I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago called “the ‘er’ complex“. In it I talk about how we often compare ourselves in efforts to “measure up” to some unattainable, irrational standard of perfection. But I’m realizing, we don’t just compare ourselves. We also compare others — quietly wishing that those around us were…different. Better. Easier.
I did it somewhat naïve-like recently. But it deeply affected my son.
After visiting some family, I mentioned in passing how calm and kind (and fairly quiet) the three brothers were with one another. A somewhat benign, yet slightly envious comment. But do you know what my middle son heard? “I like those boys way better than you so one day I’m going to run away to be their mommy.”
He’s been so distressed in his spirit, fearful of my fleeing, that it has affected nearly every situation. For weeks he wouldn’t voice the reasoning behind his fears. But finally, in answer to prayer, he opened up. And it felt like a dagger went through my chest.
Needless to say I’ve been very intentional about making sure he knows that I would never leave him to be another child’s mama. That God put us together and I will always be his — no matter how loud or messy it may get at our dinner table.
Often in the name of “helping” we point out the strengths we see in another in hopes of spurring on some desired behavior in those we love. “Did you know that Jimmy gave his wife flowers for no apparent reason today?” or “Did you see how nicely your friend sat at the dinner table tonight? And that she tried the vegetables without complaining?”
But we’re all just people. All of us. And we’re all on this journey called life. We all come with strengths and weaknesses. We all have good days and bad days. And we’re all in process. We lift others when we focus on and voice their strengths, rather than harp on the things we wish were different about them. (Because a log quite possibly hangs out of our own eye.)
31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. 1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.
God has us in our specific relationships with purpose. We’re moms and daughters and wives and friends to the people He’s placed in our path, on purpose. And often the purpose is our own transformation into holy, love vessels.
Fill me, Lord…
How has the comparison pit affected you?