Comparison: Comparing Ourselves to Others, Dreams

Dream: Staying Strong

Sunkissed white flowers

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Chasing a dream rarely looks the way we expect it to. Real life, in the form of boys home for the summer and writing disappointments, has swooped in and sapped my enthusiasm.

I thought I would be much further along in my journey by now. Yet, here I am, in the same place I stood a year ago. Only, not entirely.

Living and dead flowers

These are a few things I’m learning about pursuing dreams:

Discontentment is the enemy of dreams fulfilled.

When I am discontent with where God has me right now, I’m telling Him I don’t think He’s doing things right. Instead, I need to change my mindset. I say I trust the Lord with this journey, but if I am not happy—if I am discontent—am I really trusting? No.

I need to choose to accept where He has me, and trust His plan. He is working things for my good behind the scenes. His good and my good often look different. But, when I trust God with this desire in my heart, I will be content.

Contentment is the fuel that refreshes us as we seek to fulfill our dreams.

Contentment copy

Comparison destroys the beauty of the dream God has for us.  This has been a biggie for me lately. When I focus on what achievements others are receiving/earning/making and then layer that filter over my journey? My journey looks meager and empty.

Comparison also fuels discontent. It causes me to ask, “What’s wrong with me?” My thoughts race off in unhealthy directions. When I compare my worst with someone else’s achievements, I come up lacking. Every. Single. Time.


I need to look for forward progress. After having surgery on my ACL in February, I had times where I struggled with my lack of mobility. For a “git ‘er done” gal, being so limited was HARD. God reminded me to look back at where I had been a week before. A month before. Two months before.

Now, I am mostly recovered. My mobility is close to where it was before surgery. The progress has been slow, but steady.

Morning stream reflection

Morning light on a fence

When I remember where I was when I began writing (“You mean stories need to have a specific structure?”) and see where I am now . . .

when I look back to where I was two years ago when I won an award and see the things I’ve learned since then . . .

I see progress.

Roses and a bridge

Pursuing our dreams will change us. We need to make sure we don’t cling too tightly to the original vision of the dream. When we do, we miss out on all God has in store for us in the process. And in the final realization of the dream.

Striving toward dreams requires courage. When we move toward that dream—when we get back up after discouragement tries to knock us down—that shows courage.

Sun setting and a tree

When we work toward dreams, we need an accurate perspective, a huge dose of trust in God, and the willingness to choose contentment with where we are. Note I did not say become complacent. But, when we choose contentment, we’ll make that forward progress while trusting God.

What about you? What have you learned as you have pursued dreams? If you’re brave, share a dream you are pursuing now.

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21 thoughts on “Dream: Staying Strong”

  1. Thank you for the wisdom you share here. Our perspective makes all the difference. I love your point that if we are really trusting God it leads to contentment because we trust that he knows what he’s doing and he has a plan, even if that is different from ours. Also it’s so true that often we can feel we’re not getting anywhere but when we look back at how things were, we see that we have made progress. Seeing that is so important in helping us to keep going.


  2. I’m happy I found you today over at Testimony Tuesday. I immediately clicked on your link when I saw the words, “dream:staying strong,” and I’m glad that I did. I am in that place of waiting for God to fulfill the dream He placed on my heart and the points you made in your article are so good. “Discontentment is the enemy of dreams fulfilled.” Thank you Jeanne


    1. Patricia, waiting can be so HARD! I’m in a waiting place too. Keeping my mind focused on the right things can be challenging. May we both remain hopeful and keep our eyes on Jesus in the waiting time.

      I’m so glad you stopped by!


  3. Such beautiful encouragement today. There are times I actually believe that that comparison can be a motivator. But I quickly am knocked flat by the fact, I have instead backed myself into a corner that I cannot get out of. These words speak such truth… “Contentment is the fuel that refreshes us as we seek to fulfill our dreams.”

    It makes me think of being happy along the way even if the path is not one of your choosing. Thank you for blessing me today with your words.


    1. Mary, I’ve fallen into the comparison lies more times than I can count! I like what you said about choosing happiness even when we’re walking on paths we didn’t choose. It’s all in our perspective, isn’t it? I always love your thoughts.


  4. So glad the knee is almost back to normal, Jeanne!

    \I’ve learned to look at dreams a bit differently, and I guess it could be summarized thus –

    1) Never give your dreams control over your happiness.
    2) Dreams are not about attainment or even progress. They are about building character.
    3) Never dream away the life you are living now. There is far more honour and purpose to be found in the regular performance of duties than will ever be grasped with high achievement. Be faithful to your daily obligations; being faithful to dreams is faith offered to a chimera.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Andrew, I love what you added here! All of your points are spot on. And, honestly, I’ve caught myself trying to hurry the process of a dream fulfilled. Thank goodness God doesn’t let me get away with that. I know He’s grown character attributes in me that couldn’t have been nurtured had I been allowed to hurry my process. Your thoughts are profound, my friend. Thanks for sharing your insight!


  5. Beautiful job Jeanne! Such truth! Great earning experience! That’s why God gives us dreams~ to challenge us or as Andrew so rightly said, “building character ” Love t!


  6. So encouraging to me, Jeanne (and so glad you are back on your feet!) Pursuing dreams requires more courage than I thought, and I’m struggling with much of what you identify here. Thanks for calling out the truth!


    1. I agree, Bethany. Pursuing dreams requires SO much more courage than I ever realized. When those dreams are bigger than we are . . . ? And it gets hard, that’s when we have to choose courage over fear or discouragement, right?r


  7. Oh I needed to read this today! I feel this same way so often and it is easy to get off track, running ahead of God when he wants me to just wait and see the miraculous thing he is going to do himself. Thank you!


    1. Christa, I have gotten off track before too. I have caught myself pursuing one aspect of a dream when God wants me going in a different direction. And I’m not always quick to switch directions. 🙂 I’m so glad you stopped by today!


  8. Jeanne, I’m so with you. It’s so hard to be content when we long for more. I guess if it keeps us striving, it can be a good thing … when we learn how to use it for good. Letting it be used for bad can surely ruin us. Life is such a balance in everything. I’m so glad we have each other on this journey. You are a beautiful gift from God to my heart.


    1. I so agree with you, Shelli. Working toward something can be a good thing, but if we make it more important in our hearts and minds than it should be? That’s when it becomes a bad thing. I love walking alongside you on this journey too, my sweet friend!


  9. When it comes to dreams I always try to remind myself that everything has its time and place. Your post was a little bouquet of pick-me-ups for me. I have two dreams which I am working towards course!) Published author. My second one is to marry, and I never imagine I would be 40 and still single, but I have learned it’s not the end of the world.​ It’s just the process that I am in right now, and I am okay with that as along as He stays with​ me.


    1. Tamara, remembering that God’s timing is always perfect when it comes to our dreams helps remove much of the angst, doesn’t it? Keep striving toward your dreams, and trusting God to fulfill His role in each of them> 🙂

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