How Do You Compare?

The word failure dangles within my sight. I reach out and take hold of it, knowing it belongs to me. Its presence so strong, my eyes refuse to focus on anything else. I don’t see progress. Or second chances. And certainly not grace.  I only see failure.

It follows me around throughout my day, clinging tight to my every move. It shouts at me when I encounter other women who seem to have it all together – women who emulate who I so desperately want to be. I discreetly study these women, observing them as they interact with their husbands and children. I notice how they connect with their friends. I watch them as they work. They are helpful and kind. They are invested in the lives around them. They are brave, intelligent, confident.

Unnoticed, I lift my heavy measuring stick. I hold it upright, positioning it near each unsuspecting woman. I assess all the good I see in her. Taking a mental note of her strengths, I vow to do better. I’ll become a more helpful wife. I’ll engage more with my children. I’ll be that friend everyone needs. I’ll work harder to keep my house clean, my laundry done, and my refrigerator stocked.

I forge ahead; I try so hard. But with each tiny success, all I heed are the areas not yet conquered. Once again, I only see failure.

And Failure – he is so happy to be seen! He stands tall and displays his most mischievous grin. He lays claim to victory. He declares, “The battle is won!” He’s tricked me into comparing the worst of my attributes to the best of others.

This trap is better known as the comparison game: a game none of us ever wins.

It’s a game that makes it easy to see where we don’t measure up. Where our roles as wife, mother, and friend fall short. Where our mistakes are magnified. It is indeed a trap designed to open the doors to  frustration, defeat, and hopelessness, inviting them to make a home in our hearts.

It’s a ruthless tactic. We’ve entertained it far too long and far too well. It’s time to break free.

So, we run to our Father. We humbly set our concerns at His feet. We pour our hearts out to Him. We admit our mess-ups, our feelings of inadequacy, our desire to be like others, our fear of never being enough. We talk it out with Him, sitting quietly in His presence. We exchange our weighted, unreliable measuring sticks for His sweet grace. In doing so, we find His peace.

Peace to release all our aimless efforts. Peace to instead lean on Him. To follow His lead. To become more attentive to His unique plans for us and our families. Peace to shake off our failures. To keep growing closer to God and stronger in faith. Free, at last, to pursue the assignments God has given us.

Free to become the women God called us to be. 

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