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Day 10 of 28: Choosing to Cheer

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 HANNAH

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There's Something About Mary

As we learned earlier, the Christmas story in Luke began with Zechariah and Elizabeth conceiving a baby after many barren years. And not just any baby; we are talking about John the Baptist as a baby. The real-deal locust-and-honey-eating, the camel-hair-wearing prophet comes into the world as a baby through these two elderly people.

The role of John the Baptist’s life was to make way for Jesus. To announce his coming and declare to people that someone great was coming after him.

The stories of Mary and Elizabeth will forever be intertwined because of these two babes– born just six months apart.

After Mary finds out she is pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit, she immediately rises and goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth.  

Without even mentioning what had just happened, Elizabeth knew the prophecy unfolding as her six-month baby-to-be leaped in her womb at Mary’s greeting. It’s like Elizabeth had a super-divine pregnancy radar, which caused her to start singing at Mary (yes, singing at her), “Why am I so lucky that the mother of my Lord would visit me?”

Let’s pause the story right there. God uses this moment in the text to bring together the lives of two women– Elizabeth and Mary– for the sheer purpose of celebration.

I think about all the other ways this story could have played out. I think about all the opportunities they had to compete with one another or compare themselves.

They don’t choose to reel in comparison or competition– they immediately revel in celebration instead.  

This comradery is a lesson for all of us women reading. I am not saying men cannot get the lesson, but it often seems like women have a great capacity to fall into comparison traps. The comparison is usually pitting us against other women.

I’ve struggled with comparison.

I’ve taken it to God many times before.

I’ve had to learn to hush the thing inside me that wants to scream like a child, “But that’s what I wanted!”

I’ve learned comparison isn’t so much a heart issue as it is a focus issue. When we choose to compare ourselves with other women, we take the focus off of God and what he is up to, and we place it back on ourselves. We make our discontent bigger in the process rather than exclaiming the bigness of God.

We cut off the power lines to rejoicing and celebrating when we choose comparison– even if it is subtle.

I’m here to warn you: those subtle feelings stack up. If we allow them, they will grow to be something so much bigger, and it will be that much more challenging to tame the feelings.

So let’s take a page out of Mary and Elizabeth’s book today and remember that we are not competing with one another.

We are not racing against anyone else’s clock.

We are not being measured or placed in a lineup.

We can let go of the need to be ahead of others because claiming that position will never get us further. It will only ever hold us back.

The sweetest moments can happen when we choose to embrace celebration wholeheartedly– when we go onto social media and see a victory for someone else and sing out for them. 

When you begin to celebrate others actively, it might not feel natural at first, but, with time, it can become a powerful rhythm in your life that exterminates jealousy and fear, anger, and intimidation. 

The world is far too lonely to add another slice of division to the story, friend. Let’s be about one another. Let’s raise our glasses and celebrate what God is up to in each other’s stories.

Reading

Luke 1:38-56

Steal This Prayer

Dear God, I am tempted to compare my story to other people’s stories, and I know that’s not the fullness you have for me. Empower me to choose celebration over comparison throughout this day, so I can be a cheerleader for others. Please show me the race you have for me and only me to run.



I Love Hearing from You!

In moving my blog to a newer platform, I sadly had to let go of the thousands of comments and conversations that came from readers over the last 10+ years. This grieves me deeply but I know there will new conversations, fresh words of wisdom, and opportunities to create close community once again. I’d love to hear from you in the comments section. I’ll be reading + replying on a regular basis.

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Hi, I'm Hannah

I love writing about all things faith, mental health, discipline + and motherhood. Let's be penpals!

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