Perception is reality.- Lee Atwater

[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]H[/mk_dropcaps]ow true those words are! The very foundation of comparison is anchored in our perceptions of others.  You:The Opponent addressed how we either set ourselves above or below others when you play the comparison game.  There is one arena that I believe deserves more attention in the age of Hollywood fame and stardom.  How do you look at those who have achieved success in some arena of life?  If you are like me you tend to put them on a pedestal and elevate them to a position that is unrealistic, unattainable, and almost god like.  You can have a set of your own personal American Idols.  This is actually disrespectful to those we elevate and devaluing of ourselves.  I am all for gleaning wisdom and insight from those who have had success but there is a fine line in admiration and intimidation.

We can look at the highlight reel of the latest and greatest music artist, actor, leader, or athlete and see all the flaws of our behind the scenes and instantaneously go into disqualifying ourselves.  Over time this leads to feeling intimidated even in the most routine of activities so much so you slip into a victim mentality.

Let me give you an example: My leader in Advocare is one of the best servant leaders I know.  She has been in my life for 13 years now.  I have seen her life transform from elite level athlete to mom, to one of the top distributors in all of the company.  The success her and her husband (my swim coach through college and both Olympic Trials) have had is incredible.  Their perseverance and example has stretched my vision, my belief and challenged me to grow beyond what I ever dreamed possible.  Here is the thing though. For a while once they hit a point where they were making six figures in a month I started to perceive them as something they were not.  I saw everything they did as the right way to do it and everything I did as the wrong way.  The discrepancy in my circumstances and theirs is quite large.  In my mind I thought it should not matter. They have kids I do not.  There are two of them.  I am building this business on my own.  They have strengths I do not possess.  To expect my journey to be like theres logically is not .

Thinking upon on the things they had that I did not only did one thing: restrict my vision.  I started to see only the ways I could not change my circumstances, not the ways I could.  I wasted energy trying to take my weaknesses and make them strengths, instead of sharpening my strengths.  It is in this place over overly comparing we can turn to a victim mentality.  When idolizing someone in our lives we set them and us up for failure.  Either they will disappoint us because news flash:  They are HUMAN!  OR They can do no wrong in our eyes and we adjust our paradigms to be in alignment with their decisions (which leads to compromising your own identity, and worse yet our faith).

Both of these outcomes led me shrinking back and being intimidated to let my own strengths shine.  Why?  Because my strengths and circumstances are different.  Nothing more, nothing less.  I felt ashamed for my differences.  Now let me be clear these thoughts were all sourced and fed from my own thoughts, not the true reality.  My perception became my reality.  I took neutral events, morphed and twisted them to be in alignment with my own stinking thinking and presto change-o comparison backed me into a corner.

The good news… just as the power of my thoughts get us to a point of intimidation where we froze out of fear, a change of mind can get you out.  Once you have this revelation of the power of your choices, breakthrough can happen.  As you begin to align yourself with the word of God the self-fabricated prison cell crumbles to dust and you can walk out FREE.  This will take took a process of time to master because our thought patterns are so ingrained they can sometimes begin without our awareness.    However, the keys and the power are in our hands. God has commanded us to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5).  If we find ourselves back in the cell of intimidation, we now know the escape route, claim your authority.  As easy as it is to pressing an eject button ,we can now get ourselves launched out of that place of oppression.

Most importantly my sweet friend I want you to know God made you to live a life of freedom.  You are able and  you are worth it!  You do not have to earn your value, you are valuable because you are.  Freedom is yours for the taking.  But you have to check your perceptions at the door. You were made a one of a kind original.  There is no need to compare or be intimidated.