Comparison is a Thief
"Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.." Romans 12:6a
This past week, our woven small group decided to get together for a chance to hang out and let loose. I love the time we spend together each week in our homes and digging into God's word together. I love hearing how God speaks to the heart of each woman and what He is sharing with her specifically. Each one of us has our own "stuff" that is going on and seeking His wisdom and growing in the process.
But we can have a little fun, too! So our co-leader put together a fun night for us at the Purple Easel in Ontario, California. If you have never been to something like this (which was totally new to me!) it is a place where you get to bring in friends, food and drinks and you have a teacher instruct you how to paint a particular piece selected for that class. I invited my sister, Sheena, to join me since I had an extra ticket and she was so excited. She is the artist in our family. I love words. She loves paint. She was ready for this.
I have to tell you that I was actually very anxious about attending something like this. Art is not my strong suit. Believe it or not, I actually attempted to be a scrapbook-er way back when my daughter was a toddler. You don't want to see my past work. Not pretty. I don't know what I was thinking, believing that I was going to be any good at scrapbook art, when I could barely conjure up stick figures. It was a mess.
So needless to say, I was actually really nervous and unsure if I would have a great time at this class because of my lack of skill in the craft department.
However, I am so glad I went because I was so wrong and it was so much fun. The instructor really made it as easy and relaxed as he could as he walked us through the process of creating our piece, and encouraged us to decorate however we felt led. I found myself actually enjoying the process of just creating and painting. I wasn't anxious (at least until they required us to draw circles for the bike! What?!) Overall, I really enjoyed myself and enjoyed the time spent laughing, engaging and doing something out of my comfort zone.
I admired my work at the end, and I was so proud of myself. Remember, not an artist. I couldn't believe that my hands actually created this thing! It was when I started to look around at what everyone else created that I could feel my spirit deflate.
I compared my artwork to that of someone else's. To many others. There was even a guy who didn't even follow the instructor and painted his own thing! Like, it even had a waterfall! It was truly amazing. I wish I would have taken a picture because you could tell that he had painted many times before.
Suddenly, my artwork didn't seem that impressive. Suddenly, I wasn't as proud of my attempts as I had been literally 5 minutes earlier. Suddenly, I was looking around and seeing how gifted everyone else was in their artwork, and I felt like I didn't put in as much effort and I wasn't as gifted.
The thing is, I already knew art was not my strength. But that didn't stop me from suddenly wishing that it was. You feel me?
Sister, you know what your own strengths, gifts and talents are. You probably joke, like I do, about the things we are just no good and recognize that it is okay that we aren't good at everything, and to hone in on what we are good at and use those to the best of our abilities. But that little sneaky snake named Comparison loves to come in and make us take a second look at other people's gifts and abilities, as if the ones we have are not enough.
That God clearly made a mistake because he gave her something you don't have.
You have heard it said over and over and over again on social media that comparison is the thief of joy. That night, when I started to compare my artwork to that of everyone else's, I allowed it to momentarily rob me of the joy I felt earlier by just creating and having fun and doing something different. You and I know deep down what our calling and our purposes are. Our gifts and abilities simply will not look the same as your sister friends. It will be unique to you and really, it will be used for His glory and honor. Our gifts aren't about how awesome we are, but about how magnificent He is!
If you find yourself currently browsing through social media, distracted by what everyone else is doing because you feel your abilities are not enough, and what they have or can do is better for the Kingdom. I want you to STOP. You don't get to decide that. God gave her what He gave her, and He gave you what He gave you. Do not allow the comparison snake to rob you of the joy of being able to serve others and be a part of Kingdom impact.
Because that is really what comparison does. It robs you. It robs you of moments. It robs you of confidence. It robs you of joy. All because you are distracted by what you do not have or you believe that God is holding out on you. He isn't and he would never.
He may not have given you her gifts or talents, but He gave you some of your own, and I bet there is another girl out there who is scrolling through your feed and comparing herself to you.
It is an ugly cycle, and we must cut off the head of the comparison snake before it bites again and poisons and robs us of life, joy and hope.
I am going to encourage you today to take your eyes off of what you wish you could have or could be, and choose today to look at who God made you and what He has already bestowed to you, and run with it. Shout it out. Be bold and let them know.