The temptation to compare is strong within me.
It beckons like a forceful wind, gusts that bend trees and bang branches against windows. "Look over there. Look."
And so I look to the left and the right, seeing just how well someone else is doing, or just how beautiful and embodied that woman is, or just how effortless that person's journey appears. Their faith is so strong, I think. I hold mine in my hands like the mustard seed that it is.
But comparison, I've learned, completely warps your perception of reality. It creates a dark dimension where your internal narratives of shame, self-deprecation and insecurity have the writer's pen, making it so that everything you see is in confirmation of the fears you already have. In short, comparison lies to you.
I'm reminded by a quotation from the story The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis.
'Child,' said the Lion, 'I am telling you your story, not hers. No one is told any story but their own.'
So, what is the cure for comparison?
I imagine it is... presence. We find Jesus reminding us gently, "Abide in me, as I also abide in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me."* Or, in other words... stay close. You will be most abundant connected to my presence. Alone, you will struggle and suffocate your own purpose.
We are made to produce. To create life. To nurture life. We all have different ways of doing so, I think; different ways of expressing life and love. Some of us are mothers and fathers, or doctors, or artists, or marriage therapists, but is so much more than that. You are inherently valuable and full of beauty - not in comparison to someone else, but simply because you were created as such.
So why do we wander away from our flowing source of cool water - and walk towards a tree that we see, tall and beautiful, to envy, "why am I not equally tall and beautiful?"
You are being distracted and lured, friend. I am being distracted and lured away.
If you struggle with comparison and self-defeat, try instead planting yourself by your Source. Abide. And you will be "like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season. Your leaves will not wither. Whatever you do will prosper."**
I patiently sit and wait with you as your story unfolds. Record it somewhere special, so that you can look back and see the miracles that you otherwise would have missed or forgotten about.
**Psalm 1:3, Jeremiah 17:8
Welcome in! I'm Sadé!
I am a licensed marriage and family therapist and a dating coach for singles impacted by Purity Culture.
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