The Illusion of Better + My Word for the Year

1.26.2015

A few years ago, I saw that a lot of bloggers I follow had chosen a single word to define the upcoming year. This word would be something they could focus on and remind themselves of as the year continued. I've never chosen a word before, but as 2014 drew to a close, I felt one word impressed upon my heart over and over:

I'm ashamed to admit this, but as I look back on 2014, I realize that I spent a lot of time being jealous of other people and not being content with the many wonderful things I had. Last year I watched people proudly post about pregnancy announcements, job promotions, European vacations, and smiling pictures of themselves standing in front of a beautiful house with a "Sold" sign. 

I've felt like we're just here, treading water.

But seriously. 
Enough of that.

I don't want to spend any time in 2015 being anything other than content. 

Last July when Jordan and I got back from Nicaragua, we were amazed by the sheer blessing of running water, toilets that flushed, and houses with doors. We came home to a bed. And air-conditioning. I forgot about that.

This year, I want to wake up every day and be thankful. I want to see pictures of other people's successes and be happy for them without feeling bad that I don't have what they do.

Because when I honestly, truly, think about it: I don't want any other life than mine.

Until we see in ourselves how unique God's touch 
on our life has been, we will always live 
under the illusion that being someone else 
would be better. 

-Ravi Zacharias
"Recapture the Wonder"


Did you pick a word for the year?

36 comments:

  1. Love your word, and honestly, I think it's something we all need to work on from time to time! (although I might always be jealous of people's European vacations... I mean, c'mon... Europe is amazing! ;) )

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  2. I love your word. This area can be such a trap, making us think our life is less than "good" because of what we see on the outside of everyone else's lives. Here's to being content in 2015!!!

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  3. Great word! We all need to focus on being content, and it's hard for everybody! Praying for you, Amanda!

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  4. What a great word! Learning to be content is something we each need to become more practiced at. I chose the word thrive as I want to make sure I am not becoming stagnant in my everyday and professional life. Here's to 2015!

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  5. Beautiful word! I love that it ties exactly to scripture - we are to be content in ALL things! What a good reminder for all of us!

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  6. I did not pick a word for this year, but I love the idea of yours. It is so easy to see what other people are putting out there and start to feel envious. Thanks for the reminder that what I have is more than enough.

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  7. love that quote! so much truth! content is a good word & definitely something to strive for! my word for 2015 is "Rest" - it kinda goes hand in hand with yours... find true rest in Jesus!

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  8. love your word! so true. i often forget that there are people with much bigger battle than mine. i look up more often that i don't really being thankful of what i have.

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  9. Ohhhh, it is so easy to compare my chapter 5 to someone else's chapter 15 and feel jealous. But what's wrong with my chapter 5? Absolutely nothing! Content is a great word to focus on really. Well chosen.

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  10. Gosh I just spent the ENTIRE weekend praying that I would be content. Because like you, sometimes I feel like we're just treading water while everyone gets dogs, houses, and babies. It's not my official word of the year but it probably needs to be. Praying for you to find contentment this year!

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  11. I struggle with this and reading this post was a good reminder to stop! So many of my friends one, two, and three stages ahead of me in life and it's so hard NOT to compare. But my husband reminds me every day that we'll get there in due time and that we should really enjoy the comforts of our lives in the present. Even if we never get "there", we still have so much to be thankful for! I hope and pray that you find your contentment this year while I try and do the same.

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  12. It is so hard to be content in a world with social media, but I agree we have so much in comparison that I think we just have to be happy for our own journey.

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  13. What a great word for 2015! It is so hard to be content, especially with the world of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. But it's so important - there's something nice about simply be satisfied with and enjoying your life as it is without feeling the pressure to compare yourself to others.

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  14. What an absolutely fabulous word for this year!

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  15. i used to really struggle with being happy for people without being jealous first - i am definitely like 90% better, but that doesn't mean that i don't still want all those things for myself.. so i definitely need to work on this as well.

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  16. I love your word for this year. Such a great reminder for all of us to reflect on how much we have to be grateful for! Rest assured, you are NOT alone in feeling the green-eyed monster breathing down your neck once in a while, I have been there more times than I care to admit.
    Comparison is the thief of joy (I read that on Pinterest, so it must be true) - unless we compare our lives with those of less fortunate people. Here's to being more content!

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  17. Such a great word choice and so perfect for the blogosphere. It's so easy to get lost in jealousy when reading about other people's seemingly perfect lives. I'll be applying this to my life, too.

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  18. This is a great word for the year! I have to admit, 2014 was kind of that way for me too…sometimes it's just hard to look around and see everyone else doing the things they're "supposed" to be doing while you're just kind of…treading water, like you said. But I think we make that out to be worse than it actually is (and let's be real, everyone has their own problems).

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  19. Such a good word! Mine is "alive" for many of the same reasons--I don't want to waste time being caught up in anything other than the life God has for me, because I only get one of them--whether it comes with a big shiny new house or not, you know?

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  20. Content is a good word!

    My word for the year is "unknown". I know this is a weird choice, but I'm supporting it with two catchphrases; 1) "You can't control everything" and 2) "Chill out and go with the flow". And yes, I have catchphrases.

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  21. Love your word for the year. Sometimes enough truly is enough - we just don't always realize what enough is. I haven't quite picked out a word for the year, but my year so far has been all about intention. Being not only in the moment, but aware of it, being grateful for it, and treating it as if it's special.

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  22. Thanks for being so honest, Amanda! When a word comes to me with that much meaning, I love using it as a reality check throughout the year. Your word is hard, but so good! It really is far too easy to get caught up in "more" or "what THEY have".

    I can't wait to hear what else this word and thinking about it bring about in your life this year!

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  23. That is an excellent word! I did choose one for my first time this year, too...trust. I'm looking forward to hearing all of the ways you stay content this year. *Hugs*

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  24. Love this! And it's complete truth. I get caught up in that too. And then I have to remember that my gifts from God are different from other people's gifts for a reason. And Zambia keeps me in a right frame of mind too. :)

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  25. I think content is such a great word for a year. My word of the year (the first time I've selected one) is "balance." I've lost balance in my life when it comes to my family, work, exercise, everything. I even have "balance" written on a post-it and stuck in my planner so I see it every day.

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  26. Well, that quote just ate me up. I honestly have no idea where that phrase came from, but I've made it up because that quote really got me.

    I spend a lot of time being discontent with my life. With choices I've made, with circumstances I'm experiencing, and with where I'm at in general. I get discontent and restless and full of jealousy, too.

    Reading that quote really just reminded me how unique we all are so thank you for sharing that with me!

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  27. That is a great word to pick. We can so easily be envious of other people's lives when, in fact, ours is in our hands. It can often be hard to grasp. I know I do it a lot too... a LOT. Working on it, though. :)

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  28. I've had those "treading water" feelings about life stages before - and I truly think it's okay to acknowledge them and perhaps even try to do something about them, but for the ones that you don't have the ability or aren't in the right time/place to change, contentment is the best word. Because you're so right - even if your life isn't exactly where you hope it will be eventually, the main thing is that you wouldn't want any other one or any other partner to share it with. That quote is so great.

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  29. Yes to everything about this post. I guess when I think about it, I really did spend a lot of the year being jealous in regards to every little detail in my life. Thank you for being so honest and for smacking that realization across my face. Maybe I'll make that my word, too. This year has started out...eh so I was thinking of just starting my year over at February 1st.

    So, Happiest New Year. Here's to a content year filled with happiness.

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  30. LOVE THIS! It is so incredibly easy to get caught up in the comparison game, so easy. Once you let go of those negative feelings and realize the life you have is just right, then it all goes away. Beautifully written.

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  31. This is such a good word. I think this is a pretty prevalent struggle for those of us who live in first world countries. I remember when I moved to the States that I swore I'd never take toilet paper, a/c & heat, or hot showers for granted. And honestly, I haven't taken those for granted because I was so intentional about remembering what life was like without them. But I take SO much other for granted. And if we're not careful, it's definitely easy to be discontent with where we are. Kudos to you for being mindful of this in 2015!

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  32. Yes! My word was simplify and part of living a more simple life is to be okay with it. I completely can relate to how you feel once you got home because after leaving Rwanda, I literally felt sick to my stomach at all the stuff we had. I was disgusted that I ever thought I needed more. Unfortunately, the culture we live in doesn't really encourage living a simple, content life so it really takes an inner strength to say "we have enough."

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  33. I fully support this theme for the year (and hopefully, life in general). I believe that being firmly convinced that you'd rather live exactly your own life rather than anyone else's is the key to living envy-free. My mom did an amazing job of raising all of us so confident in God's ability to supply all of our needs (therefore, jealousy becomes irrelevant)--that's something I hope to be able to pass on to the next generation.

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  34. I LOVE this. When I see those "one word" posts, I always think my word would be something like "adventure" or "experience" or "opportunity," but honestly ... that can get exhausting after a while. I love content, because it can symbolize anything you want: If you're feeling in the mood for adventure, you can find something! And if you're feeling CONTENT where you are, you can hunker down and soak in the love. :) So perfect! Thanks for this inspiration.

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  35. What a great word Amanda! The word I chose for the year is hospitality but I definitely believe contentment will be intertwined throughout the year as well. With so many life changes last year this year we plan to be a bit more still and enjoy life as it is. Can't wait to see how your year plays out!

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  36. I think it's funny when you realize how other people have felt when you thought THEIR life was something to be envious of! I have been guilty a lot in the past of wanting others' lives because mine seemed inadequate, but I've come to the conclusion that you really can't compare your life to someone else's because usually you're not seeing the whole 'movie', just the 'highlight reel', so nothing is perfect and I should strive to be content with MY life as it is! I think you chose the right word for this year and hope that you can keep it up!

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