Saturday, March 29, 2014

Saying NO to Comparison: Letting go of the life I had pictured

Why do we compare ourselves to others?  When you hear good news about friends/colleagues, do you rejoice with them? Or do you quickly compare and maybe feel like you don't measure up?  

Comparison steals joy, so why do we find ourselves so often caught in a cycle of ugly competition?  I think everyone has a deep down desire to belong.  Especially women.  We want to know we are doing a good job with our husbands, friends, homes, children, and really our lives in general.  We look at others and use our peers as a measuring stick for our own lives.  It truly is a vicious cycle.

Facebook and in recent years Pinterest and Instagram have made it far too easy to gain a "perfect snapshot" into others lives.  These sites are a great way to keep up with family and friends and plan our fun events, but they rarely show the behind-the-scenes dirty details.

We see what others want us to see.  Perfect pictures.  Perfect marriages.  Perfect children.  Perfect homes.  Perfect parties.  Perfect. Perfect. Perfect.....  Let's get REAL.  There was only ONE perfect person in this world and He certainly wasn't on facebook.  We know others lives aren't perfect, so why are we comparing our lives to what only LOOKS perfect on a website??

 I am so very guilty of this.  I see friends and family posting every day to social media.  Truth is I love keeping up with them!  Truth is I cherish the joy in seeing their successes!  Truth is I compare myself far, far too often to their lives.  Before I was dating/married when I would see an announced engagement or "best date ever..." I would think, "OH YAY so happy for them, but dang why can't I find someone like that??".  I would see posts of wedding photos or engagement shots of young couples so in love and sometimes ponder why it hadn't happened for me at age 30.

At 34 with an adoption in the works and an awesome husband with a LONGED for marriage in my life you would think I would be over it.  I have the wedding photos and engagement shots on my page.  I have the best date ever posts with pictures of flowers sent to me!  I have all the makings of the "perfect facebook life", but I still have the guilty disease of comparison.  Funny thing is my life isn't perfect.

I still compare myself to friends and family.  Some have babies, some are pregnant, some have completed their adoptions, some have precious pre-school and elementary schoolers.  Some post the awesome things that are happening in their marriage.  And still I think why not me?? Why not us??  You see comparison has exposed a huge sin in me.  Envy.  I'm looking at what I don't have and wanting it.

Oh and don't think I just do this to myself.  I drag my poor husband in on it too.  Why doesn't HE support me like so and so's husband??  Why didn't HE send me flowers today? Why isn't HE out grilling amazing meals?  Lord have mercy!  I guess in my comparisons I want him to be every husband I see on facebook wrapped up into ONE man.  The simple truth is I DO have a loving, supportive husband who I would not trade a million dollars for, but my comparisons don't always allow me to appreciate what we DO have.

See that's the thing about comparison.  It makes us focus on what we DON'T have.  It takes the focus off the good!  It steals our joy from realizing all the positive, happy elements we DO have in our lives.  It makes us feel like we don't measure up.  This is one of satan's greatest ploys to destroy us.  Satan whispers, "you aren't, you can't, you won't, you don't have..."  But Christ has given you all things in Him! He has a unique plan for each one of us that cannot be compared to another.  We must trust in the purposes He has for our individual lives!

When we strive to be who God made us to be we find real meaning, purpose, fulfillment and ultimately satisfaction.  We cannot discover God's will for our own lives when we are looking at other people!

I am growing to realize that it doesn't matter I wasn't married at 25.  It doesn't matter I don't have school age children at 34.  It doesn't matter that I couldn't carry my own babies.  None of this matters to me because it was not part of God's plan for MY life.  I wouldn't be who I am without the struggles I have been through!

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