“I wish I had the patience of Jill.”
“I wish I were creative like Beth.”
“It seems like Kathy is able to do it all. I wish I were more like her.”
“Sarah has such a calm way about her. Why can’t I seem to get it together?”
Do these sound familiar? I am sure that you have seen a lot of parenting that you would never repeat yourself. But often we look around and see parents that have what we feel we lack. We watch them. We want to be more like them. We may even ask, “How do you do it? What’s your secret?” But try as we may, we just can’t seem to replicate what they have. This leaves us feeling “less than,” inadequate, dissatisfied.
The title of this post is, Stop Comparing. Ultimately, this is the simple solution for this problem. But like most solutions, it is easier said than done. If it were just a matter of stopping, we would have done that a long time ago. So how do we stop comparing? How do we balance accepting who God has made us to be and seeking to better ourselves? Here are some simple truths that will help you in this task:
God made you the way He did ON purpose.
God is perfect. He doesn’t make mistakes. And He didn’t make a mistake when He created you. You have the personality traits and intelligence you do because that is exactly how He wanted you to be. We don’t get to pick how our children will look or turn out. But God does. You are His child. You are His creation. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.
God made you the way He did FOR a purpose.
God has gifted all of His children with special talents and abilities. Discovering yours is a great way to know how you can be used by God. Once we can identify our areas of gifting, we can better see God’s plans and purposes for our lives. How can you uncover your gifts? Get in a relationship with a spiritual mentor. This person may be able to see hidden gifts that you have not recognized before. Read God’s word. See what He reveals to you. Take a spiritual gift assessment (a google search on this topic will uncover a number of available options). There is a special peace that comes with knowing that you have a specific job to do in the body of Christ.
God gave you your particular struggles for a purpose.
Remember Paul? He had a thorn in his side. He wanted it out. But God said no. Not because God is mean, but because it was better for Paul if it stayed than if God removed it (which He had all power to do). “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). When we struggle, mess up, or look useless, God gets to step in and use us in a mighty way. What happens then? Who gets the glory? Certainly not weak, little ol’ me. We are here to glorify the One who holds all things together. When we allow Him to work through our weaknesses, we bring glory to His name.
Comparing yourself to others questions God’s omnipotence.
When I want to be someone other than who God has perfectly designed me to be and perfectly gifted me to be (struggles and all), I am essentially saying, “You messed up God. If I were in charge, I wouldn’t be like this. You got it wrong.” That kind of thinking puts us at the center and God on the periphery. It is a modern day form of idol worship. When I find myself caught in the comparison trap, I can prayerfully seek God, thanking Him for creating me, gifting me and loving me just as I am.
This doesn’t mean that we should not strive to make changes in the areas that God prompts us to change. However, we need to listen to His prompting, not that of the world. And if we really want to strive to be like someone else, that someone else should be Jesus. As my pastor often says, “I know how you’re are going to turn out. You’re going to turn out like Jesus.” Now that is Someone worth striving to be like.