Hello again! I have been meaning to do this Word Wednesday as a regular thing, but well, you know...life. And confinement. And wallpaper removal in the powder room (serenity now!). And if I am to be totally honest, a little bit of intimidation. Maybe a little bit of hiding some of my fear behind a facade of "trying to decide" what to do next with the blog. It is scary to expose this thought to paper (or, rather, keyboard).
The comparison trap is REAL. And it isn't good.
Even though I have recently encouraged you to NOT fall into this death-spiral of comparison, I have been doing it myself. Shame on me. And probably like you, it starts as just wanting to see what someone else (for me--another blogger or whatever) is doing, and how they are doing something. But it can descend into a dark place--more along the lines of looking at their blog and saying...Mine doesn't look that way, hers is better, Maybe I should try that, Maybe I should be doing ________, whatever it is that I am NOT doing, that they ARE doing. You can substitute any other thing for my _________. Like I should be on x-y-z schedule, or doing x-z-y sort of homeschooling, or virtual field trips or.... The list can go on and on.
It gives me such an icky feeling, but y'all, I have to admit that I compare sometimes. It is so hard not to compare ourselves. And we all know that usually we compare "up," not "down." Don't misunderstand, up and down is not a value judgement. It's just that we will typically compare ourselves to someone who has more than we do, or has more going on, or more success or more whatever it is that we think we want.
It happens, even though we all hate that feeling.
But it sucks.
It can be hard to pull out of that comparison death-spiral.
So in that moment when I feel so "less than," I needed to be reminded that my worth and value come from God. My worth does NOT come from my health, my abilities (or my lack), my talent (or lack of it), my faults, my mistakes, my problems, my blessings, my family, my work, my possessions, my profession, my children, my relationships, my level of education, my success, or my failures.
To break it down, your worth doesn't come from you. Or the people who surround you.
Your worth comes from God.
I hope this comes as a relief to you. It definitely does to me.
If our value depends on our own self-esteem, we are in trouble. Humans wildly fickle. We can be too proud of our accomplishments, or too quick to put ourselves down. Too quick to accept someone else's opinion of us, whether it is accurate--positive or negative--or not. Too quick to want to punish someone else for their momentary failure, and too easily forgive ourselves for our own. Or never want to forgive ourselves. Maybe all in the same day.
We almost never have the right-size view of our selves, or of the people around us. We look at ourselves as either too big our too small. Both of these are wrong headed. So what's a girl to do?
The best idea it to look to the unchanging, true standard. Culture will tell you have varied options that you can explore to come to your conclusion. I am going to boldly tell you that culture is wrong. You have to look to God to find out who you really are, because his view is not swayed by your day to day successes and failures.
It runs contrary to our natural inclinations.
He doesn't love you more when you behave in the most "perfectly religious" way you know how. Seriously, he doesn't. He doesn't love you less when you get angry and rant and rave at him and tell him you hate him, or question his existence. Really. He loves you most, even when we are most unloveable. He wants to give you his presence, so that you can build a relationship with him.
God is personal. He wants you to get to know Him, not just what you heard secondhand from from someone else.
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
When you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in Exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you...." Isaiah 43:1b-4a
You are precious in his eyes. You are honored and deeply loved. You are redeemed. You are His.
When we believe what God tells us about ourselves, everything else changes. You can have security in your identity. You don't need to compare yourself to others to see where (or if) you rank.
What other people say about you becomes less important. You can hear the criticism but not be undone by it. You can accept the compliment but not be puffed up by it. It is enormously freeing to know for sure who you are, and how much you are valued. And it cannot rest on your own (or another human's) shifting opinion of you.
You are loved and honored and precious, and yet you will swim through deep waters, and walk through fires in life. That does not mean that you are not blessed by God. You will go through hard times, but if God is with you, those hard times will not consume or overwhelm you. Be reassured, and hold tight to this promise. He will go with you through the dark places.
When the comparison-bug starts to nip at you, or you are unsure where you stand, find comfort in knowing what the God of the Universe thinks of you. He knows you better than you know yourself. And he loves you immeasurably much. And he does not change his mind.
Find security in this truth. Take refuge in God's promise that you are more valuable to him than you can fully comprehend, take a breath and keep on going. And memorize this verse so you have it handy whenever you need the reminder.
xo, Ann Marie