“Comparison is so destructive. It erodes our love for other people and causes us to shun the gifts that God has given us. Like Peter, it keeps asking, “Well, what about him? What about her?” It keeps our eyes darting around the room, sizing people up, and holding up placards with numbers on them. It robs us of our own stories and gifts from God, all because we like someone else’s better. Comparison becomes a faulty scale on which we place ourselves, waiting to see how we balance out with the people on the other side. Comparison leaves us jealous and critical and insecure. It can propel us into unhealthy competition or relentless people-pleasing. God wants us to be free of that. Part of what it means to be created in the image of God is that each person has his or her own story, giftedness, and calling. I cannot find mine by looking at yours. Your story may inspire me or warn me, but I should never use it to determine my own. The gospel frees us from comparison, making it possible to admire other people’s gifts and be grateful for their contributions to the Kingdom.” ~Nancy Ortberg, “Looking for God”
After reading this passage I was incredibly inspired to write about it. I know this is a great struggle at times for both men and women, but I truly feel that it affects women to our core. It seems that I sometimes forget that I am living my own individual calling…building that very specific blueprint that God laid out especially for me. Instead, I look over to my right or left and ask God, “But why can’t I do that? Why can’t I be like that? Why can’t I have that gift?” God is saying to us, “What’s it to you? You are called to follow me.” And Nancy Ortberg puts it so well when she says, “I cannot find mine by looking at yours. Your story my inspire me or warn me, but I should never use it to determine my own.” My story is my story.
It is so true that when we compare ourselves to other people, it “erodes our love for other people”. Because instead of celebrating the fact that someone is so gifted, so popular, so compassionate, so giving, so good at what they do, that we end up robbing God of the praise that He deserves for creating such an amazing human being. We stop appreciating that person for who they are and what they are contributing to bringing glory to God’s name and we begin secretly tearing them down in our heads and letting the ugly face of jealousy start to appear.
If I get gut wrenchingly honest, I will admit that I once struggled with this heavily. The constant to comparison to what I didn’t have overtook me and I would be completely oblivious to what I did have. I was blinded to what God was trying to show me by staring at other people’s callings and longing for their gifts. I had a hard time “rejoicing when others rejoiced” because I was too busy trying to figure out what they had that I was missing. I am so thankful that God has since released me from that, but every once in awhile I feel the temptation to slide back in.
Before I even came across the passage above, I had made a goal of telling other women when I am inspired by something they have done that’s great, or if they look beautiful. I feel like it’s almost becoming a lost art for women to truly see the great in each other and drop our pride to let one another know that. And thanks to Nancy Ortberg, I feel even more impassioned “admire others gifts.” God is a great and mighty God and I am really beginning to believe that He knew exactly how He wanted me to be and that I should trust that I possess the gifts he wanted me to possess…they are my contribution to the body of Christ. And I should be thankful that other people have different gifts and that they are contributing as well. Today I praise Him for his artwork of the individual. He made us in His image…I’m a piece of Him. A Chip off the ol’ block. And that’s good enough for me.