It’s Monday morning, and she is up trying to prepare everyone for the day and week ahead. She is exhausted, the house is a mess, she can’t find anything cute to wear, and her kids have awful bed head with no time to fix it as they rush out the door. She gets in her car and lets out a big SIGH! Today she feels like she failed…at keeping up the with Joneses. But who are these Joneses anyway?

Do you ever feel like you are just too tired to keep up? Do you ever wonder who these evasive people are that we are constantly trying to keep up with? I mean, who declared that the Joneses get to set the standard for our lives?

Many of us would like to say that we don’t care about keeping up with the Joneses, but really we can’t help but compete to stay caught up even when we “don’t try” to do so. I am one of these people. I try to pretend that I don’t care what people think, and that I don’t want what you have – but the reality is that I am human – and to some level I do care what you think and wonder how I measure up. Sometimes I see how other people appear to live and wish I could live their lives. I wish I could be as creative as this mom/wife, or wish that I was as dedicated to working out as this friend, or even had as much money as the neighbors.  What drives me and you to make these comparisons? Why do we feel the need to feel inadequate and continually strive to be like someone else? Maybe what we should remember is that every family has their own set of hardships, their own difficult days. I love the old saying "The grass may be greener on the other side, but it still has to be mowed!".

I believe it’s the human sinful nature that drives us to do this. When I am focused on who I am in Christ I care less about these comparisons and more about what the Lord thinks of me. But when I lose sight of who I am in Christ I am overwhelmed with inadequacies. I find myself walking around feeling not good enough to be your friend, or not skinny enough to wear stylish clothes, or not creative enough for my kids to be proud. I tend to feel like I don’t measure up to what I “think” other peoples standards are for me.

With all the instant connection to the outside world through technology today, it is easy to get bogged down in this thinking. With social media sites like pinterest, facebook and twitter we can instantly see and know exactly what people are doing. Even on the news today they do a segment called "What's Trending" that just focuses on what people are doing and saying on these sites! Sometimes its better to just stay away, get unplugged. Quit trying to find out what the Joneses are doing. Maybe it's time we quite telling other people what it is we are doing and who we are doing it with. Maybe we should just be and live and not broadcast it to the world, nor should we be seeing what others are doing to find out if we are measuring up to this imaginary standard...maybe?

We spend so much time and energy judging from appearance, not just judging others but ourselves. I literally can go from a good mood to a bad mood just by spending too much time in front of the mirror. Does this ever happen to you? If so you are not alone – but chances are – your friends think you look great, in fact, if everyone lives in the same mixed up “world” that I do – chances are one of your friends, acquaintances or even a stranger is probably looking at your wondering how to achieve your look that sent you into a downward spiral!

Here are some tips on how to hopefully overcome these feelings of not measuring up:

  1. Don’t compare incomes – in fact remember why you made the choice you made that led to the income you have. For instance, for my family, we chose for me to not work a full time career so that I could have the privilege to be home part time with our children. We could bring in up to twice as much money if we chose – but we do not – we feel our reward is sufficient.
  2. Quit spending so much time in front of the mirror. Your children think you are the most beautiful person they've ever seen. Your husband probably doesn't really care if your make up is perfect, and who has time to analyze themselves when there is so much to do anyway?! Get out from in front of the mirror, and go do something productive today!
  3. Set your standards and values and be proud of the life you've chosen or the one that’s been given you! Don’t try to change yourself to fit the mold of someone else’s life. Enjoy the one you've got. Enjoy your smaller (more affordable) home. Feel proud to drive your fuel efficient car instead of that giant gas guzzler “everyone else” has. Appreciate the job you need to work to help provide for your family. Be glad you only spent $6 total on your child’s Wal-Mart outfit instead of the $60 the next person paid for their boutique one. Whatever your circumstance, be proud; find the positive in all areas. If you are blessed to be able to have the $60 outfit – be proud of that and wear it well! Just choose to love the life you live.
  4. Quit trying to please everyone! The most important people in your life is your family. Within the walls of your home create ways to please the people that live with you. If you and your loved ones are happy and pleased with one another, who cares what everyone thinks about you! Your support system is at home, your fan club is waiting on your arrival when you get off work. They are the ones that matter most!
  5. Finally, or maybe this should be number 1 – learn who you are Christ. Find out what the Lord thinks of you. He’s the one that created you, just the way you are. He is the one that designed you with all your quirks that make you unique from that person you are trying too hard to be like. He created you to be an individual. You are the reason the world is an exciting place and not a boring one filled with the same old types of people. Imagine it if we all really did keep up with the Joneses… we would all be alike and there would be no diversity. If you would like to see an exhaustive list of scripture that tell about your identity in Christ please click here.

One last thought…if we aren't sure who the Joneses are – why are we letting them dictate how we live our lives? Do you actually know any Joneses? I do…and they don’t actually lead a life that would have the world chasing after them…just think about that…and SIGH a big SIGH of relieve that you haven’t caught up with these mysterious people. If everyone is fed, clothed, and well by the end of the day, I’d say you kept up just fine!

Until Next Time, Be Blessed and Be a Blessing...