Comparison Part 1: Waxing Poetic
Comparison and Jealousy are not the same thing, but they walk shoulder to shoulder, and it doesn’t take much to get them to hold hands. When that happens, they walk as one.
I advise you to not hold hands with either of them or soon you will walk with both. Then whatever creativity, productivity, or intention meant for your life will shut down because you’ll be too busy coddling the lies:
“I’m not good enough.”
“I lack ___.” [insert magic ingredient here]
“God plays favorites.”
I have been slapping away the hands of Comparison and Jealousy for most of my life, but in the past 2 years of memoir writing, they have become particularly “handsy” with me. There is much I could say on the subject, but since this is a blog post and not a sermon series, I will focus on some of my personal experience with these lies.
Keep in mind that every effective lie carries an element of truth. Also keep in mind that there is a smooth-talking snake in the grass who is very good at his job, that being to kill, steal, and destroy. I believe the more committed we are to holding hands with Jesus and following where He leads, the more intense that serpent strikes.
If this describes your life, Dear Reader, I pray this helps.
Lie #1: “I’m not good enough.”
In the proper setting, I’ve become comfortable in telling people my story, but the call to write it down in book form has been one of the hardest things I have ever done. Did you catch the part where I said I’ve been at it now for over 2 years? That fact alone lights up Lie #1 like a billboard in my brain and illuminates the fact that there are people who do this thing better and faster, and whose life story is far more interesting on the page than my own.
Lie #1 is just Perfectionism speaking in reasonable tones, but I will not let it stop me. The bigger truth is that no human being is perfect, yet the God who loves us is. The most perfect thing we can do is grab hold of His hand and give him our imperfect “yes.” He is the one who will grow us, equip us, and show us the way. So when the snake tells me I’m not good enough, I tell him, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
Lie #2: “I lack.”
Yes, it is true. The two biggest things I lack are skill and discipline. My training as a writer ended with a composition class I took in 1985, and discipline has always ebbed and flowed through my life, driven mostly by necessity and rarely sustained by good motives.
I call Lie #2 the old Blinders Trick. When we focus on what we lack, then we can only see one path before us and it’s usually a dead end. When we follow the path of lack, we miss the signposts reminding us of all we have. And those signposts mark the trail-heads to some beautiful places.
When I feel the blinders of lack squeezing my head, I ask God to help take them off. I then say to the snake, “I am made in the image of God, the Creator of heaven and earth. He called me to this, and He will give me what I need to get through it.”
Soon, my thinking shifts. What comes to mind is my entire life of journal writing, my years of teaching English to my kids, and all the presentations I’ve written for women’s ministries. Before I realize it, I’m out of the rut and on my way down a new path.
Lie #3: “God plays favorites.”
This is the big one, the one that old snake hisses with his every breath. He knows if he can make us believe it, then we will yank ourselves away from God to run in the opposite direction. I don’t mean to downplay the pain of stillborn dreams or the frustration of waiting places. Those struggles are real, and our emotions are one type of truth, but a bigger truth calls me to hold tighter, not to let go.
The bigger truth is that God is God and I am not. In times of struggle, I remind myself that He alone sees the big picture, He alone knows every trail. When other people appear to have reached their destination while I’m still stumbling along, I trust.
I trust His goodness.
I trust His plan.
I trust His love.
The Book says God loved the world so much that He gave us Jesus. Last time I checked, “world” means everybody. I believe in the unconditional love of God because Jesus extends his hand to whoever will take it, and when I was at my lowest, he extended it to me.
Dear Reader, the invitation is the same today as it was yesterday and as it will be tomorrow. Jesus says, “Follow me.”
I choose to take His hand and hold on tight.
“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
I have a big favor to ask of you. Would you please take time to read Comparison Part 2 then give me feedback? I want to know which version you relate to or find more helpful. Do you prefer when I wax poetic or speak off the cuff? Sound off in the comments to cast your vote. No need to explain your opinion unless you want to. Thank you!