Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Comparison and Feeling Left Out

Bear with me as I write this (or as you read it) I will probably ramble, but I hope to make some sense. I am a strong believer that there are things that go in my journal and things that get blogged. This is in that grey area in between and I really hope that me being honest with you about my struggles may help you (or someone) as well. In saying that, I already know that I will not have some divine awaking in this blog post. I know that this is an area of my life that I’ve struggled with for years and am still battling. 

Okay, Dana, let’s get on with it. 

This bible verse has been haunting me. Ha, should I even say it that way? It seems like every time I open my bible I turn to this chapter and there it is- which is kind of funny since the tab for this book of the bible was ripped off years ago and I am surprised I can even find where it begins.  I read NIV, but over a year ago I wrote down the Message translation of this passage in my bible because it spoke to me. And now it’s haunting me - lovely. 

Galatians 6:4-5

4-5 Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.

I love it! It’s almost like part of an inspirational speech. I can see Paul walking across a large stage surrounded by thousands of people say “Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best WITH YOUR OWN LIFE!” And the the entire arena breaks into applause. WooHoo! I’m right there, but wait it’s not that easy. 

First part - make a careful exploration of who YOU are and the work YOU have been given

If you’ve been around for a bit you probably know that I am on that journey of exploring exactly who I am and the work I’ve been given. As I type this today I have a strong belief that I am meant to minister to women, to tell women they are more than their mistakes and to show them the true beauty of grace. I am also meant to be a mother and that includes my current journey of being a mother to a teenager and two toddlers - you know the laundry, the cooking, that diaper changes and potty training - all that good stuff. I have to remember that my roll as a mother may be what God wants me to do now. Even though my heart is in ministry, it may not be my time at this moment - I think that’s that careful exploration of the work you’ve been given

Since Paul says “and sink yourself into that” I believe that’s being accomplished right now since I’m writing (ministry) and doing laundry (mother/wife). Ah, the best for both worlds. 

Ok, what does he say next, Don’t be impressed with yourself. Yikes, well, I think I’ll cover that in just a bit. 

Don’t compare yourself with others - Bingo - that is the line that I need to hover on a bit (a bit meaning a very long time). Theodore Roosevelt said “Comparison is the thief of joy” and by golly he was so right. I feel that needs to be tattooed on me somewhere so that I have another constant reminder. 

Urgh! I dislike comparison so much, but yet I live it. I compare myself to my sister, to my friends, to the woman in front of me at HEB. It’s the horrible cycle that I’m trying to stop. And let me tell you that when I compare I always come out on the bottom - meaning I compare then I beat myself up. Have you done this? 

In the blogging world there are so many amazing women who do amazing things and are so talented. Some have degrees, some do not. Some have lived through horrible tragedies, some have not. I can always find something that I just hone in on. Look at her living room, look at clothes, look at her body compared to mine, look how successful she is, look at her faith, listen to the way she speaks. 

I am telling you this is my biggest area of prayer right now - this is the biggest sin I deal with at this time in my life. 

The fact is, we do not hate ourselves, nor do we need to learn to love ourselves. We need to learn how to deny ourselves so we can do that which does not come naturally - to truly love God and others. Our malady is not “low self-esteem” nor is it how we view ourselves; rather, it is our low view of God. Our problem isn’t so much a “poor self-image” as it is a “poor God-image.” Or need is not to love ourselves more but to receive His incredible love for us and to accept His design and purpose for our lives. 

Once we have received His love, we will not have to compare ourselves to others; we will not focus on “self” at all. Instead, we will become channels of His love to others. 

You see that part where she says “Once we’ve received His love” and truly loving God, I believe I’ve got that, but she’s saying I don’t because I still struggle with comparison. You agree or disagree? 

What gets me is last night as my best friend was trying to back out on a great opportunity because she comparing herself to others, I (me - the girl here telling you that this is her biggest sin) was able to  walk her through it and show her that she is Amazing! Because you know what she is and I love her dearly. Why can’t I turn that around on myself? Am I supposed to or does that go back to Paul saying, Don’t be impressed with yourself?

All this head drama has put me into a place of hurt recently. I’ve let myself get overly hurt by something that probably shouldn’t hurt. Without details, I am feeling a bit left out, uninvited, a bit like I’m 13 again (Oh man I can’t stand my early teen years - so many stories for another day). And I don’t know why I’m letting it get to me - we are talking full on tears - poor Matt. I am not sure he realized how much female drama would be in his house when we met five years ago. 

You know what I keep coming back to

Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.

It sounds so much like the words I’ve spoken to Shelby, You focus on your life and your goals, and your abilities and your gifts and don’t worry so much with what others are doing. It hurts to be left out, but know that God has a purpose for that as He does with everything else. I am not meant to be there - I am meant to be here. And here is good. 

ahhh, exhale. This is still a battle. A real, raw battle that I need to deal with and I need to conquer. A battle I hope to show my girls doesn’t need to be - comparison isn’t fun most of the time especially when you are comparing your uniquely made life with someone else’s uniquely made life. God never meant us to all be the same and God surely never meant for our paths to look the same, so why do I care if mine is different from yours? Have I not truly embraced Christ’s love for me? Is Nancy Leigh DeMoss correct? 

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