My sister, Joni, is a beautiful woman. She is my younger sister by 15 months. At fifty-nine her blue eyes still shine, and she is just...honestly...lovely. Our mom and dad both had brown eyes, so when Joni was born with her sparkling blue eyes they were thrilled.
And that began a decades long desire in me for blue eyes. It hadn't dawned on me until lately that I hadn't given much thought to the color of my own eyes back then. They weren't blue, so that made me "less than" in nobody's opinion but my own. Here is how deep this insecurity weaved itself into me. A while ago at a gathering in my home, my mom was telling this cute story about Joni and how she told someone once that she got her blue eyes from our Siamese cat. I had heard this same story 500 times. Before my mom finished, I said out loud to everyone, "Yes! Yes! For the fifty millionth time! She got her eyes from our Siamese cat!"
Everyone in the room looked at me as if I had just lost my mind. My poor mom sat stunned and finally said, "Cherri, you wrecked my story" to break the awkward silence in the room. Fifty-five years of comparing my own green eyes to Joni's blue had boiled over into one monumental moment of insanity! Another one of those "Can I have a do over" moments:(
We LIVE in a world that compares EVERYTHING. You can't escape it if you tried. And no matter what, the minute you engage your thoughts toward comparison, there is no way to come out ahead...NO WAY. As the quote from Lisa says above, you are now either filled with pride or stricken with insecurity. I heard once that pride and insecurity are the flip sides of selfishness...both are self-focused. Isn't it the truth that for some reason none of us really want to admit too much to pride, but we will share our moments of insecurity sometimes like a badge of honor...oops...that pride is a slippery bugger!
There was a time in my life when I was horribly insecure about my mothering. Without a doubt I can tell you my thoughts were pretty much wholly on guess who? Yep! Me! I would think about my failings, how I could do better, how much therapy all my children would need from having such a mother, and over and over I would silently compare myself to every other mother in my sphere. In the deepest places of my heart, I always came up lacking. These thoughts plagued me day and night and made me a crazy person.
I wrote once in our parenting curriculum "nothing is as pathetic as an insecure mother...we do nutty things." Truth! Lisa Bevere says "the more we do his (Satan's) work, the less he has to." He did not have to work hard on me at all during that time. My unhealthy self-focus had sin in my life on auto-pilot.
But I had it easy-peasy compared (ha ha:) to what this current generation of young women have to deal with now. There is SO much online through social media to keep the models of comparison rotating relentlessly into their sight at lightning speed. Pinterest...I love Pinterest by the way...it has a TON of great ideas; however, it has become the mecca for comparing our lack against others perfection.
I have talked with women who get depressed looking at the never-ending barrage of pins on Pinterest because it all feels so hopelessly far from their reality. They could never be as in shape and healthy~keeping up with the latest or best work-outs for new moms, the working woman, the middle aged or like me "safe for the golden girls," essential oils, fermented foods, best supplements, the most recent list of "dirty dozen and clean fifteen," or cook the amazing meals in a pinned out, beautiful kitchen every day as some.
She will never possess a wardrobe that accents her shape and coloring to her best advantage.
Without exaggeration at all, the list goes on and on (and I didn't even get into the party/shower/wedding boards!) Let's just say I am glad I got married in the day of cake and punch with bowls of peanuts scattered around!
So what is the answer to this constant push to look at others and ourselves with an invisible measuring tape of whatever we are insecure or prideful about? I think it is first to do exactly what we have been talking about these past few weeks:
1. Realize we are loved, one of a kind, cherished, and valuable to a God who is without comparison
2. Recognize who He is and what He has done on our behalf and finally...
3. Discover that looking to the benefit and good of others frees us from the bondage of ourselves...that miserable sin on auto-pilot.
Can we get there? To the place where we can rejoice over the joys and successes of others? Here is the tough question for us moms...Can we celebrate the successes of other children over our own? Can we hope the best for those who are seemingly the ones with favor? The ones who seem to live the golden life? Will we finally see that pushing others ahead, holding others up, serving others and hoping the best for them, is EXACTLY what pleases our Father because it is then that we are more like His Son than any other time and we shine. WE SHINE because it is SO different from what everyone else is doing. Beth Moore in her book 90 Days With the Beloved Disciple, said that Christ laid aside His crown, His glory, and even His life, but never once did He lay aside His Sonship. And so it is with us. Honestly, when you really think about it, we have pathetically little to lay aside in comparison.
Thinking too much of ourselves...thinking too lowly of ourselves...both are roads of self-focus that tie our hands behind our backs in the work of His Kingdom. We need to be formidable force for His Kingdom in this one life we are living out for Him on this earth. I know I've already wasted FAR too much time on the ridiculous (see above).
Blessings and love as we swim upstream together against the waves of comparison!