What do all these women have in common?
Women who are mums, women who are missionaries, women who are missionary mums, women who are making a difference in their workplace, women in church leadership.
Did you spot it?
Well they’re all women, yes. They’re all friends of mine. And they have all, at one point or another, struggled with the same thing.
What is it?
Comparison is something I have battled with on and off for years. Same problem, different issues. So in my teenage years it was all about looks and appearance. A few years later it was people who were married, or who had better jobs. More recently I have compared myself as a mother, a homemaker, a leader, even a disciple (oh, the irony). And the next step on this destructive journey is to start comparing my kids.
It is completely debilitating. Utterly paralysing.
In order to compare with another we make judgements. Often they are silent and internal and so all the more dangerous because of this. We make judgements of where we think we are in the pecking order. We judge the subject of our comparison and either conclude that we are superior or inferior. The former leads to pride, the latter leads to condemnation. It’s a lose-lose.When we make judgements we distance ourselves from those we are comparing ourselves to. It’s harder to be vulnerable, the barriers go up as we try to preserve our self-esteem. And we also distance ourselves from God as we try to seek our identity aside from Him.
When we compare, we are aware of our lack. What we don’t have. Or what we have, but don’t have in as greater measure. The gaps, the deficiencies.
Other women become our competition rather than allies. Have you ever walked into a room and felt a chill in the air? Some of the “frosty” behaviour women can exhibit is a “fruit” of comparison. If it was something we confessed to each other, and to God, we could create a very different dynamic. Sisterhood rather than rivalry, love instead of fear, encouragement instead of critique.
When was the last time you heard someone openly confessing envy? It’s not something I readily admit. Envy is another “fruit” of comparison. I like to think I’m past the stage of envy and comparison. But it continues to lurk it’s ugly head at some of the most unlikely moments.
I know why it continues to lurk.
I haven’t completely nailed sonship. Or rather daughtership. I haven’t fully taken hold of the fact that I’m a daughter of the most wonderful Father I could ever dream to have. For much of the time I act like an orphan, not a daughter. The orphan lives with a hole in their heart they are trying to fill. The daughter knows the pure, fulfilling , and complete love of the father. The orphan never feels good enough, and somehow needs to prove their worth, measuring it against another. The daughter knows in her heart that she is good enough, simply because the Father made her, knows her, loves her.
I would love a few brave women to share a little of your experiences.
What have some of your struggles been with comparison, how you have overcome it or are in the process of overcoming it. Feel free to write in the comments section or if you have a longer story please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
posted by Anna