Tuesday, February 12, 2013
It's an easy trap to fall into- the sin of comparison.
"Comparison isn't a sin," you say?
Oh, but I beg to differ.
I have lived most of my life comparing myself to others. As a child, it was comparing myself to the "popular girl". As a teenager, it was comparing myself to actresses and models. As an adult, it became comparing myself to other wives and mothers. (The Pinterest Pedestal, anyone??) It's a terribly discouraging and depressing chore, comparing oneself to others. Especially since we often[always] fall short.
Somehow, through comparison, I developed this idea in my mind of the wife and mother I should be.
Clean house. Delicious dinners every night. Put-together and stylish. Crafty. Calm, cool and collected. Healthy and fit. Super-mom. Doting wife. The girl who does it all.
And the harsh reality?
My house is sometimes clean and always messy. I order pizza for dinner way more often than I'd like to admit. I have no idea what the current fashions are because most of my clothes come off the Target clearance rack. My oldest child's scrapbook only goes to her 4th month (she's 6). My other two children don't even have one. I'm usually frazzled, forgetful and impatient. I never exercise and sometimes I go without eating one fruit or vegetable all day. I am FAR from super-mom. My husband usually comes home to a tired, stressed wife who can barely keep her eyes open long enough to give him a kiss goodnight.
"Well, you need to get your act together like the rest of us." That's what Satan whispers in my ear. He tells me that I've fallen so very short of where everyone else is. I live too many days in guilt and frustration because I choose to compare myself with the "idea" of who I should be.
And I am convinced that that mentality keeps us from living the "abundant life" that Jesus came to give.
But it's not always the falling short that causes the sin. Often, it is the rising above. We think:
"At least I'm a better mother than she is."
"I don't use crude language like her."
"I give more to missions than they do."
"I have a better marriage."
"I do more volunteer work than her."
"I would never act like that."
"I'm at church way more than they are."
*GASP* "You mean, you've thought those things?"
Oh yes, yes I have. And as much as it hurts to admit, I bet you have too. We are flawed human beings. We don't like admitting our flaws. So any time we have the opportunity to feel better about our flaws, we usually jump at it.
I have fallen victim to the sin of comparison in my own life more times than I can count. I don't consider myself to be a boastful person. I don't go around parading my successes in front of others. But the sin of comparison isn't loud and proud. Typically, it is quiet and unassuming. And as we let it take shape in the secret places of our mind and heart, it steals away conviction.
For years, I justified what I did for the Lord as "being enough" because it was more than so-and-so. I prayed more. Gave more. Volunteered more. Taught more. Sacrificed more. I lived under the false impression that as long as it was "more", it was enough.
Oh, how wrong I was.
Our "more-than" will always fall short of total surrender.
When we allow our convictions to be molded and shaped by comparison to others, it is easy to fall into complacency and apathy. We stop listening to the voice of the Spirit and allowing Him to direct our path. Instead, as long as we are "as good as" or "better" than the rest, we're okay with that. We sit back, arms folded in satisfaction, unwilling to truly lay our lives on the altar of complete and total surrender to Christ.
Several years ago I realized that my Christian life had become a byproduct of the sin of comparison. I no longer felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit, calling me to a life of greater sacrifice and deeper relationship. I looked around, compared myself to other believers, and was convinced I had done enough. I had become satisfied. Satisfied, yet empty.
This mentality, too, robbed me of the "abundant life" that Jesus talked about.
Dear friends, there is a beautiful balance that the Spirit gently draws us to. It is far from the place of less-than and more-than. It cannot be reached by comparison. It is only found when we humbly submit ourselves- completely surrendered- to our gracious Heavenly Father and allow Him to take us to the place of "enough".
The place where we are enough because He is enough.
This place of "enough" is not based on what we do. We could never do enough. It is not based on who we are. We could never be enough. It is based on the redemption, grace, mercy and love of Jesus Christ who will always and forever be more than enough.
So today, if you're living in the place of "less-than", stop the compari[sin] and live in the freedom of being a daughter of the one who is enough. If you're living in the place of "more-than", step bravely onto the altar of complete surrender before Christ where our righteousness becomes filthy rags and our total obedience to Him is all that will ever be enough.
He is calling you to the place of "enough". Will you come?
"My heart has heard you say, "Come and talk with me." And my heart responds, "Lord, I am coming." -Psalms 27:8