The choice of comparison.

1:40 PM



   The other day, Randy and I were talking and I asked him, "Do you ever struggle with comparing yourself to others and constantly feeling like you're falling short?"  I was dying to see what he would say because I'm pretty sure I just summed up the basic struggle of all female humanity into one sentence.  His answer?  "No."

   I shouldn't have been surprised.  Of the two of us, he is certainly the more logical, level-headed, steady, and collected individual, especially as far as emotions are concerned.  So it stands to reason that something that is a HUGE obstacle, temptation and downfall for me, isn't so much of a battle for him.

   So I ranted and raved a while about how overwhelming it all feels and how "out of my control" it seems and that's when he stopped me.

"Just make a different choice."
"But I can't control how I FEEL!" I wailed pitifully.
"But you CAN control how you respond." He replied.

   And of course, he couldn't be more right.  We have a choice.  We are NOT helpless.  The enemy is not Facebook, or Instagram, or Pinterest, or a blogger, or a friend, or our worst enemy, or anything else that we think "makes us feel" something.  Inadequacy, lack of talent, poor self-image....the list goes on and on.

    Sure, you can't help a feeling from cropping up inside of you.  We walk through the mall and see poster after poster of airbrushed model and BOOM.  It's there.  We browse through a blog or magazine and see room after room of impossible interior perfection and BOOM.  It's there.  We attend a party and taste dish after dish of culinary art and BOOM, it's there. We get a Christmas letter heralding the million achievements and successes of their row of children and BOOM, it's there.  We watch someone seem to effortlessly achieve our wildest dreams, and BOOM, it's there.

But we not have to stay captive to those feelings.

I'm not enough.
Not smart enough.
Not creative enough.
I'm not as good as she is at ______.
My home isn't fancy enough.
My art isn't amazing enough.
I have nothing worthwhile to say.

   Quick as a wink, those thoughts and feelings creep up.  And you're right, there was little we could do to prevent that.  (Aside from putting on the armor of God BEFOREHAND, which is another whole post someday, and very likely the key to this whole thing!)

   But as much as I hate to admit it sometimes, my dear husband was exactly right.  We DO have a choice.  Once those feelings are there, we choose what we do with them.

   Do we dwell on them?  Letting them circulate and fester and grow until they're bigger and stronger and uglier and mightier then they were ever intended to be?  Do we take them in our arms and hold them close to us like some kind of beloved pet or friend when we should be treating them like a venomous snake?  Do we stack them up on top of each other like building blocks, creating walls around us so high that no one will ever be able to get in?

Insecurity.
Comparison.
Jealousy.
LIES.

   WE open the door.  We fling it wide and WE invite them in and we ask them to put their feet up and have a cup of coffee and stay awhile.  WE make agreements with them.  WE nod our heads to what they say, and WE pile on shame and failure and defeat until we are wallowing in the pit that WE created.

   WE ARE THE ONES WHO INVITE THOSE FEELINGS IN TO OUR MOST INTIMATE PLACES AND BEFRIEND THEM, WHEN WE SHOULD BE RUNNING IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION  AS FAST AS OUR FEET WILL TAKE US.

And I think it's time we make a different choice.

   How are you making that different choice when it comes to comparison in our competition-crazy culture?? I'd love to hear.



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5 comments

  1. Nice job Shelly, for me when I'm feeling down about any of that stuff or offended by a comment that makes me feel I don't measure up, I try to remember who I am. I am the child of the most High God and He LOVES me...
    so amazing and I ask him to empty me of pride and fill me with his love. Letting go of my pride is painful, it causes tears then I feel the peace he brings... Pray until you feel His Peace sometimes its immediate, other times I beg for him to remove the pride and it can take days. He is faithful and His Peace is Amazing!

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  2. Another great topic Shelley. Some of the ways that I battle this: By intentionally celebrating others successes and giftedness with them, by allowing others to celebrate my successes and giftedness with me, by noticing when I see jealousy and insecurity rising up in me and choosing to begin immediately thanking God for the blessings, giftedness, or success He has given them, and praying that God would expand their influence, gifts, success, etc. I don't know if I will ever be completely free from playing the comparison game, but until I am, I can choose to use it as a platform from which to launch love, encouragement, and prayer. As a side note, I don't know if it is a Mennonite thing or not, but learning to truly celebrate the giftedness of myself and others has been something that I have been learning as an adult. There's another topic for another time. :)

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  3. I have struggled with this WAY more than I wish to admit. I continue to tell myself, "I am ME. Not ______. I can't be HER, because she is already taken. I can only be ME." Sometimes it works better than others. ;) Thanks for sharing a good reminder that we can choose to believe what we want; and we shouldn't choose the lies.

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  4. Something I really struggle with. Thanks for sharing, it was good for me to read ! :)

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  5. This is a great perspective--we're not subject to our feelings, but we can make a choice!

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