If there is one thing I struggle with on a daily basis it’s comparing myself to others and feeling like I just don’t measure up. Unfortunately, the opportunities to compare myself to others are absolutely limitless. Motherhood, work, dress, appearance, home, family, performance, service for the Lord, and even our testimonies fall victim to the comparison trap. Who is really holding the measuring stick? Why does mine look different from yours? More importantly, why does mine look different from God’s?
I was participating in a Bible study called Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss recently at church. I will admit I signed up for the study to get to meet some of the women at church. I had already been attending for well over a year and only knew a few women on a superficial level. What a great way to get to know other Christian women seeking God! On the first night we filled out a little questionnaire that helped us determine which of Satan’s many lies we believed. I was surprised to discover that there was more than one. (If you have never read this book, I highly recommend it!) The great thing about this study is that it points to Bible verses to counter each lie. So I dove right into those God-given truths. One night, in our group discussion I admitted I had bought into the lie “I am not worth anything”. But, one of the women asked me when that “comparison” started. I had to put some thought into it – I have always compared myself to others in one way or another and always come up short. I could see where it became a slippery slope for me and then I could see where it changed. When I began college, I was confident that I was firm in the Lord and would stand fast. I could get my education and not get trapped in the snares that others did (comparison #1). Little by little, compromises were made but all the while I was telling myself that “At least I am not doing what THAT person is doing, so I’m not that bad (comparison #2). So after several years had passed and I didn’t recognize myself anymore. Sad, but true. When Satan had me tight in his grasp the comparison changed. I felt that I was no longer good enough. Someone was always better (comparison#3), prettier, smarter, liked more, had a better job, a better marriage and better kids…you get the idea. How did I go from “I am better than that person” to “I am not good enough”? Whew. He is quite a crafty, deceptive character, isn’t he? Thanks to the study and the Biblical truths uncovered for me, I am more aware of my thoughts when I start to think that way. But, because that thinking has been a snare in the past- Satan still tries to use it. There are still times when I wish I knew what my gifts and talents are (I tend to ask my husband if I can’t come up with anything) and am tempted to compare myself to someone whose talents are obvious . There are times when I look around and there are so many other moms who are doing “it” better. The truth is I don’t know what is going on in the lives of those other moms so I need to stay focused on the family that God has placed in MY care. In addition to disappointing myself, I have been disappointed and hurt by others- leading me to make conclusions about how they view me and how worthless I am to them too. Boy, if these thoughts get away from me, things can look pretty dismal…and Satan knows it.
Let’s do ourselves a few favors. Be real (as a friend recently said) with each other. Realize that if you are being critical of another person- you may be damaging their measuring stick, and altering your own in the process. If we measure ourselves by any other standard than God’s, then we are aiming too low and run the risk of lowering our standards. Yes, they are high standards! But, they are firm, constant, unchanging and keep us ever focused on HIS kingdom and power, not our shortcomings and inability. We were chosen, hand picked, adopted by God, crafted in the womb; we are special, wonderfully and fearfully made, predestined according to His plan. Therefore, “my value is not determined by what others think of me or what I think of myself. My value is determined by how God views me” (from Lies Women Believe).
The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7
I am having a tough time this morning…feeling like I am not good enough. But, I know some things now that I didn’t know so many years ago- praise the Lord!