I struggle with comparisons, and I would venture a guess and say that most women have compared themselves with another at some point in the past week… maybe even the last hour. Social media is a huge perpetrator in the comparison game- we’re bombarded with pictures of “perfection” anywhere we look. We have to realize, though, that a picture is just that: a snapshot of what we’re expected to see.
Being surrounded with images of everyone else’s picture-perfect lives can be a real soul-crusher. Why don’t my nightly dinners look like that? Why isn’t my living room filled with DIY wonders and beautiful “found” treasures? Why doesn’t my blog have as many followers as that one? Why doesn’t my hair look that way? Why haven’t I made homemade play-doh for my children? Why can’t my kid recite the alphabet in French or Spanish or whatever other language preschoolers are learning these days? Why didn’t I think of that? Why doesn’t my life hold up to theirs? Why aren’t I worthy of approval and acceptance? Why am I left lacking? Why am I always lacking?
You’re not. There is so much more to life than a Pinteresting existence. Jesus wants more for us that to compare ourselves to other people. Our focus should be on the Cross, not on worldly things. It’s too easy to get wrapped up in the insignificant- that’s the battle we fight daily. We’re supposed to be living out our lives in a way that would glorify Him- are you glorifying God with your life? I’m not sure I am. Every twinge of jealousy or envy I feel is like telling Him that I don’t believe He has a better plan for me. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 says it as plainly as possible: God has a plan for YOU. And it’s a really, really good one. If you believe that God is who He says He is and that His word is infallible, then guess what? You have to believe that He has a plan for your life that is yours and yours alone. And that plan is the best one for you. Despite what you may think you want, God knows you better, and He thinks you’re worthy of the ultimate gift: His son. What else do you need to know?
Maybe He didn’t gift you with the same talents as someone else. That is OKAY! It’s okay if we’re not all great bakers, seamstresses, hostesses or crafty artists. You have strengths, even if you can’t recognize them for yourself. Seek it out, pray over it, ask God to reveal your strengths to you and then dwell in those. Honor Him through those- serve Him through those. Realize that you were created for a unique purpose- and you were perfectly formed for your life.
Don’t get me wrong- it’s totally okay to look to other people for inspiration. But it’s not okay to beat yourself up for not being “as good” as someone else. Your journey is not their journey. I’m having to come to terms with the fact that my perfect may not be your perfect, but it doesn’t matter! We’re all different, so what is beautiful and lovely to me may not be all that great to you. My life is beautiful to me, and my focus to make sure that it’s beautiful to God, too.
As much as I love to seek ideas and inspiration from Pinterest and blogs, there’s a part of me that rates myself next to every beautiful image and blog post. Where am I lacking? There and there and there. Check, check, check. No more. This comparison culture is sucking the joy out of so many of us that feel like we will never measure up. But guess what? You DO measure up- God loves you and created you perfectly just as you are, and I’d rather be beautiful and interesting to Him than Pinteresting to someone else.
I’m praying this verse over my life today, “Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” (1 Peter 3:3-4, ESV). My greatest desire is for a gentle and quiet spirit. Because that is what is beautiful and precious in the sight of God- and it’s imperishable! We aren’t called to be enviable or good at everything- what matters to God is what’s within you and how you love and serve Him. That’s all. You may not be able to Pin that, but you can surely live it.