Comparison is a bad friend. It is exhausting and draining. It makes you feel bad about yourself, and drags you to those places of judgement that can lead to a critical spirit. I’ve had it, I’m done. “Comparison, you and I are breaking up!” There I said it.
What I’m learning, essentially is to just be who I am, ordinary, wonderfully unimpressive, and sometimes tired. If I want to be different I need to stop the patterns I’ve allowed and go in a new direction. And the with the new direction change needs to happen on the inside first. Because this my friends, is a war, and the battlefield is the mind. In my study this morning I was going through 2 Corinthians 10:5 “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” This is no ordinary war. This is a no nonsense, proactive, intentional effort take those thoughts that are destructive, self-defeating, and just plain wrong and surrender them to God. Then asking Him to replace them with what is right, true, and lovely.
My hope and prayer is that I can stay focused on the present, connected and grounded deeply in the love God has for me and growing in unconditional love for others. This verse in 1 Thessalonians 4:7 in The Message is so good, “God hasn’t invited us into a disorderly, unkempt life but into something holy and beautiful-as beautiful on the inside as the outside.” Not only does this bring great encouragement with what He desires for us on the inside but I’m hoping that having my life replaced with things that are much more orderly, improved and polished it may have an influence on the outside too! As a good friend once said to me “A smile and sunny disposition is much cheaper than a face-lift!”
I think when we leave behind the weight of comparison, competition and exhaustion we can then begin to remake a life marked by joy, connection, and fullness. I’m pretty certain that we all struggle in one degree or another with this, especially as women. These are the kind of conversations I like to have. I desire to be real, and authentic, because honestly I want to change.
This coconut chicken with apricots and lemongrass is a pretty simple meal. You can make it for two or for a crowd. Maybe make it for two and invite a friend and talk through what it would look like to really leave comparison behind and start fresh living authentic lives filled with genuine love for others. I dare you. :) Shannon
Coconut Chicken with Apricots and Lemongrass
3 stalks lemongrass, outer leaves removed and cut into short lengths
3-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced into thin pieces
2 hot red chiles, seeds and veins removed, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled
Small bunch of cilantro
2 limes, zest and juice
1 Tbsp. canola oil
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 Tbsp. soy
8 chicken thighs
1-14 ounce can coconut milk
In the bowl of a food processor put in the lemongrass, ginger, chiles, garlic, half of the cilantro and the lime zest. Pulse everything together until it comes to a coarse paste. Add the tomatoes, fish sauce, and soy and pulse until combined.
Warm the oil in a cast iron pan over moderate to high heat and brown the chicken thighs lightly on both sides. Meanwhile, halve and pit the apricots and set aside. Life the chicken out and pour out excess oil. Add a little fresh oil and half of the paste mixture and let it cook over low heat for two minutes, until fragrant, the return the chicken to the pan. Pour in the coconut milk, stir, cover and leave to simmer gently over low heat for ten minutes. (the remaining spice paste can be kept in the fridge, covered with a little oil and a lid for about a week). Slide the apricots into the sauce and cook for ten minutes, until soft. Add the lime juice and the remaining cilantro leaves. Taste for seasoning
Recipe from Nigel Slater