Rifling through the mail, I saw the square envelope, our address written in a steady script on the front. I opened it and began to read through the sweet note by this fourth grade friend who was thanking us for the birthday present.
The note was nice but it wasn’t her words of thanks that impressed me. It was the even lines of her handwriting. In cursive. And everything had been spelled correctly. Ugh. My own fourth grader’s cursive wasn’t nearly as legible and we were still struggling through inventive spelling. We clearly had some work to do.
Then, there was this – we were way behind on our own thank you notes. ::sigh:: Her mom is so organized, I thought. So on top of everything.
And just like that, in the simple act of looking through the afternoon mail, a door of discontent had opened. Within seconds, without intention, comparison had done its work.
I didn’t even realize the nagging criticism that had taken root until it surfaced a day later as impatience with my own child as I helped with school work. As soon as I snapped out my impatience, I knew it was a pressure to measure up.
Comparison has been an uninvited whisper far more often that I wish. I wasn’t far into parenting when I noticed an almost imperceptible voice that was parenting along with me.
Her kids don’t talk back like this.
She probably never raises her voice.
Look at those pictures. She’s so intentional with her time and activities.
How does she always look so effortlessly together?
But comparison doesn’t confine itself to just my parenting. It’s a nosy thing, always looking over my shoulder at my house, my figure, my finances, my conversations, my work.
It stacks me up against my very own mom friends for crying out loud and makes me the target of my own judgment. I catch myself not living up to their decorating, their organization, their talents, their wonderful children, their holiness. Everything is susceptible to being measured and weighed as comparison pits my life back to back with theirs.
Maybe like me, you’ve seen these two things about comparison: it hijacks way too much of my thought life and it makes me my own worst enemy.
“Her name is Standard, and I’ve known her most of my life….does she sound familiar to you? I thought you might recognize her. Standard is not real, not in the physical sense anyway. She is an image we’ve created – a culmination of every pin, post, and picture we let saturate our minds. They blend together in perfect fashion and the end result? An ideal we place ourselves next to so we can observe our obvious flaws. This standard may be different for each of us, but she’s destructive in every way.” Kristine Brown, Over It.
Comparison is so destructive. At minimum, it leaves us feeling less-than, guilty and discontent with where God has us and how He’s made us. And when we pan out to the body of Christ, it keeps us from authentically rooting each other on.
That’s why I was excited to review Kristine Brown’s new release, Over It. I love how Kristine walked through the stories of several familiar women in the Bible like Hagar, Leah and Hannah to find key principles for tackling the pesky comparison voice. Kristine does a great job of going deep into the relationships and emotions of these women and pulling out where they let comparison get their best.
Kristine honestly admits this isn’t a one and done issue. Our flesh will always battle comparison but we can learn to recognize when it’s rearing up and replace it with truth from scripture.
~Kristine is a friend who I’ve watched walk out the message of Over It as she’s cheered on others in the body of Christ. She’s a writer, dramatist, teacher and helps women and teen girls navigate the ups and downs of real-life. Kristine started the non-profit ministry, More Than Yourself, Inc. You can read more from her at www.morethanyourself.com. I was given a copy of Kristine’s book to review and I’m delighted to be highlighting the message here today.
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