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10.02.2013

31 Days: Casting Aside Comparison

I don't know about you but I am constantly comparing myself or my life to other people! I specifically struggle with this in the area of finances and material possessions. I often think If we had money like them... if we had a house like that. I'm sure you have your own thing. We all know that negatively comparing ourselves to one another is detrimental. Unfortunately, it's a part of our sinful nature. Satan likes when we compare our lives to others because it robs joy from blessings and breaks down relationships.

For example, when I am discontent with our monthly income, feeling like it's just not enough or thinking about if only it were more, I start to resent Danny. After all, he is the sole income provider for our family. He should work harder, says the lie. Instead, I should thank him. If he didn't work like he does, I couldn't stay home with our girls! Not only that, but we have more than enough to eat, we have clothes. We are truly not in need like I tend to believe at times. Along with thankfulness for our possessions and to Danny for his work, I should see my friends blessings for what they are, not what I wish I had!

all I need is this.

"Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, 'I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,' we can boldly quote,
God is there, ready to help;
I’m fearless no matter what.
Who or what can get to me?"
Hebrews 13:5-6

getting comfy
in the new me
Another example is when I look in the mirror and talk poorly about what I see. I start to feel insecure. This leads to frustration and giant messes in my room as I try to find the right thing to wear to make me feel better. And how dare my friend be skinnier than me. Instead, I should praise God that with this body, I have carried and birthed the two most precious little girls I've ever known! This body has given my girls nutrients through breastfeeding a total of twenty months (and counting)! Amelia adores my "squishy tummy". She says it's soft. And guess what? Her and her sister were worth the softness and stretch marks. In my insecurity and shame of this new body, I fail to see the miracle that God created me as and the miracles that created me to grow. I am precious to Him. He made me exactly this way for a reason! And same goes for any other woman I dare to compare myself to.

Then there's always a child more well behaved than the next. When I wish Amelia would act more compliant like that friend's kiddo or not talk so much to every single person she meets, I am wishing away the very traits that make her who she is. She is inquisitive and articulate! She loves to learn. While Amelia's disobedience is frustrating and I might think that it happens more than with other kids, I have to remember that she's still learning about manners, making her own choices, and consequences. Instead of viewing her differences negatively, I should choose to focus on the fact that God gave her to me as she is to help me learn about myself. All those times she has yelled at me with arms crossed has caused me to see how angry of a mom I can be. Amelia could ask me questions for days on end. She just doesn't stop talking. You're giggling and nodding your head if you know her in real life. This has caused me to be so much more patient of a person! Thank You, Lord, that through her, You are showing me how I can be better! And for my friend's who have well-behaved children, they have worked really stinkin' hard to get there. So good work and thank you for a great example!

all day, every day. she doesn't stop.

When I think too long about the fact that I don't have time to serve in ministry like I did before we had the girls, I start to feel like a lame Christian. I see women serving, doing all these activities, and I think She can do it. Why can't I? I need to remember that each person has a different purpose in the body of Christ. God wants us to commit our time and energy to Him. From there, He'll do just what He wants. Back in September, our good friend and pastor said this in a sermon, "It's not about what we can bring to the table that makes us fit for service. It's more about what we lose." So often I feel like I have nothing to give because I'm tired or I can't do ministry like that person. Guess what? It's kind of true. I actually have nothing to give. All the better for God to work through me. I experienced this in a huge way as a youth leader! In all seasons of life, there is a place for me if only I would come with hands open, willing to lose it all.

The best and only way these transformations of thought are possible is through Jesus. His sacrifice for us on the cross made a way for us so that we are no longer slaves to comparing our lives and wishing we had something "better"!

"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

"So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.
2 Corinthians 5:17

On the flip side, as I was praying through what I would write on this topic, I felt strongly that I needed to address comparing ourselves favorably with others. This means seeing ourselves as better than someone else. When I felt this the Lord leading me to write this, there was a bit of a sting. Or maybe conviction? Call it what you want. If I can just be honest for a minute, even more than comparing myself to others lately, I have been struggling with pride. I read Galatians 6:1-10 and kind of hung my head like Yup, I know God. "I'm not that important." Instead of boasting about situations or blessings in my life, as if I had any control over them, I should turn to thankfulness. We know Who is in control. No good thing that has happened in my life is because of my greatness. How dare I view another person in their situation and think I know all the answers. What about me moving forward in love so that they may feel encouraged and blessed as I share the load with them?

The days that I actually do this well are great. As a mom, I feel confident about myself and the work I'm doing. I am so much more content with life. Along with that, I feel excited to encourage my friends as they go about their own daily grind. At the end of the day, everything just feels easier when I don't compare myself!

How do you combat the enemy of comparison? Is there any particular area that's harder than others? What are practical ways that you can encourage and bless others rather than viewing yourself as better?


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