Perspective, compassion and ranch dressing

Having cancer really puts things in perspective.  You kind of stop sweating the small stuff when you are literally sweating from the chemo-poison raging through your body.  Gross, I know.  

What happens when we have a Big Problem is that you scroll through Facebook and kind of shift into one long, giant eye roll as you read about people’s all-consuming deeply challenging circumstances such as the sniffles, running out of ranch dressing (someone actually posted about this once like it was a major life disruption) and choosing cocktail dress A or B which both look ridiculously good on.  You sigh as you read about a friend’s daughter not having a date for the dance (she’s 12!!!) someone complaining about the rain and your neighbor’s agonizing decision about whether to get a cockerpoo or a labrodoodle.  Eye roll.  Eye roll.  Eye roll.
You start gravitating toward people who either don’t complain (bless you, you easy going, thankful optimists out there!) or people who have actual problems.  Your heart is soft toward the acquaintance facing divorce, the friend who just lost a parent and your old roommate who just had her third miscarriage.  You even begin to feel a little bit superior to the folks bitching about paper cuts.  Maybe a lot superior. 
It’s easy to play the “Shut up, I have cancer, you jagoff” game. 
But here’s the thing.  Whatever someone is dealing with is what they’re dealing with.  I remember 18 months ago, my biggest problem was a house that just wouldn’t sell.  We agonized.  We despaired.  We prayed.  We complained.  And then, when we actually sold the house, you would have thought our moving agenda was the battle plans for taking over a small nation.  And now…a year and a half later, it seems so ridiculous.  What I wouldn’t give to have those problems.  Packing boxes?  Bring it!  But they were real and big and stressful then.  I cried.  There was arguing.  It felt insurmountable.
It’s not fair to put labels or values on others’ struggles.  Unrequited love.  Injury.  Illness. Unemployment.  Betrayal.  Financial problems.  Unruly teenagers.  Losing a competition.  Loneliness.  Infertility.  Screwing up at work.  The number on the scale that won’t budge.  Depression.  These all feel enormous when they land on you.  
What I’m learning is two-fold.  One is that I have little patience and compassion for struggles that seem significantly smaller than my own.  Two is that that’s wrong.  It’s selfish and prideful and immature.  God cares about your sprained ankle and so should I.  I’m working on it.  But you should probably shut up about the ranch dressing.  It’s gross anyway.  And a girl’s got to draw the line somewhere.  

2 Replies to “Perspective, compassion and ranch dressing”

  1. This is a good post, Jessi. I suspect Super Bowl Sunday is probably the only day of the year where a lack of ranch dressing is considered urgent. šŸ™‚ But it is unfortunate that when we take our deep breaths after making it over whatever mountain we face that we aren't more grateful in general – that we don't stop for some perspective. Thanks for sharing.


    Some believers in Christ honestly believe that that truth is so offensive that Christians should only proclaim that God is love. Example: Only preach and teach that God loves everyone. Simply repeat John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (NKJV)

    The problem is even John 3:16 offends many people.

    Those who reject God's truth find part or all of it offensive.


    1. Mark 16:16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.(NKJV)

    Mark 16:16 offends those who believe that water baptism is not essential for salvation.

    2. John 16:23 "And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.(NKJV)

    John 16:23 offends those who want to pray to the Virgin Mary and other dead saints.

    3. Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.(NKJV)

    Titus 2:11 offends those who believe God's grace is only offered to a predetermined select few.

    4. Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame. (NKJV)

    Hebrews 6:4-6 offend those who believe in once in grace always in grace.


    1. Faith: John 3:16
    2. Confession: Romans 10:9
    3. Repentance: Acts 3:19
    4. Water Baptism: Acts 2:38

    The terms for pardon offend those who reject the terms.



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