Friday, August 13, 2010

The Poison of Comparison

I just had a conversation with an old friend (as in we've been friends a long time, not that she's old--Hi Tracy!)  Her kids are just a bit younger than mine, her oldest being nearly five.  She shared that she was feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of homeschooling her kids, but isn't really seeing an alternative.

I asked her what was making her feel overwhelmed and she immediately gave the "the other moms I see doing it have it all together and are so organized" answer, and my immediate reply was, "It's a facade--we all struggle with keeping things together and being organized" and if you think there is a mom out there who disagrees, or claims to be truly organized and have it together, then I will tell you that you are deceived.  You may be the perfect homeschooler, but if you are, then some other area of your life is a wreck.  Let me see your bedroom closets, or your tool shed, or your pantry--I truly believe that it simply can't all be done.  For myself, I am moderately organized in many areas (moderately means there's a large margin for error at any given point in time in any area).

I have been writing recently about our journey of homeschooling, (here and here) and in each post there has been a resounding theme of how important it has become for me to pull back and not compare myself to other people.  A picture began to form in my mind of a large number of women in a large room, each one looking to some other woman that they admired and following her around, comparing herself.  Meanwhile that woman is looking at another woman and following her around, comparing herself.  The whole room became a swirling mass of women chasing each other around, feeling badly about themselves and accomplishing nothing.

Comparison of one's self to another is a poison that quickly erodes progress.  My example is to be the Lord Jesus Christ, who, "Although he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men...humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:5-8 NAS)."  Humility and obedience are the keys, and I can only be obedient to what God is calling me to do, not what I see other women doing in their homes and with their children who are nothing like mine.

When I think about the Godly women who have impacted me the most, there are some common threads that I can identify.  First, these women are not like me.  They are people to whom it would be very difficult to compare myself, because they have more children, they are opposite personality types, or are in a completely different season of child-rearing.  Second, these women are humble.  They have already mastered the skill of keeping their eyes on what God has called them to do and are not comparing themselves to other homeschoolers, or anyone, for that matter.  Finally, these women are bold in what they believe.  They stand for the Truth.  They are not turned to the right or the left by shades of doctrine or others' influence.  They live their lives free from guilt and people-pleasing, but rather, live to please God.

So let me revisit that concept of the "facade." If there is a mom who has it all together out there, it's because she has stopped comparing herself to others and has decided that the Lord is her model--there is no facade.  She'll be the first person to tell you that it hasn't come easily, that she's a work in progress, and that it's the Lord's work in her life, not her own.  That is the woman from whom we should learn, and stop poisoning ourselves with comparison.


  1. Thank you. This is just what I needed to read today, in 2013. :)

    1. I'm glad you were encouraged, Shannon. :)


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