Kind acts go a long, long way. This morning I was reminded of when some random people lent me and my BFF their $650 tent in the woods when we were backpacking the John Muir Trail in California in 2014. These two folks were observing our ginormous 8 pound, 8-person tent that the two of us were carting around in our already heavy backpacks and made a suggestion.
“Send your tent home and we’ll have our friend bring you guys a lighter tent when we meet up with him at the next food resupply in two days.”
We were so surprised and thankful for their offer! We agreed and borrowed their tent.
It weighed only 14 oz and was perfect for the two of us. Okay, maybe a leeeeeeeeetle cozy ;-P
But we were so thankful to Jeanine and Craig. Who does that?
My BFF and I concluded that people over 10k feet are generally pretty cool.
I told this story to a new friend and she told me that it sounds like there is a “brotherhood” among the trail family. I thought that was a perfect description. But moreso, we will never forget their kindness.
To think that a single act of kindness would be forever engrained into our memories is a beautiful, powerful thing. It’s been 7 years since they lent us that tent, and the memory is still as kind and wonderful as when it first occurred.
Deep-seated, selfless kindness is an act of love. Real love. With no hidden agenda. No strings attached. No tit for tat. And it is long lasting.
I want to remember this! And pay it forward.
What a sweet memory. That still lives in my mind <3
I’ve done some pretty society-deemed-cool things in my life.
Been to some cool parties. Traveled to a few places. Met some cool folks. Seen a ton of concerts.
Hiked some mountains in California and other places.
But contrary to what society and the world says, what I have done does not define who I am.
If it were that easy, I should be happy being a mountain-climber or a college graduate or the top of my class.
But those things will never be enough.
If our identity
is rooted in
what we have seen
or what we have,
we are easily shaken.
We forget the things we have done and the places we have been and what is most important to us when we compare ourselves to others who society deems more successful or better-off than us.
We’ve all done it. We’ve all compared ourselves to someone else and felt like we didn’t measure up. In middle school it was with whoever had the best clothes or coolest gadgets.
In high school it was who had the nicest car, cutest boyfriend or girlfriend, or who got the best grades.
In college it was who got invited to the best parties or went on the most interesting trips.
After college it’s who has the most success in finances, employment, or marriage.
———-> As soon as we compare ourselves to others who have more or have done more, what we had before feels like it doesn’t measure up. It’s a human and societal tendency.
I’m here to tell you it’s not fair or right to compare ourselves to people who are just as flawed as we are, and who have walked a completely different walk than us.
How could comparing ourselves to a 100% unique brother or sister do any good? !
How can we expect ourselves to be like somebody else? We are ourselves! We are who we are.
You have probably told yourself that. But you still compare yourself to others.
And that’s because you want to grow. You want to be better. You want to improve. Us humans do that. We desire to be better. To go further. To live bigger.
And that’s cool. That’s great, even. Without a goal in sight, a prize to aim for, a direction to go in, life seems a lot less meaningful.
So lemme tellya a secret.
For the purpose of giving yourself direction, you can compare yourself to somebody.
You can compare yourself to this person for the sake of getting better.
The purpose of this comparison is to become a better person.
So here goes.
There is one and only one person
we should ever compare ourselves to
Purple Majesty in Yorktown (not the actual name of the flower lol)
and it’s not yourself, so don’t get all excited. You and I both know you have plenty of growing to do. 😛
Pretty in Pink in Yorktown (I make the names up :D)
First, I’ll tell you what this person didn’t have.
What this person (the one you should compare yourself to) didn’t have:
This person didn’t have the most money.
He didn’t have the latest hiking gear.
He didn’t have the most successful dating relationships.
He was hated by most people.
He was loved at first and then treated like a loser, by some of the people closest to him.
People were nice to him so he could do things for them and get them free stuff but he loved them anyway. Unconditionally.
Now for what he did have.
What he did have:
And while you are reading, be comparing this man to yourself, and see how you measure up. It may take a while.
A tiny flower by the James River
He had a heart of love, not darkness <3
He was grateful for all he had, knowing each breath is a gift
He trusted that the outcome of a storm would always be a rainbow or provide more growth.
He never dwelt on what he could not change … I love the word dwelt. Isn’t it great??!
He was able to look past people’s facades and images of success and happiness, knowing what every person craved and needed in their heart, and his desire was to help people meet that need: of love.
His words brought life,joy, and clarity.
He spread joy to others wherever he went.
Hisjoy brought out the best in others.
Instead of tearing people down,
he built people up
He was so incredibly calming.
Whenever somebody needed a shoulder to cry on, a place to take refuge, or a listening ear, he would be that person. He didn’t complain or lash out or shrug people off.
He was always approachable.
In fact, he was magnetic. People were drawn to him wherever he went. And he had the power to fill whoever came to him with incredible peace.
<3 🙂 <3
He didn’t force anybody to do anything, but gently and lovingly approached all people and situations.
He spoke truth to his brothers and friends when they were in trouble and helped them overcome their struggles.
He never enabled anyone to do something that was harmful to themselves or others. He was never thinking about getting ahead or beating somebody at something. He was seeking love and unity.
He never held onto bitterness or resentment towards people that hurt him, but forgave them fully and immediately. Immediately.
The only person
we should ever compare ourselves to
Sunset over the York River
J e s u s
He was the perfect human.
He is the only one who has ever, can ever and will ever set the standard for how we should live our lives.
Lovingly teaching others.
Keeping short accounts of what people have done wrong to us, and forgiving others for their faults, well aware that we are so faulty ourselves.
He wasn’t taken by surprise when people fell short; he loved them anyway.
If you don’t know Jesus, believe me when I say this:
I’ve been getting to know him for almost two years now, and the truth is, learning about Jesus and trying to become more like him is the most noteworthy thing I have ever done. It’s way cooler than any mountain I’ve climbed, trip I’ve gone on, or experience I’ve experienced.
Jesus is the ultimate role model
& the more I find out about him, the more I realize how important it is to know him.
The more you know about Jesus,
the more you want to become like him.
Jesus is the only one worth comparing ourselves to. He is perfect. None of y’alls brothers, sisters, bosses, coworkers, friends, girlfriends or boyfriends are perfect. They are all human; AKA heavily flawed. They may go on some cool trips or have some fancy possessions or beautiful significant others, but they are trying to figure out how to navigate this journey of life the same as your are.
Raise your standard.
Raise the bar.
Compare yourself to the Risen King.
If you don’t know about Jesus, I recommend getting to know him.