From: April and Julie
Genesis 29:16-30 tells of a life long comparison between two sisters. The story is pretty intense. And kinda weird at the same time. First of all, Jacob marries his cousins. Gross. The cousins are sisters, Rachel and Leah. One is very pretty, the other very……fertile.
If you had to pick between being nice to look at or being able to give or bear children, what would you choose? Isn’t it funny how we always want what someone else has? But don’t you know it works both ways? Someone else wants what you have too. Short girls wanna be tall, and tall girls wanna be short. I just want to be average. Depending on my shoes, I sometimes can be.
But at times it goes much deeper than that. We compare ourselves without even realizing we are. We try to think back and figure out at what age did we learn to compare ourselves to others? Even as toddlers we see a toy that another toddler has and we want it so we go and snatch it, usually resulting in a smack or a bite, or some form of retaliation. We are just born with it. But it boils down to its foundation…
Comparison is a byproduct of something bigger. Pride. From pride comes a multitude of other self destructive behaviors and thoughts. The need to compare ourselves is one, and probably the biggest. We don’t usually handle our jealousy with smacks, or bites anymore (keyword: usually), but we still don’t handle it well. We tell ourselves we aren’t enough. Or that we need to be better. We don’t do something as well as someone else.
As moms, we tend to do this more often than not. Or as girls in general. We are just awful to ourselves.
Is jealousy and the need to compare the same thing? No, but they hold hands. You don’t really have one without the other.
Rachel was jealous of Leah’s ability to bear children and so she therefore compared herself. On the flip flop, Leah was apparently a “10-footer” (only pretty from about 10 feet away) and was envious of Rachel’s beauty. So she compared herself also.
I am envious of people who can wake up early and exercise and do their quiet time with God all before 6am. I therefore compare myself to that standard. And by that standard I am a failure most days. That translates into poor self image. Poor self image turns into Insecurity. And we know insecurity is the root of pride. All because it’s hard for me to wake up extra early??! One comparison turns into so much more than that.
Comparison is the thief of joy – Theodore Roosevelt
I think sometimes we also try and compare ourselves to what we once where or what we think we should be. I may never get back into a 26 inch size waist, or have long flowing hair, or be able to laugh at everything in life as carefree as I did when I was 20. Sometimes we’re not comparing ourselves to other people were comparing our life to something it once was. “When I was in this situation life was better… when I was skinnier I was happier”… “at this point in my life I should have it all or a better job”… This can be so dangerous because we never live up to ourselves in our own eyes. Comparison can be just as much about looking in the mirror.
“On February 8, 2002, life’s problems had become too big for Brenda Heist. The Pennsylvania mother of two, who was getting a divorce and facing financial uncertainty, dropped off her children, daughter Morgan, 8 and son Lee, 12, at school and went to a park, where she began to cry. She was approached by some homeless people who asked if she was all right, and when they said they were leaving for Florida, she asked to go with them.
She disappeared for the next 11 years.
“She left with $20 in her pocket and the clothing on her back and that was it,” Dr. Phil McGraw told TODAY on Friday in a network exclusive. “She didn’t have makeup, she didn’t have a packed bag, a credit card. She had 20 bucks and an empty purse, and off she went.”
Heist, after being gone for more than a decade, spoke to McGraw in an interview that will aired on the Dr. Phil show. “I just kept saying to myself, ‘They’re better off without me,'” she told him. “From a professional standpoint I’’m looking for the answer to that question: Who does this?” McGraw told TODAY. “When I first sat down with her, she was in complete and utter meltdown. I mean full body tremors, shaking, and not because of the interview but because she was getting ready to have to come to grips with what she had done.”
Heist, now 54, assumed a new identity while living in Florida. At times she was homeless, though she also held odd jobs and had new relationships. But her real identity was never far from the surface. “When did you stop crying and start living?” McGraw asked Heist. “I don’t know if I’ve ever stopped crying and started living, to be honest with you,” she replied.”
You know what I think happened? I think that in her head she could never live up to the person that she thought she should be. She compared herself to the unreal and so she believed the lie that her family was better off without her.
Comparison is about looking at something that’s not even real and thinking we should measure up to that. With celebrities photo shopping their own pictures, creating gaps between their thighs that are never there, and even an app that you can fix up your own selfies for smoother skin or a thinner jaw line. Newsflash – we know when those giant eyelashes on your selfie are not real! We created a world where we compare ourselves against the unreal.
“A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.” Proverbs 14:30
The only true person that we should ever compare ourselves to is Jesus. If we were made in His image, then why are we comparing ourselves to something else? I will never look like Kim Kardashian, I will never have height like a supermodel, I will never have the best laugh, make the most money, be the best mother in the universe. I will never be the greatest spouse and have perfect meals on the table every night at five, with all the laundry folded. But in the social media driven world, we want to be the best. Which leads us to comparison of the fake.
“For you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?” 1 Corinthians 3:3
What I have to remind myself is that we are custom designed. There’s nobody else you were made to be. Like it was stated in a previous blog, Identity doesn’t have to be a crisis, we compare ourselves to the wrong things, and become disappointed in ourselves when the outcome isn’t exactly like that magazine picture or when the results aren’t the same as someone elses.
We are told in the Bible that we are formed in God’s image. When will that be enough?
We are meant to be “Set apart from the world”
Romans 12:2 says,”Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
We aren’t supposed to love the world….love the people yes, try to be like it? No.
1 John 2:15 says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
When we let thoughts of comparison and jealousy in our minds, we contaminate ourselves. Our hearts were created for One Love. We cannot hold jealousy and love in the same space.
Maybe if we start right now to love ourselves as Jesus does, which is the you in the mirror right now, we can flush out all that contamination. All that thought-vomit can be pushed out and taken over by love and self worth. Satan knows if he can get us to concentrate on comparison then we can never look forward as to what God truly has for us. If we are stuck on looking at the flaws we miss all the beauty He wants us to see.
Maybe if we change we won’t pass on the comparison problem to our daughters and children and on and on… Maybe…