Monday, February 18, 2008

Speaking of Comparisons

Today I was on the phone with my bestest friend of many years. She is going through a very tough time right now. She was just sharing all that is happening and what she is having to do to make some very big changes in her life. I am in awe of her courage and impressed by the steps she is taking to make these changes.

While we were talking she said these words to me, "If I could be more like any one person in the world, it would be you." She even said at one point something akin to me being perfect.

Wow. Me? Why would she want to be anything like me? This friend is the one who knows the most about me! The one who has seen me at my very worst. This is the person that took care of me so many days and nights through college when I was not capable of taking care of myself. So, to say she wanted to be like me. Well, you gotta know, that is as glorifying to God as anything can be.

So, you know what I said to her? " I want you to be you!" I love you and I want you to be you -- only better by being the you that God intended for you to be. Not me! I get enough of me every day."

I didn't say this, but really, I get pretty sick of me. I so hope there will never be two of me. I mean, I am a whole lot to handle! Sure, some days, two of me to be all the places I am required to be would be nice, but that is not the point.

Really, what I was trying to say to her is to stop comparing herself to me. Stop comparing her life to mine, her marriage to mine and her faith to mine. Because in reality, mine has it's own issues and she doesn't want them.

So, this got me to thinking about my past week and what I had been feeling in my own little world. Here is a little story of me feeling all sorry for myself all week.

Why? Because, I too, have been comparing myself to a lot of other people.

I have compared my blog to other blogs. I tell myself, they are all better of course.

My writing to other writers - definitely better.

My bible knowledge - oh, so many know so much more.

I have compared myself to other wives and mothers only to find that I don't cook enough, let my children watch too much TV and certainly don't give my husband the attention he deserves.

Well, how can I when I am trying to keep up with everyone else?!?!!?

I have compared the way I pray to those who definitely have the gift of praying. Their words to God flow like a fountain of smooth sweet fondue chocolate. Mine sound more like a lovesick teenager just talking to her daddy about the heartbreaks in her life.

I have compared my growth and transformation with God to women who have been Christ followers for years.

I have compared my leadership skills to some that have been leading in other areas for years and whose style is so much different than mine.

I have compared my kids to other kids. Why can't my daughter keep just one bow in her hair for more than 10 minutes? Why isn't my son writing his name, yet?

My mom to other moms. If only she liked shopping more...We could have so much fun if we could go shopping together.

My husband to other husbands. Other husbands are home a lot earlier than mine. They have such normal jobs. Oh, and that sense of humor of his! Does he really have to act so crazy all the time?

I have compared my exercise stamina to the buffest of all women at the gym. I have compared my breasts to the enhanced ones in the gym locker room. I have compared my hair color, my nails, my shoes, my clothes...all to women who probably just got their look pulled together for that day. Who knows what they looked like yesterday?

And you know what, y'all? I'm am just exhausted. I am just so tired of comparing. So, guess what? I think I will take my own advice.

Because God wants me to be me! Only better by being the me He wants me to be. And that definitely does not entail me comparing myself to all these other women.

In a book I am reading right now, Eat Love Pray, she talks a bit about this. To summarize, she says, how God isn't interested in watching you pretend to be someone else. He wants you to be you!

Sunday in church, my pastor affirms this for me with his message. He was talking about the Sermon on the Mount and where Jesus is explaining to his disciples how to pray. You know, the Lord's prayer. It is not intended to be something we memorize and just recite but more of a guide in prayer. The disciples ask, "Lord, how should we pray?" and he tells them, "it goes a little something like this..." (Matthew 6:5-15) NIV

From what I understand, it is not that I am expected to pray like someone else, but exactly like that lovesick teenager I was referring to above. From my heart. Not so that someone else can comment on how great my prayer was. (which I was not at risk for anyway)

So, what about that being perfect part? Well, if you know me even just a little, you will know I am far from perfect. None of us can be perfect in the eyes of our fellow man(or woman in this case). There was only one who roamed this earth that was perfect. The only way I can live a perfect life in God's eyes is to live the one that God created me to live. To do what I am created to do.

It really takes a lot of energy to try and be all these other women I keep comparing myself to and I actually end up feeling empty. But when I am in sync with who God wants me to be I actually feel energized! I feel full.

Well, how do I know if I am living the life God wants me to be living? How do I know if I am the person he wants me to be? I know. You know. Most of us know. There is that little voice inside that just won't shut up when we are out of sync with God. I just have to choose to listen.



Dawn Ward said...

Very wise words. I think I need to take your advice. I, too, feel exhausted, and quite frankly, I'm tired of being unhappy with myself because I don't feel I measure up to all the women I continually compare myself to. Thanks for your post.


Janel said...

Yes, this is the freedom that God wants us to experience. That full abundant life - I think it has much to do with just being who He intends us to be and not comparing.

Hard to do - great rewards.

And you more than measure up, girl!

Mary Ann said...

AMEN and ditto - big time! Like I will EVER have blond hair, have long legs and be at LEAST 5'2", speak with a smooth sexy voice or understand what God is desparately trying to get me to "get".

Awesome blog Janel!! I have to figure out how YOU got your name in real writing on a blog....jeeezzz..thx alot! :)
Love you!

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