The other day my boys (6, 4, & 2) and I were at Costco, probably for the fourth time that week for milk and fruit. I was having a morning of pure craziness and by the time we walked into Costco I realized it was lunch time. I asked the boys if they wanted a “lunch date” with mom, and the two oldest basically yelled, “YES!” Of course I decided on the most nutritious meal I could find. Costco’s Pizza and Hotdogs. Since it was lunch time the place was busy, people everywhere. I went and ordered our meals, got our ever-so healthy sierra mist and sat down with the boys. Then the real “chaos” started … within 30 seconds… all at the same time. My littlest didn’t want his piece. He wanted mine (and decided to let all of Costco know it)… my middle one didn’t like the crust… my oldest thought the pizza needed to be cut in half. It really wasn’t that bad, but I probably looked like a frazzled crazy mom. By the time the “crazy” was over, I looked around at the gentlemen basically sharing our table, the mom two tables down with older kids quietly eating, and the other mom who was enjoying her lunch with her kids. They probably even had fruit, not just pizza and a slice of hot dog. Suddenly my moment turned into a massive “comparing” competition. I felt… like I didn’t have it together and all the other moms did. I thought that everyone was probably judging me because my kids all needed something at once and were eating hot dogs and pizza for lunch. No veggies. No fruit. I was totally frazzled. Totally inadequate to… feed my kids at Costco. Ridiculous, right? Comparing myself to others who probably didn’t even care or notice and may have been feeding their one year old hot dogs for lunch too.
I was feeling all this comparison of my kids vs. their kids when my middle childs’ voice finally rang in my ears, “Mommy thank you for this lunch date, the crust isn’t so bad, and I LOVE when I can get sierra mist. This is special, huh?” I suddenly came back to my actual “present” moment and realized that I had little ones who were totally enjoying themselves and there I was comparing myself and kids to people I don’t even know. People whose kids were 10 years older than mine. People who probably didn’t think a thing about my 30 seconds of “chaos”. Comparing and feeling inadequate when I could be experiencing joy instead.
Isn’t it funny how often we decide to compare ourselves? You don’t have to be a mom to feel inadequate due to comparison.
I can remember times in my teens that I would compare my grades to another’s… if they got one more point on a test than I did, that made my grade a sudden failure.
If someone else was recognized on a project (that we worked on together) and I wasn’t… I compared myself to them and suddenly felt like I didn’t do good enough.
If I didn’t get asked to sing in the “special” group, suddenly that meant I couldn’t sing well.
If I didn’t have the latest and greatest thing to wear I felt like my clothing was inadequate.
Comparison. Sometimes we can only find our identity when we compare ourselves to others, instead of doing our best and realizing we were created individually for a purpose. We are, like Psalms says, “Fearfully and Wonderfully made”. What would happen if we would all grasp hold of:
Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…”
I always thought that I would know who I was when I “grew up” and wouldn’t feel like I needed to compare myself to others to find my identity. Funny thing is, it never really goes away. You grow up and compare your success to another person’s success. Your job to another person’s job. Your home to another person’s home. Your kids to another’s. Dare I say, your calling from God to another person’s calling.
The more I grow in the Lord, the more I realize that He has made us all different for amazing purposes. He has plans JUST FOR ME and JUST FOR YOU. Sometimes I wonder if we can’t see what our purpose is because we are too busy comparing ourselves to someone else. If I spend all my time comparing myself with other’s I am going to miss the “moments” God has for me to make a difference; Just like I almost missed the real “moment” that mattered with my kids… all from comparing my silly experience to another person’s at Costco. God has special moments, joy, and experiences for us that we may miss all because we may be too busy feeling inadequate. God even has a PLAN for you. Just you. No one else. He knew what that plan was before you were born.
I challenge you to realize you were created in an amazing fashion, by the Maker of the Universe. You are a beautiful creation. Fearfully and wonderfully made. You are enough. You may see imperfections that make you compare yourself. God sees a masterpiece that he is continually adding to… making and creating. Let’s not miss the God moments because we are worrying about how we compare to others around us. Let’s learn to be content with who God is creating us to be, and compare ourselves to HIM and HIS purpose. Let’s find the JOY in contentment and not comparison.
MNYD Youth Secretary’s Wife