Can Comparison Ruin Your Time with God?

by Debbie Wilson @DebbieWWilson

“What did you want to be when you grew up?” our small group leader asked. One by one, people offered sensible vocations. “From the time I was a boy, I wanted to be an eye doctor,” my optometrist said.

“I wanted to be a preacher and pound the pulpit,” a Christian worker chuckled. 

The leader turned to me. Unlike the rest of the group, I couldn’t recall one serious aspiration and couldn’t bring myself to admit I’d wanted to fly like Peter Pan or ride horses and catch bad guys like Annie Oakley.

My second-grade teacher once wrote on my report card, “Debbie does good work but daydreams too much.” Didn’t all children carry fairies to school? Little did I realize these were clues as to how I would someday connect with God.

Do you feel like your relationship with God should look a certain way? Do you compare yourself with other people and berate yourself for not being like them? The Psalmist wrote, “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it” (Psalm 139:14 TLB).

God made us multifaceted and different from each other. He didn’t create a bunch of sock dolls from the same ball of yarn. He knit you together in the perfect way to reflect His glory and display His creativity. If no two fingerprints are the same, why would we think God expects everyone to relate to Him the same way?

When my children were babies, our church had a place for nursing mothers to feed their infants. While chatting with another nursing mom, I mentioned the quiet time I spend with God at night. She straightened her shoulders, and huffed, “We are children of the light.”

If it is supposed to be darkest before dawn, I wondered why she boasted about meeting with God then! Maybe she’d never read God neither slumbers nor sleeps. Seriously, this woman’s rigid perspective showed in her countenance and outlook on life.

That’s why I appreciate hearing women from different ages and stages of life share how they connect with God.

One young mother and pastor’s wife, who grew up dancing, said music speaks to her. Today she uses music to direct her thoughts to God.

A busy working mom listens to a Bible app while she rides her stationary bike before dashing off to work. She uses car rides to share devotions with her teens.

Another gal prays when she walks her dog.

One of my romantic friends views her quiet time as a date. She looks forward to spending time with the One who knows all about her and wants to share life with her.

Another friend, a busy CEO, wife, mother, and volunteer in many ministries, starts her day with a Bible study and a kale/jalapeño smoothie! If she has to catch an early flight, she carries her devotional on the airplane.

An older widow sings hymns when the house grows dark.

For me, daydreaming contributes to my joy in studying and teaching the Bible. I like to put myself in the story and imagine how I’d have responded to those same circumstances. People in my audiences have told me those passages have come alive for them because of that perspective.

God tells us to delight in Him. That means spend time with the Lord in the way that draws you close to Him. Don’t be afraid to try different times of day and forms of Bible study. Just spend time with Jesus.

Take delight in the Lord. Psalm 37:4 NIV

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

TWEETABLE
Can Comparison Ruin Your Time with God? – encouragement from @DebbieWWilson on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Drawing from her walk with Christ, and years as a Christian counselor, coach, and Bible teacher, Debbie W. Wilson helps women give themselves a break so they can enjoy fruitful and grace-filled lives. She is the author of Little Women, Big Godand Give Yourself a Break. Her latest book, Little Faith, Big God, was released in February 2020.

Little Faith, Big God: Grace to Grow When Your Faith Feels Small by [Wilson, Debbie]

She and her husband Larry founded and run Lighthouse Ministries, a nonprofit counseling, coaching, and Bible study ministry. She is an AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) certified speaking and writing coach. Debbie enjoys a good mystery, dark chocolate, and the antics of her two standard poodles. Refresh your faith with free resources at debbieWwilson.com.

Join the conversation: What helps you connect with God?

Lost in Chicago

by Janet Holm McHenry @LookingUpFirst

Have you ever gotten lost? My husband Craig doesn’t let me forget about Chicago.

We were driving from California to Washington, D.C., for internships in the capital. Those were back-in-the-day days. No GPS. No Google Maps. Just an old-fashioned paper map in my lap the whole trip.

Yes, I did a little driving myself: from Wells, Nevada, to Wendover, Nevada—all of fifty-eight miles. He still kids me about that.

It’s hard to get lost when you’re simply on Interstate 80 the whole way, but for some reason the signs were not helping in Chicago in the middle of the night. We took a wrong turn trying to find a campground. It cost us maybe an hour’s time in the whole mess.

There were two problems: first, it was dark, and second, everything is flat back there. We Californians, who tend to orient ourselves with our mountain ranges, tend to get lost in flat spaces.

I feel as though I am wandering in the dark right now without GPS or Google Maps. The days blend into each other. Work and home all look the same. My wardrobe is the same from day to day: yoga pants and a t-shirt. The only day that breaks up the routine is Sunday—with a worship service or two online from the living room couch.

The truth is, though, that we always have a directional finder: God’s Word. Every day we can open the Bible up, ask for God to direct our reading and thinking, ponder a bit about what we have read, and lean into the purposeful living that he graciously provides.

There are a few ways to actually dwell on or meditate on God’s Word. One is to approach the Bible with a pen or highlighter. With a pen, I find my reading becomes a search. I ask God, “Show me your good word for me today. Show me what I might share with others.” And he always does. I will underline any verses that seem to stand out to me.

Another way is to journal a Bible pictorially. Each day I will choose one particular verse to sketch out with colored pencils, then illustrate with a simple drawing. This slowing-down time of pictorial journaling helps me think about the verse I have chosen and how it might apply to my life.

One other way to make reading the Bible purposeful is to journal a Bible for someone in the family. I have been reading the Bible all the way through for about twenty years, but for the last five years I have journaled Bibles for my grandchildren, starting with the oldest. I think of the child as I am reading and look for ways to encourage him or her with personalized, marginal notes, verses, and drawings.

Word studies are also fascinating in the Bible. In the back of most Bibles is a concordance, which is an alphabetical list of important words found in the Bible. For example, if you were feeling dry emotionally, you could look up the word water in the concordance and find refreshment. Or if you were praying for a family member to be healed, you could look up the word heal and receive hope and direction for ways to pray.

All of these practices help me see the Bible in fresh ways as I seek direction for my own life. However we choose to study the Bible, we will find it gives us a sound roadmap for our day’s decisions, our relationships, our attitude, and the words we share with others.

He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths. Isaiah 2:3 NIV

TWEETABLE
Lost in Chicago – encouragement from Janet McHenry @LookingUpFirst on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author:  Janet McHenry is a national speaker and the author of twenty-four books—six on prayer, including the bestselling PrayerWalk, which has encouraged tens of thousands to pray for their communities while they walk. Her business name is

Looking Up! because she encourages others to seek the Problem Solver, who can do the impossible. She would love to connect with you : https://www.janetmchenry.com.

Join the conversation: What is your favorite way of taking in Scripture?