Tuesday, April 5

And now for something completely different...

...than my previously scheduled post.  I was at a Moms support group tonight and the leader of our discussion hit very quickly on a topic that I think requires further investigation.  She talked about how dangerous comparison is.  It's an ugly topic and one that we don't often want to deal with, but I'm going to battle through the pride and embarrassment to share a few thoughts with you.

The truth is, this is something with which I struggle.  As a child, I thought the other girls were prettier with their cute clothes and curly hair.  As a teenager, everyone else seemed more socially adept, funnier and more talented.  As a young married, the other women seemed to be far better wives, cooking dinner every night and always with a smile.  As a new mom, everyone else seemed to have it all together, keeping an immaculate house and getting 9 hours of sleep a night.

In essence, it's been a lifetime of feeling like I'm on the outside looking in, like there's some club I'm not a member of, like the girl who showed up uninvited to the party.  A recent experience brought this to the forefront of my mind and has had me doing some serious soul-searching, crying through many tear-stained prayers. 

There's a serious problem when we try to measure ourselves against one another.  No matter what, you end up with a skewed mental picture of both yourself and the other person.  You can always find someone doing better or worse than you, depending on how you look at it.  And therein lies the problem:  comparing ourselves to one another involves no standard.  I think that's why the Apostle Paul said this:

When they measure themselves with themselves
and compare themselves with one another,
they are without understanding and behave unwisely.

"Without understanding."  Another version says, "they quite miss the point."  What's the point they are (we are) missing and misunderstanding?  That God has called us to a far higher purpose than to be like our neighbor, our friend, our colleague.  His purpose is that we become like Jesus.  So, instead of looking to that woman who we think has it all together, we are to look to Jesus.  (And News Flash:  she doesn't have it all together.  In fact, she probably thinks you have it all together!)  Our standard for living, for loving is Him.  No other.  So, when I feel the urge to compare myself with my friend, thinking that's the standard for loving my husband, mothering my daughter, cleaning my house, paying my bills, writing my blog...I am to look to Jesus. 

The beauty of this is that there is no one who loves me like He does. There is no one who sees my beginning, middle and end the way He does.  So whatever His plan, even if it's uncomfortable (or even painful!) for me, it is the absolute best plan there can be.  Because it's molding me to be more like Jesus.

I've had to come to this place:  that if I choose (and yes, it's a choice!) to compare myself to someone else, what I'm really saying is that my life is not good enough.  That every decision that has led me to this place has been wrong.  That the life I lead is not one to be proud of.  And while I know that I haven't made perfect decisions (because I'm not perfect!), my life is something of beauty.  Because He loves me.  It may not be up to your standards, and that's okay.  Because you're not the standard.  He is.  And you're not to look to me either.  The only thing we can do for one another is to encourage and edify one another to follow Him.  To look to Him.  Anything else is just selling ourselves short of the eternal value He places in us and the eternal destiny for which we're created.


No comments: