Thursday, May 30, 2013

Comparisons Stink

Two posts in one day?  I know!

Can I tell you a secret?  I haven't been feeling very happy lately.  I've been struggling with our adoption in general, especially the wait.  I hate to admit it but I've found myself thinking that we've been dealt an unfair hand in many things.  It's not that I don't realize that Nate and I have SO much to be thankful for and that we've been blessed in other ways, but I've been having a tough time focusing on the good things.  Thoughts of our 'someday' family have consumed my mind.  I'm not feeling balanced at all.

I just found this post by Proverbs 31 Ministries, and gave me the message I needed to hear.  Today has been a better day and I wanted to share...

Do you ever struggle with comparison? In adoption, comparison is a challenge to faith in waiting and confidence in making positive choices. Adoptive parents might suffer jealousy or doubt when comparing their story to other families'. Birth mothers might fear rejection after comparing their circumstances to prospective adoptive parents'. YOUR story is precious and unique...it can't be like someone else' story. Take encouragement from today's post 

"If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load." Galatians 6:3-5 (NIV)

Comparisons stink. They do.

Just when I think I've gotten to a good place in some area of my life, along comes someone or something that seems better in comparison. And my confidence shrinks back, takes the hand of doubt, and starts ransacking the peace right out of my heart and mind.

I know deep down that God can and will use everything for good in my life, even my areas of vulnerability. But honest to goodness, it's hard on a girl's heart.

Not too long ago, I was in a situation where something I'm very self-conscious about was magnified when compared to others' near-perfection. I was at the beach with several friends who have dancer's legs. And by dancer, I mean like twenty-year-old, ballerina-perfection legs.

I guess you could say I have dancer legs too if you are referring to the dancing hippo from Madagascar. Apparently, long, lean legs just aren't in my genetic makeup, even though I can eat healthy and exercise every bit as much as my ballerina-like friends.

So there I was on the beach. Comparing my vulnerable place to their perceived strength.

And in the private space of my most inner thoughts, I cried. I found myself feeling defeated and convinced that this area will always be a struggle for me.

Oh, I can make progress, for sure. Heaven knows, I do work on it. And most days, I see how God is using this all for good. But when comparison sneaks in, it can be hard. Worse than hard. It can just quite simply make me forget all the strengths I do have.

And when I forget, my heart shifts. I stop being thankful and instead become consumed by that thing I don't have.

Satan will always try to point out what's "wrong" to block out all that is right. And his whispers sound pretty convincing sometimes.

But that's a dangerous place to park your mind.

It's moments like these I find myself needing to soak in the truths of our key verses, Galatians 6:3-5, "If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load."

As I thought more about that day on the beach, I realized I wasn't prayed up. Knowing I might have some comparison issues, I should have asked God to help keep my focus on Him. Instead, I just found myself wallowing—and wallowing isn't of the Lord. Amen? Amen!

I share this because you need to know that we all struggle. I'm on a journey of learning. Just like you.

And I desperately need God's truth to bump into my weaknesses every single day. Only then can I get out of the shadow of doubt and into the life-giving reality of who God has made me to be. And see it as good. Not perfect. Not even close. But good. And good is good.

Dear Lord, forgive me for all of the times I've compared myself to others. I know that You have hand-picked all of my qualities. Help me to see these things as beautiful reminders of Your great love in creating me as Your daughter. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

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