To compare or not to compare...
All of us have a problem with comparing. How do we deal with it? (Revised from Tricia’s book Generation NeXt Parenting.)
1. Discover your passion . . . and be okay with it. I love this passage I read recently in the book Rise Up With a Listening Heart: “Looking for renewal in our lives, sometimes we miss the obvious: where our real passion and love lie. Grace is present there. How easy it is to follow other people’s scripts, busying ourselves with books and seminars detailing how we should become fulfilled and renewed—and all the while ignore what really energizes us. Why are we so afraid of following our deepest passion? Perhaps we fear failing . . . Hope allows us to accept the risk of committing all our energies to what gives us life, confident that wherever it leads us will be worth the effort.” [i]
Just as each of us realize our kids are special and unique, we need to accept this for ourselves. We won’t do everything well, and we shouldn’t expect ourselves too.
“Be sure to do what you should, for then you will enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well,” says Galatians 6:4, “and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct” (NLT).
As long as I can stand before my Maker and see pleasure in His eyes, why do I wonder about what others think . . . or worry I don’t measure up? When I seek God, do what He asks, find joy where my passion lies, and feel His pleasure, then comparisons won’t matter.
2. Cultivate a Quiet Heart. Marketers make us feel inferior as they flash images of ideal parents, ideal people, on television screens and in print media. Instead of being content with who we are, we make mental lists of what we are not. Instead of being content with what God has given us, we chide ourselves for not doing more and being more.
“God, I’m not trying to rule the roost, I don’t want to be king of the mountain. I haven’t meddled where I have no business or fantasized grandiose plans,” says Psalm 131:1-2. “I’ve kept my feet on the ground, I’ve cultivated a quiet heart. Like a baby content in its mother’s arms, my soul is a baby content.” (The Message)
I remember the peaceful smile when one of my children cuddled deep in my arms, feeling the warmth and peace, and listening to my heartbeat. We need to do the same.
God’s arms are open to us, and He wants nothing more than for us to be content there. We don’t need to be king of the mountain, queen of the slim and beautiful, prince of the popular, or princess of grandiose plans. Through prayer and focus on God, our quiet hearts will remind us He is enough.
3. Conform to Christ. “Conforming to the image of God is a long and steady process of internal change as we abide in Christ. People simply do not change overnight, nor can they be forced to do so,” write Neil Anderson and Robert Saucy, authors of The Common Made Holy. “Abiding in Christ is being yoked to the gentle Jesus (Matthew 11:29).” [ii]
When our eyes are focused on Jesus, then we will view the people around us in our peripheral vision at best. We may see things that need to be changed in order to be more like Jesus, but the good news is they will be things we aren’t expected to accomplish in our own strength. When Jesus points out areas we are lacking, He will also be faithful to guide us and empower us as we join in step with Him.
[i] The Monks of New Skete, Rise Up With a Listening Heart (Yorkville Press, New York, 2004) p. 37
[ii] Neil Anderson and Robert Saucy, The Common Made Holy (Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, 1997)