Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Stealing Joy

I had heard of it, in passing.
I even recognized the characters’ names, somehow?
But I had never actually engaged. 

Through the advice of coworkers, two weeks ago I began watching episodes of FixerUpper.


I’ve had a strange urge 
to burn our house to the ground 
ever since.

For the three people left in this world not familiar with the show (I was one of you, only weeks ago), Fixer Upper is a home improvement show hosted by a young, charismatic couple that transforms dumps into dream homes…in one episode…with humor…and a perfect budget.
Every project they complete is fresher, brighter, and more charming than anything I’ve ever lived in. Sorry, Momma.
They just don’t build shiplap bathrooms made to house frozen baby calves over night.

Chip and Joanna are like your admirable, adorable older cousin and his wife who live states away that you keep up with only seeing the highlight reel (Christmas letter). Even after seeing them every so often (Tuesdays at 9:00 EST), you leave feeling just a bit envious of the amazing work they do, the ease of which they do it and the allure of the Texas life they live.

And that’s why 
I have a terribly hard 
time watching the show.

I have to tell you something.
In hopes that maybe by telling you – and only you – I’ll do a better job of holding myself accountable.
I do this thing. Not often, but every once in a while.   
I’m aware of it, only once it begins.
And I cringe each time I let myself do it.
Still, every so often, it happens again.

I let comparison creep into my mind and 
I quietly begin to discount the positive things in my life.

I see a beautifully renovated Fixer Upper house and I forget about how far along our home has come.

 Today our home is filled with ranch and family history. And walls. None of which you can buy at Magnolia Market

I see someone begin to take impeccable care of him or her self and I wonder why I’m ok with WhirleyPop for supper when Cody is out of town.

I see people younger than I chasing beautiful kids around and worry: Am I going to be an old Mom?

But isn’t it so easy? The comparison thing. 
Isn’t it so easy to watch good things unfold for someone else, then quietly sit back and think: I’d like to experience that, too. If only just a little.
In a time where we have access to every intricate detail (whether we want to or not) of a family’s highlight reel, it’s so easy to watch our own behind the scenes footage unfold, and compare. If only by saying something as simple as: I like what they did in that space; I’d like to completely renovate our bathroom. 

Side note: A plumber is seriously coming to our ancient farmhouse today – on the day of this writing. If he can’t figure out something quickly, I’m taking the lightening rods off the roof and letting the problem sort its self out. 


Comparison, in moderation, is not necessarily an evil. In fact, it typically encourages the desire to do more or do better.

So when is comparison a bad thing?
When it begins to steal your joy.

When is comparison a bad thing?
When it begins to steal your joy.

Proverbs 14:30

A heart at peace gives life to the body,
but envy rots the bones.

When you expend enough energy comparing anything that you have (or don’t?) to others, 
that you’re too worn to seek out and enjoy the wonderful things in your camp, 
the rot has already set in.

And by “
someone else’s beauty”, I mean someone else’s

Career, path or professional success
Family, heritage or history
Home, house or furnishings
Friends, social scene or status
Appearance, confidence, or closet
Health, strength or energy
Location, proximity or zip code
Winnings, success or trophy case
Body type, body type or body type
Children, legacy or rendition
Schedule, production or obligations
Someone else’s Life.

Theodore Roosevelt once said: 
"Comparison is the thief of joy."
What a simple, profound way to think of something so common in our every day life. 
Do you find yourself - if only just a little - comparing what you have to what others do? What about comparing your life's path and timeline to other people's? Why do that to yourself?  God made your life's story uniquely for you. Only you were meant to live it. 

You lock your car when running errands. 
You use a password to securely lock your personal information online. 
Certainly, you lock your home up when you leave for an extended period of time. 
Because you don't want a thief stealing the physical things that are important to you. 

So why - why - would you allow 
conscious comparing to trespass 
into your most guarded possession: 
- your heart -
so it can
steal your joy?


  1. Well said! I'm a farm wife too, living in a farm house generations before us have lived in, and we are SLOWLY updating and changing things around. I am also an "old Mom." I had our girls at 40 1/2 and 42 1/2 (you get to count the half years when you get past 40~!). Our girls are now 11 and 13! There are times I find myself comparing how I look and feel to those younger moms, and sometimes I find myself greatly lacking all their lovely attributes. Then I dig out some old pictures to see how I looked when I was their age, and I realize it's all ok. I'm in a different place than they are. WE wouldn't change our girls for anything, and there is no use wishing I was younger when I had them because, well, it isn't very productive. Same goes with our house. We don't do anything to it until we can pay for it ENTIRELY. With the lovely turn in the grain markets, we have to be more selective of the extra projects we take on. All is good time, and patience IS a virtue. Keep on shining!

    1. Lana, I love this response so much! And I'm somehow just seeing it. Your experience and path is such reassurance for me at this point in my life. Thank you for sharing - and reading!

  2. Until recently, I was one of the three people who hadn't seen Fixer Upper. But my 10 year old daughter was home a lot this summer and found HGTV (Pinterest for TV, as she sees it). I watched several episodes, love what they do to houses, but one thing bugs me...

    None of the stuff in the house is theirs!!!!

    They have basically given this family a show home to live in! Sure, it's great, beautiful, and totally gorgeous, but what about Grandma's china cabinet? Where are the pictures of the kids on the walls?

    I appreciate your perspective on Chip and Joanna. I'm lucky enough to live in a home that my husband and I built together, and while getting inspired to decorate a certain way, I refuse to let it steal my joy!!!!

    1. Oh. My. Gosh. I have never thought about that! You're so right. So where does all of that stuff go?! Such a great observation, Danica. Thanks for reading!

  3. Lindsey. I live in a house that is 100 years young It was 25 years before we did lots of things to this house outside facelift. New windows the old ones rattled when we had a storm or the wind blew. The inside is all the things we love and that are important to our family

    1. That's so true - I guess it really is whats in the home that matters, rather than outside cosmetics. It's not the home that I love, but rather the life that we live there.