I am thrilled that you are able to be inspired, not overwhelmed, by your reading.

Taryn, I do agree that we should be real with the readers of our blogs, just somethings are private but YES! I agree.

Wendy & Regina & easyupstream, Thank you.

African Aussie and Lynette, I think this is the way it should be - read, do what you can and live your life.

Thank you all for sharing!

Linnie said...

Thank you Wendy! As always you are speaking my heart! I totally agree, after the third or fourth time reading about your struggles alone, I would not looking forward to read your blog!
Much love

Anonymous said...

So true! I've been inspired by so many of your recipes, frugal ideas and gardening tips! I thought of you as the girls and I wrapped newspaper pots for our winter veggies today!
We can keep it real while still maintaining our privacy. I had to write the disclaimer on my blog, "This is just a peek into our lives ..." because of an accusatory comment, but I trust that I can encourage others ... like you do!

Taryn @ Hayes Happenings said...

Oh Nadine! I'm sad that you've experienced that :(

I completely empathise! I understand the need to make sure that our readers "get" that our blogs are only a small glimpse into our lives, and usually the better part at that. I've also got a 'disclaimer' of sorts on our blog for similar reasons. I really had no idea, in my early blog writing days, that my excited enthusiasm could be construed as boastful or cause another person to stumble into discontent/covetousness.

@Wendy - absolutely - lots of things are private and we can't bare it all! :) Keeping it real without airing the dirty laundry is what I hope is conveyed at Hayes Happenings. :)

Hill upon Hill said...

I agree very much.
Another reason that I like blogs is that it makes the world seem closer. I used to live in South Africa and your little window into a life lived there, is a wonderful gift to me.

Ordinarylife said...

I just found your blog today while Googling heirloom seeds. And I know a lot of bloggers have mentioned this before. I realise that not all of your life is shown, but take inspriration from what is.
Well done.