Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Snare of Compare

We mom's can really be queens of the comparison game. I've been there and done that, and when I'm not careful I can slip back into that trap quite effortlessly. I can honestly say that as I grow as a mom and just a daughter of the King, I find I am slowly easing out of this more and more. I'm sure there will be elements of it throughout my whole life but praise God that He gently works on me.

I think I've said before that I've had times in my life when I've fallen into a thinking that everyone had to be like me, or more strongly, that I had to be like them or there was no satisfaction to be found in what we did as a family.

Do you ever notice it? You can be talking about just about anything and the conversation will turn to what they do, what you do, how they do it different, therefore who does it better...etc. Now, mind you, sometimes passing on suggestions and helpful hints is great but when we become competitive and walk away wishing they would just be like us, or that we could just be like them we are not living in freedom.

I've been pondering lately the verse in Thessalonians that states that we should mind our own business.

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you,..

I've always found this verse to be one of the most blunt admonishments in scripture. It's blunt to me especially because I gravitate to sharing and enjoy when others share. Yet, how quickly share becomes compare! In this world of technology we don't really know what it means anymore to mind our own business. Everyone's business is plastered all over the place in most regards. It's a comparison minefield.

What God continually works to show me is that comparisons are all about self. Self wants to be flattered by imitation. If that does not fulfill self wants to redefine itself by what it deems as better. Both of these are distractions from Christ. I've pondered this a great deal lately since the conviction I found in May not to look like another "body part" in the body of Christ but to look like what God created me to be in his body. If the hand compares itself to the eye, it will indeed find drastic differences. Those are as they aught to be! Christ, the creator of the body and the ordainer of the character there of is the only one the eye or hand should look to for definition.

So if we know this, why do we compare? I ask myself.

I think I compare out of a motivation of discontent at times with who and what God made me. I wish I was more like another mom who can do this, that, and endlessly more. Fact is ladies, I don't know her weakness.. God does and he also knows how she is discontented. So, instead I need to focus on how, and ask God how, He wants to put who He created me to be for the use and sake of his awesome plan. For indeed, he has said that I am me, and no other. My discontent with myself beyond my sin which needs to be dealt with and I should be thankful I am uncomfortable with, is in essence an argument with God. A disputation with His sovereignty. In reality, how would I ever dare to argue? I wouldn't and yet I do.

The other major motivation can be my desire for admiration and affirmation. A sense of glory....ooooh... did I just say glory!? What glory is there that I possibly deserve? Think-think, think-think, NONE. So why would I waste my time seeking what is not mine? Because it is a pleasant distraction from the enemy and a well that does not meet my thirst but deceives. I long for that which I should only turn to Christ for, and he is full and plenty in this regard! Endless love flows from Him for me and it is a pure love that allows the bonds of self to be broken, which is what I really need and long for.

In the book "Don't Waste Your Life" by John Piper, I love when Piper asks me this:

"Would you feel more loved by God if he made much of you, or if he liberated you from the bondage of self-regard, at great cost to himself, so that you enjoy making much of him forever?"

Wow! Yes! I raise my hand heartily! Please do that to me God!

Is that not so true?! What I really long for is not the fulfillment of self, but the freedom from it!

Comparisons are a journey down self lane. They are a rabbit trail off the straight and narrow. Sooner or later God will have to wake us up in His love and get our eyes back on Him and our feet back on the path He has for us. Yet, don't forget that they are therefore one major thing.. a waste of time. Time is a precious gift to be used as a resource for God's glory. Not to be wasted.

When the hand wastes it's time wanting to be the eye, or it wastes it's time working to convince the eye it would rather be a hand, it is wasting it's time. Further more, it is being distracted from living the freedom and joy of being the hand God intended it to be. It will shine with glory, the pure glory of the father as it fulfills what it was meant to do.

So, as you make your many visits along blogville today, or you talk with a great friend/ sister in the Lord, keep your eyes on Christ. I pray to do the same. To continually come to Him for definition and affirmation. Be the part of His body he wants YOU to be! Find your joy and encourage your sisters as they find theirs. Encourage one another in the Lord, spur one another on in loving truth that desires for each of you a better fulfillment of your specific callings.


tricia said...

Great Post! This is a trap so easy to fall into. I find that I do this less and less. Thank you for the new verse to chew on.

Joan said...

Alicia - Funny, I was just thinking about this issue this afternoon as I was feeling vaguely annoyed and inadequate after reading a friend's profile on Facebook. Thanks for the great reminder!