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Honk if You Love Jesus

Honk if You Love Jesus

By Meagan Newell on February 06, 2017

If I had to choose one thing that holds me back from accomplishing my purpose, it is that vicious little vixen we like to call “comparison.”

As a woman, I have found upon confession that I am not the only one filling a seat on this struggle bus, so I hope I am not writing this post in vain.

I moved to Nashville over a year ago and, quite honestly, gained the songwriters momentum quickly. I was focused and driven, a picture perfect cliche of the American dream. I developed deep, valuable friendships within the industry, and began what I hoped to be a thriving career.

I came to Nashville believing that one could either be inspired or defeated by the amount of creatives in one city. With the best of intentions, I supported my friends and loved our little songwriting world. And then my friends started succeeding.

They went on world tours, got record deals, and signed to labels that set their writing schedules. They instagrammed shows and facebooked conference photos. They began to pass me in the race, versus run alongside. At least, that was my personal, emotional perspective.

On the outside, I celebrated each friend, went to their shows, promoted their new albums. But on the inside, I sank and sank fast. My faith and focus faltered, slowly stripping my heart of its original intent and filling it with a fear that God skipped over me and had chosen my friends instead.

You see, I struggled with staying in my own lane. I realize that phrase can be highly overused in any self-help arena, but just bear with me as we dissect.

Each of us, upon birth, are given the beautiful gift of a one lane road in the form of a “calling” or “purpose.” God gives us an identity and graces us with dreams and goals to fulfill His ultimate purpose on earth. Our simple task is to stay in our lane and run the race presented before us, to do the best we can with what He’s given.

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 3:14

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.” -1 Corinthians 9:24

I was constantly glancing over at my friends and family, eyeing their race with envy and, ultimately, defeat. If I had simply kept my eyes forward and focused on God’s path versus theirs, who knows what I would’ve accomplished by this time.

Comparison is crippling. Learning to stay in your lane and embrace your personal race isn’t easy, trust me, I’m still a work in progress. But there are a few things I’ve picked up along the way that might be worth a read.

So how do we stay in our lane? How do we keep that focus? Lucky for you, I have a few car analogies to get things rolling. (Get it? Rolling? Like a tire? Yeah I’m awesome.)

"IF YOU WANT TO SURVIVE, DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE”

Remember 5 years ago when Oprah went bat poop cray over texting and driving, creating awareness and a culture shift in her wake? We all know texting and driving is not only idiotic, it can be deadly. Too many statistics solidify that fact. And yet, how many times do we catch ourselves on an empty highway or bored in a traffic jam typing away?

We check our Facebook during lunch hours, we don’t go out unless the plan is Instagram-worthy, and we get all our news updates from Twitter. Our lives revolve around connection, and social media has become the great connector. It can be a beautiful thing, a generational tool to be celebrated! It can also be fatal when viewed at the wrong time.

One of the main contributors to my personal life-lane swerve was social media. I was in a habit of waking up and hitting my newsfeed before I hit snooze. Everyday I began with a solid dose of comparison. With every “like,” I developed a big fat failure feeling, all before my first cup of coffee.

I will say, it took a certain amount of self-awareness to realize that this was an unhealthy habit for me. Some seasons I can celebrate every single human on my newsfeed with adorational abandon. (No, adorational is not a word.)

But I now know there are other seasons when I feel like life is moving a tad slower, or Jesus has me in a waiting period, when I have to monitor my social media intake. If I’m looking over at another’s filtered view of constant success, it’s easy for me to feel like I can never catch up.

If you’re constantly checking on another lane, you will veer off your course entirely, causing a mental collision that’s hard to come back from. Satan loves these little stalls, these tiny hits of negativity. Be honest with yourself and your journey.

Evaluate whether it’s a healthy season for you to be virtually present, and if it’s not, unplug. Trust me, your world will not end. People will still contact you. Your lunch will be just as good without the stand-on-chair crema filtered photo.

“CHECK YOUR BLINDSPOT, BABY”

One of the first things they teach you in driver’s ed is to never change lanes without checking your blindspot. There could be someone else in the way, or a road obstruction outside of your view.

When we swerve and skid into another’s lane, comparing ourselves to what seems like their massive success, we rarely get the whole picture. We believe the grass is greener, however we don’t know what kind of weeds are hiding in their backyard.

It’s so important to check yourself when you begin to compare because you don’t know that person’s complete story. You don’t know what they went through to get to this place in their journey. You don’t know what they are currently battling to stay afloat. You don’t know who they hurt, loved, or lost along the way. You are literally comparing your entirety to their partiality and that makes no sense.

Perspective is everything. Everyone has a blindspot they keep hidden or quieted, so when you compare keep in mind that you are most likely not getting the full picture.

“WE GON’ CELEBRATE AND HAVE A GOOD TIME”

Remember that feeling you got as a kid? You’d be at your best friend’s birthday party and they’d be joyfully opening presents while you were forced to stand around and watch. Part of you was just happy to be in the room, genuinely excited to be celebrating your friend. The other was absolutely downright jealous that they just opened the brand new state of the art Playdough salon you’d been secretly saving for with every lemonade stand.

Can I get a witness?

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that that feeling never really goes away. It just transforms itself into light envy via mountaintop engagement Facebook post, or new homeowners’ keys.

You see your friends moving on and having these amazing adulting wins, and boom, here comes that little comparison virus. I have found that a practical way of mentally battling that moment is to outwardly and sometimes embarrassingly celebrate your tribe.

When someone you love has a moment to celebrate and you find yourself comparing, immediately catch it, acknowledge it, and then defeat it by doing the exact opposite of what your feelings tell you. Take the friend to dinner, freak out on their comment section, lose your mind in their general direction. Celebrate your people, because that’s what we are called to do.

We are called to laugh with those who laugh, and mourn with those who mourn. So laugh, even when you feel like less, even when you feel left out or alone. Let those closest to you know that no matter what is happening in your life, you value their dreams and goals and support them completely. This isn’t easy. Trust me, I know.

There was a moment in a particularly hard season of singleness when a friend of mine announced her pregnancy. I had a choice. I could celebrate alongside her or cower in my defeat. I chose to celebrate her, shower her, and quite honestly over-honor her. I am so glad I did.

God blesses that obedience, and He fills that hurt. He is glorified through your willingness to lay your life down for your friend. So ya’ll, celebrate good times, come on.

“BABY, YOU CAN DRIVE MY CAR”

The main thing that shocks me back into reality when I find myself comparing is one simple truth: THIS IS NOT MY LANE.

Let me explain.

This life, this gift of humanity you’ve been given, this lane is not yours. It belongs to God, first and foremost, no argument. When I focus on me, my failures, my insecurities, I forget the fact that this life and lane is meant to glorify Him.

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” -Galatians 1:10

Yikes. That’s terrifyingly blunt. “I would not be a servant of Christ if I was trying to please man.” We are here to share the gospel and our calling in life is perfectly assigned to reflect that truth.

The fact of the matter is, if you stay in your lane and keep your focus above versus beside, you’ll realize this race, this journey is not about you. It’s about Jesus. And if it’s about Jesus, then there’s nothing that compares. He is all that matters, His heart, His opinion, His work is incomparable.

This life is not about us. Your lane is not really your lane. It belongs to God. When I remember this, it puts everything into perspective. It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing or accomplishing. My passion and focus is on Jesus, and that alone is the prize. That alone is all I need to fulfill me. That alone is all I desire.

Trust that Jesus sees you and loves you. He celebrates you and covers you. When you look from right to left, don’t compare your story. Jesus doesn’t. Like I said, I am still a work in progress when it comes to comparison. But oh how the pressure releases when I remember that this life is not my own.

I’ve learned that if I keep my focus on Him, He never fails me. Stay in your lane. It might seem small right now, the road may seem windy or difficult, but know that God has gone before you. He sees every lane on that road and has made sure you are in the exact one that will fulfill the desires of your heart and bring others to His kingdom.

Celebrate your tribe, press forward, embrace God’s plan for your life. STAY IN YOUR LANE.

And always honk if you love Jesus, ya’ll.

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Meagan Newell

Meagan Newell

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