We live and breathe in one of the most amazing times to be a woman. Historically, we didn’t have value. We didn’t have a voice, and our jobs were in support of men’s dreams and aspirations. Culturally, it was jacked up, and in many countries, even our own, it’s still jacked up. But, If we look throughout Scripture, women weren’t just important, they played major roles in the salvation of the world! Women were valuable and had a voice. So, here we are now, in a culture that now celebrates women (FINALLY)! We celebrate moms, women in leadership, mom’s who also want to work outside the home, and moms who are CEO’s of the home. We celebrate our individuality and our unique attributes. We celebrate our dreams and help one another accomplish those dreams. But, even in this amazing time in culture, we still struggle with one major setback: comparison.
My pastor, Joby Martin, said once, “Stop comparing what you know about yourself to someone else’s highlight reel.” We often compare what we KNOW about ourselves (with all of our flaws, weaknesses, failures and inadequacies) with what we don’t know about other people. Ugh. at 36 years old, I still get caught up in the comparison trap.
Social Media makes this worse. We want a husband, so we only see all of the obnoxious, “I said YES!” ring pics. We want a baby, so all we see are the “This November, we are welcoming one more to our family of three!” (while their dog holds a Big Brother pic). We want to lose weight, so all we see are the friends who are posting bathing suit pics of six-pack abs. Why is it that we compare ourselves, with the flaws we are so aware of, to someone else’s highlight reel? Not only does this comparison send us spiraling into a striving mentality to be like someone else, it also can cause us to either feel high and mighty or less than, neither of which are good or God-intended.
Comparing yourself to others causes judgment, insecurity and division. If we could just see into someone’s life, we would see that everyone has struggles, failures or insecurities. What happens when we begin to compare ourselves to other people is that we automatically have a judgmental perspective – we either immediately determine that we’re better than that person or phew, at least we don’t do that! Or, on the other hand, we end up feeling defeated because we just can’t live up to their perfection. This happens a lot, even for us Christian women, as we can’t seem to see that just because she doesn’t struggle with the same thing I do, we both struggle. We both need each other and we both need grace. If we could be more real about those things, or real about ANYTHING, then we could stop comparing ourself to a standard that doesn’t exist, allowing us to love one another more, and celebrate one another more too.
Leave your judgment at the door. I can tell you one thing the world definitely doesn’t need: your judgment. One of my favorite quotes is, “You cannot simultaneously look down your nose at someone else and look up at the cross.” (Another Joby Martin quote.) The fact that women are judging one another left and right is a huge reason we have so much division, so many eating disorders, so much guilt that turns into striving and self-absorption. We think if people don’t do things the way we do, then they’re wrong. It’s easy to see someone’s bad moment and think more highly of yourself. Don’t even get me started on mom judgment. I can’t even begin to tell you how many women I’ve wanted to punch from opening their mouths in judgment (don’t worry, I didn’t actually punch anyone.) And listen, I get it, now that I’m a mom there have totally been times I looked at a situation and thought, what in the heck is she doing?! But even in those moments, I have to give myself a good talking to. If we believe the Gospel to be true for our lives, then we live with an attitude of gratitude. We know how much we fall short, but have been given new life that we never deserved. So, if we believe that to be true, then entitlement and judgment have NO place here.
Old wounds can make us stronger or cripple us. I heard once that your deepest point of pain in life, that experience that rocked your world, scarred you in a way that changed you forever. It’s almost a guarantee that you’ll operate from that wound long after. With that in mind, I’ve realized some of my biggest insecurities are from old wounds. I can let those wounds cripple me or I can walk confidently in who God made me to be because of those wounds.
I had a bad experience as a little 5th or 6th grader. Now, at 36, I consider myself to be a tough chick. I’ve always been independent and considered myself confident. BUT, I realize now that there are still things lingering from those few years of torment. Around that time I was sort of “bullied” by my best friends. I didn’t even realize it was bonafide “bullying” until someone said it to me one day. The girls who I was supposed to trust the most made me feel less or inadequate. For a little tiny middle schooler, it was a huge deal in my world. I’ve realized now that it’s lingered in me as an adult. Those feelings of insecurity still exist and I compare myself to other girls. When I see how different I am (whatever that difference may be) I automatically feel less-than. Even qualities I’ve NEVER wanted in others, when I see other girls connect over these qualities, I automatically feel inadequate. Why is that? God made me who I am, and that is BELOVED. The second greatest command in Scripture is to love others as yourself, but the problem with comparing is that we are neither loving ourselves well or loving others well either. I think He wants us to be able to celebrate one another’s successes and strengths, and in the end, He made us all so different so that we would HAVE to work together as a family to accomplish His mission. I won’t let those old wounds drive me to insecurity and comparison anymore. I’m going to use them to fuel a desire to intentionally celebrate other women. Actively calling out those qualities you in admire in someone else can be a huge blessing to that person too.
You were made in His Image. God made YOU exactly how you are. It’s only when we realize who we ARE in Him, that we can also realize what we aren’t, and that’s okay! God gave us all different qualities, weaknesses and strengths, so that we would also need one another. I’m not sure why we just assume that if we don’t have xyz like blah blah blah, that we are less than. It’s insulting to your Creator, so be YOU and be confident in that.
Shine Like Stars, Ladies. Scripture says, “Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.” I used to think that meant do good, be perfect, and obey the rules. But what I’m realizing is that God wants us to be FREE. He wants us to be authentic, real, and speak life into each other as women. It’s pretty hard to love others if we are so self-absorbed in our own short-comings. We all have bumps and bruises. Walk confidently in who God made you to be and shine like freakin’ stars!
You do you, boo. Life has thrown us all a curveball at one time or another. Our scars run deep. We may have so many insecurities we can’t even begin to work through them. But, just know, you’re not alone, and your scars, literal and mental, make you the strong woman you are today. So instead of hiding our flaws, failures and struggles, let’s be authentic and real, allowing others in so that we can celebrate one another and love one another better. That’s true sisterhood, and I need more of that in my life.
SO….You do you, boo. You is smart, you is kind, and you is important. You are beautiful, you have a voice and you are more valuable than you could ever think or imagine.
I’ll leave you with this quote from another blog I recently wrote. It was my biggest prayer for Kennedy when I was pregnant and I still pray this for her, mostly because I want it for myself too!
“My biggest prayer for ALL women is that we would be strong and fierce, that we would lead when others follow, that we would defend the weak and be so rooted in who God made us to be that we spend no time being insecure, judging or comparing.” – click here to read this blog Bold. Fierce. Confident.