How blessed we are to have friends who lift us up, who speak truth to us, who listen, give advice, encouragement and their constant prayers. This is richness; this is true treasure to have such wonderful women in your life.




Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A Green-eyed Monster

"Comparison will attempt to puff you up through the insidious vehicle of pride or it will push you down through the tyranny of insecurity."~Lisa Bevere Without Rival

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!"https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/ca/Niobe050905-Siamese_Cat.jpeg 

Silence... 

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.
They will never have a perfectly organized pantry or sewing/craft room/she-shed.  Her finances could not afford the farmhouse out on the acreage where she raises grass-fed beef, free-range chickens, and her own sheep to sheer for her children's clothes each winter and grow her own organic vegetables and fruits






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!

Cherri





11 comments:

  1. Amen, sista. It's time to be ourselves and who God made us to be - delighting i Him and all that He's given us personally. We are ALL rich!

    "Comparison and competition are enemies to the call of God." -Michelle McClain-Walters

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love your words, Diane..."It's time to be ourselves and who God made us to be...delighting in Him and all He's given us personally. We are all rich!!! Love! Love! LOVE this!!!

      Delete
  2. You have so spoken to my heart...I am sitting here feeling every word you have written..guilty!!! and yet feeling so thankful that someone else understands...Thank you so much for your inspiring words...I inhale your candor!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fascinating to see how God works continuously on our spirit and strength, even as we slumber through life. God was working while I slumbered for when I wake up into the sunshine today, the bright lights glare into my solitude and peace, blocking out all the calm of which I have found repose. I have been around my family much more frequently in the last month. It's been a conscious purposeful effort to do so as the anniversary of my aunt's death creeps up and I am much more aware of my longing for family and the brevity of this life. Different scenes with them though cause different lights to shine. Sometimes the warmth of their loving rays help me to find comfort on my summer days as I bask in the blessing of their love. We frolic and laugh like the kids we once were out in the summer fun as my parents encourage us from the yard side. Yet, as the days pass, I feel the increased heat of this sunshine with friction of the pressures baking on our skins and the rays heating our moods in ways where the raised temperatures take us all out of our cool safe places. My family most definitely reflects the rays of the sun. Sometimes, they are the warmth I need to start my day or enjoy my life, the reflections that are priceless but all too momentary. Other times though, they are like the sun with the heat causing friction or the worst Uvrays, silent but deadly, seeping into my skin as every one of my flaws or imperfections are magnified in their hot bright glares. Who then is the rival?
    While there have been most definitely times in which my siblings have rivaled against each other for affection from my parents and while there are most definitely times in which my parents perhaps unknowingly use us as rivals against each other or even themselves so they can magnify and self-inflate their roles and feelings of worth, I think the true rival in my family's loving but sometimes unhealthy interactions is me. Starved for approval and affection, the mirage I often see gazing ahead of me in the sunshine of my family is a perfect self. Each of them gives me an image of myself that I desperately long to be, a self that is somehow better as a daughter, sister, and sometimes person. This mirage gazes at me and taunts me in the heat of their expectations always being just out of reach, vanishing as I think I'm stepping closer to it or always one step ahead. Although this mirage of self helps me to strive towards betterment, it's left me with lacking worth. If I can be that rival, I will be loved. Accepted. Yet with this constant rival of perfection impossible to attain, I am always less, never good enough and consequently always hurt, broken, useless. Friction has increased the last few days, self-worth decreased. My feeling of being lovable disappearing. And all because I don't know how to enjoy the summer sunshine. Instead of laying and slumbering in the quiet of the sun, I've allowed it's heat to increase my restlessness. Once again, I find myself wanting to step inside, alone, away from the heat, back into the comfortable and embracing life I've made in my home with my sons and husband. Oh so difficult though as I look at the crystals of the sunshine dancing in the rays as they flow down from the sky warming whatever they touch. So how then do I find a balance in the sunshine's rival of my sense of self? I turn to a scripture that has brought me healing nd acceptance the last few years. John 3:16...because He loves me that much and because to Him, even in my imperfections, I am the daughter He loves, perfectly imperfect.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Lovely post! It's so awesome how, no matter what age, we are learning and growing into who we really are.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Boy! That is sure the truth, Dawn! Always learning and always growing! What an adventure!!!

      Delete
  5. Wow! This was perfect! I don't have any words just yet...just wow!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I just love this book! I have basically compared high and low, sometimes on the same day! I read the bible not to compare and then bam! I forget!
    It is a very dangerous game Satan uses to hurt us and if we are not careful, will get us every. single. time. Pride or insecurity. I read a story on face book this week, basically a person parked like WAY WRONG. The other person came up and boxed him all the way around with grocery carts. The question posed: Who is right? Like my mama used to say, two wrongs don't make a right!!! We don't win either side of this coin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I have basically compared high and low, sometimes in the same day! I read the Bible not to compare and then bam! I forget" Lynn, I tell you, I have felt the same way because it happens so quickly and silently! And you are also right is saying it is a "very dangerous game" Satan plays with us! Thank you for your comments! They are always insightful!!!

      Delete
    2. I'm Loving the Book, enjoying reading the comments, I agree its a dangerous trap when we play the comparison game, I pray that we all as we are tempted to compare take a moment and pray,

      Delete

PLEASE leave your comment!!! We need to hear from you!!!!