For years I’ve wondered how I measured up. Looks, possessions, talent and purpose.
The list goes on.
But comparison is an ugly disease. It’s highly contagious and the age of onset is very young.
It infected me a long time ago…it must have been Mattel’s fault. Barbie dolls, Easy Bake ovens, pot holder looms and dream toy kitchens. The obsession for acquisition was exhausting. My mom thought I spent a lot of time studying. I was studying all right, but it wasn’t my homework—it was the toy section of the Sears catalog.
Ok…now you know I’m really old.
And then came high school. The popular girls all shopped at cute little boutiques where I only dared to window peep. I wanted a Hang Ten® satin jacket. My dad would only splurge for a Hang Five. So I sewed.
For a while, my faux fashion ran a tight race with the couture queens. But then I got my driver’s license. And there it was in plain sight. My Ford fossil. My image was afflicted. Today distressed things are vogue, but not back then. So, I parked far away.
If only I’d kept that 69 Mustang! Who knew that the car I was embarrassed to drive would one day be a collector’s dream.
After my children were born there was a span of time when I was symptom-free. Toddler tyranny, laundry warfare and kitchen combat suppressed my comparison cancer for a few years. Cabbage Patch Dolls fought with my passion for fashion and Thomas the Tank Engine railroaded my Hobby Lobby budget. But the season of remission expired when the last child entered Kindergarten. By the time the symptoms returned, it had metastasized.
No longer just confined to clothing and cars, my need for validation spread. I compared my address, my home décor, my children, my influence, my time shares (or the lack thereof) and success. Was my house as nice? Is my husband as successful as hers? Are my children as talented?
My self-dialogue droned on like my son’s TV left on all night. I was exhausted from all the re-runs.
One day weary from my inner toxic chatter, I bowed my head and prayed.
Lord, please fix me.
Did you hear me, Lord?
His delayed reply was simple. “Just turn it off.”
But how? I cried.
“The reason that comparison is so exasperating is because there is no one else like you. I created you on purpose. I custom designed your talents and your destiny as well as your husband’s calling and your children’s purpose. I even predetermined the exact times and places in which you should live. But you want a quick fix, a surgical remedy, a transplant. And I’m sorry—there is not a suitable match for you.”
No suitable match?
“That’s right. I broke the mold when I made you. That’s why comparison is futile. You are a unique special-order and I tolerate no duplication. There is no one else now, nor has there ever been with the exact combination of outward beauty and inner purpose as you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Today, I admit—I still care if I measure up…but I’ve changed my test subject. I compare myself to me. Now I strive to be the best me ever.
And it feels good to be free of the comparison trap…
and just be who God created me to be.
So…what about you—in what ways has comparison tripped you up and how did you get over it?