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Comparison: Spiritual Cancer

Comparison: Spiritual Cancer

You know the type...you probably have a couple of them in your circle of friends: the quintessential woman!  She is the ultimate "Super Mom:" vivaciously devoted to all twelve of her home-schooled, multilingual, perfectly-mannered children. As embryos, her children were reciting the Bible...in Latin.

They all wear matching sweater vests that she lovingly made with her own two hands...by candlelight.  She encourages, teaches, and is loved and admired...like that "Proverbs 31 woman." Mmm-Hmmm. You have heard of her, too?  Whenever "she" is mentioned, do you secretly twinge while feigning admiration? Do you think to yourself, "I will never me that good! I will never be used by God like that! She obviously isn't real...gotta be a fairy Godmother in this story somewhere..." No one can compare with her, right?  If that is the case, then why do we continue to compare ourselves to her?

I knew the first time I read Proverbs 31 that it was a lost cause:  I am definitely NOT making my own thread, ok?!  Further, I have neither the time nor the interest to tend a vineyard . . . Impossible! Because of decades of living in untruth, unrealistic expectations, naiveté, and an unhealthy dose of unbelief, I had relegated myself to traipsing through life, watching others enjoy their countless blessings and favor from God.  I was convinced that I was unworthy, anyway.  It seemed as though my cries and prayers to God were left on His voicemail.

I have harbored secret jealousies of "Proverb 31" women throughout my life.  For years I held these friends to impossible standards. This was unfair to both myself and my friends. While my exceptional friends were and are examples of wonderful women of God, they had no idea that I was holding the bar, and I made the mistake of comparing myself to them and concluding that I came up short. Comparison is a dangerous road, moncherie! Because we as individuals are "one-of-a7#45;kind", it doesn't make sense to compare ourselves to others.  In a contest between an apple and an orange, who is going to win the coveted title of "Best Orange?"  Probably not "Ms. Apple!"  She might get a car and a year's supply of assorted jellies, but she is definitely NOT going to be sporting the tiara and sash of "Best Orange!" God doesn't do this to us. He treats each of us as individuals.

The truth is that when we compare ourselves with others, we neglect to see the value of our differences. We need other people in our lives so that we can pool our resources and talents and carry one another's burdens.  God ordains our relationships with others to harmonize our lives, to enrich who we are as His children, and to ensure that we live in truth and love. The Enemy of our souls seeks to "divide us," to make us feel alone, and to weaken us through the spiritual cancer of comparison. What better way to smash our potential than to be bombarded with doubt, timidity, and self-pity? Remember, that Satan knows that God's power is exponential. One praying, relatively sane woman of God is powerful, yes. But two together doesn't merely double your strength. It is prayer and strength and love to the "n'th" power. It is infinitely stronger and most assuredly a force to be reckoned with!

"A house divided against itself will fall." (Luke 11:17). After years of complaining to God, "WHY can't I be like her, God!  She's so together!  She's so talented and gifted and blessed . . . and she has a new SUV and cappuccino maker!  After I had complained to the point of exhaustion, God spoke to me: "Well, Jodi, YOU] are not HER . . . and SHE is not YOU!" Dramatic pause. He continued, "Did you catch that?  SHE is not YOU!" This was an "A-HA moment," and it was huge!  I could always believe for the happiness and blessings for other people, but never for myself. I was always the one who was "a mess." I was always the one who was suffering. I had earned my PhD in disappointment-ology! And now, it seemed that God actually had some good things in store for me. That is not from an arrogant or proud heart. I tell you the truth, it is from a heart that is SO humbled, so grateful, so in awe of God. There are moments when I am blown away by WHO He is, that I'm struck dumb, speechless.

I could always recognize the strengths and uniqueness of others, but was blind to the fact that God, in making me unique, had given me strengths as well. I was so busy comparing my weaknesses to the strengths of others that I failed to see the strong points in my own life!

In the moment I could recognize this, God literally pulled me from the wreckage of my life: the unfulfilled dreams, heartaches, tragedies and sorrows, hurts and defeats. He healed my pathetically damaged and hardened heart. He could not pour His Spirit into a cracked vessel, so He lovingly restored me and protected me during that painful process. I sit here at this moment, tears streaming down my face, not even fully understanding why I am even crying. He began rewriting my story, by loving me and laying down a new foundation that simply "will not be moved." I desperately needed God to show me who I was through Him, and TO Him. I can honestly say that I RARELY experience those pangs of jealously and self-loathing.

I realized that I was and am not perfect, but that despite this He has a plan for me.  And it's not on the coattails of people I used to think were His "favorites," because our Heavenly Father does NOT compare, He has no favorites. He and He ALONE can deliver you from the misery of comparison. If I focus on God's love for me and my response to that love, I have neither the time nor inclination to compare myself to others. Avoiding the comparison trap is one of the countless ways we experience true freedom in Christ: He is "the author and finisher of our faith." (Hebrews 12:2) I love that! We have already "been purchased at a great price!" (1 Corinthians 6:20) Let Him rewrite your story, as He did mine!

Copyright © 2008-2015 Jodi Crago

Reader Comments...
2009-01-10 20:12:17
"This article could have been written by me and I am sure so many other women. I am so proud of Jodi and what she has allowed God to do in her life and her willingness to share her hurts and pains with others. That is why we go through so much so that we can give that helping hand to others."
        - Martha

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