Friday, June 13, 2014

The Joy Killer

I'm an extrovert. And I'm what people call an "open book." So I have loads of friends. Some are just acquaintances, but most are "hang out" friends.

However, I have a handful of really close friends. Friends who are always there.

Friends who have walked with me through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

Friends I can call in the middle of the night when my baby is sick.

Friends that make me laugh so hard that I can't breathe.

Friends that can tell me flat out when I've done something wrong or when I need to change, and I won't get mad. And I know they know me well enough to speak the truth.

Friends who know all of my inside jokes ... because they were there.

These close friends are amazing people. And, in the spirit of transparency, I envy each of them in some way or another. I compare myself to them.

This one is a wonderful mother.

This one is an amazing decorator.

This one always seems to have "it" together.

One of these friends just pinned this quote:

Comparison is the thief of joy. — Theodore Roosevelt

Honestly, when I read that and saw her name, I was surprised. This is someone who has it ALL together. She is self-assured and confident. She fearlessly follows God's will for her life without hesitation. Her husband loves her and praises her. Her kids are adorable and well-behaved.

She's who I want to be like when I grow up.

And she's talking about how she has a problem comparing herself to others. Hold up ... what now??

She's the one to which others compare THEMSELVES. She's the measuring stick. Who could she possibly be comparing herself to?

Of course, the answer to that question isn't important. (That's her business.) The point is, the person I'm comparing myself to is also comparing herself to others. She's not as "self-assured" as I thought.


And that got me thinking. Why do we, as women, compare ourselves to others? Sometimes it's as innocent as "Oh, look at her cute hairstyle!" (underlying meaning: "I wish my hair was that cute!"). But it can be as vicious as "She is so smart and beautiful! I will never be like her!" (underlying meaning: "I'm worthless.")

Why do we put ourselves down ALL THE TIME, usually in ways we aren't even aware of?

I'm sure there's plenty of theories, but here's one:

Because Satan wants us to kill our joy. 

Joy. That deep down, settled in knowledge that we are God's holy creatures and we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Because, if we really, truly, innately believe that we are exactly what God wants us to be ... in this body, with this hairstyle, with these weirdo tendencies, with this favorite color, with this post-baby belly, with these strengths and weaknesses ... and that we are perfect just as we are ... then we will be forces to be reckoned with. 

Dangerous adversaries to Satan and his cause.

We would be wide open vessels for God's power to careen through, sweeping away the darkness and bringing love and light to everyone and everything with which we come into contact.

THAT is why comparison is so deadly. We allow it to kill our joy and make us forget who we really are.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (I Peter 2:9)

So, I have a challenge for each of us. Remember who you are. Memorize I Peter 2:9 and Psalm 139:14. Remember that God made you EXACTLY like that and he did so with a distinct purpose in mind (and no, it wasn't to ruin your life or give you a bad hair day everyday). It is to bring glory to HIM and point others to HIM.

It's not about you. It's all about Him.

Stop letting Satan kill your joy. Stop the comparing.

You are God's beautiful creation. And you are loved.

Linking up with "Works for Me Wednesday" at the We Are That Family blog.

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