If you’ve been following along, last week I launched my November Gratitude Challenge
with an idea to keep a Field Journal tracking moments that filled your heart with thanksgiving.
Here were just a few of mine:
- Baking a pumpkin pie with fresh pumpkin after Halloween (and seeing my kids faces watching the food processor blades whir as they realized that THIS is how “canned pumpkin gets made”)
- Wearing a sleeveless dress on a perfectly sunny 70 degree November day…in Ohio.
- Having a sweet friend offer to bring me a coffee from Starbucks – her treat 🙂
- Watching the lights go down and curtain open on my daughter’s first scene in Annie
- Finding a long lost sparkly headband at the bottom of a bag of hair accessories
It’s almost always the little things that get me when I take the time to notice.
I hope you’ve found that using this “gratitude lens” has shaped how you saw each day. By all means continue this practice if you choose, but this week, I’m also issuing Part Two of the Gratitude Challenge.
The Comparison Shift
Many of us find ourselves playing the Comparison Game every single day. We’re “not as thin as her” or “not as successful as her” or “not as good at motherhood as she is.” It’s such a normal part of our lives that we may not even realize we’re playing it anymore – it just feels like LIFE.
Well, guess what. When we play this game, we lose. Every time.
So this week I’m challenging you to play the game with a new twist – one that’s designed to get you to see your life with a fresh perspective.
I want you to intentionally find someone who you see as LESS fortunate than you…and live in her shoes for a day. If you can literally trade positions with someone else, that would be extremely powerful. But since it’s kind of hard to do, most of us will instead replicate elements of someone’s circumstances within our own households to feel what it’s like for a while.
Here are a few ideas of how it could work:
1) Maybe you take on life as a single mother, not asking your husband to do ANYTHING for a week (no help with cooking or cleaning, running errands, supervising the kids while you are out, or taking out the trash). You’ll do it all on your own this week as though he weren’t there at all. (Oh, and cut your husband’s income out of the picture too!)
2) Perhaps you take on life as a mom of a very sick child, allocating multiple hours a day for doctors’ appointments, insurance phone calls, and treatment administration. (You will need to just sit and do nothing for the time these tasks take since you won’t actually have the appointments or treatments, but you can’t use the time for anything “productive.”)
3) Maybe you live on one quarter of your normal budget for a week (food, entertainment, gas, etc.). What food can you still buy and what must you forego? How far can you drive? What activities do you normally do during the week that have to go by the wayside?
4) Perhaps you borrow a wheelchair and use it for a week (no driving, no stairs, no walking). What everyday tasks take longer or are more difficult? Which ones aren’t possible at all? How is your attitude affected by this new limitation?
Note: Are there blessings in each of these lives above, mixed in with the hardship? Of course there are! Joy can be found in any circumstance. The point is simply to see YOUR life with renewed gratitude after living without some of the things you may be taking for granted today.
At the end of your week of living in someone else’s shoes, ask yourself these questions.
Which elements of my everyday life did I start to miss the most?
What simple blessings in my life have I been overlooking?
How has my perspective changed about the people living in my community with the life situation I chose?
What do I feel called to do to ease their burden?
This comparison shift is one you can make in your mind any time you choose. When you find yourself comparing yourself to those who have MORE than you, flip the switch to imagine life having LESS. Your gratitude cup will overflow.
Take the November Gratitude Challenge with @CherylanneSays and the Comparison Shift.