I'm always looking for the next thing.
Back when I was a single gal, I compared myself to the women in relationships. How come she found someone, and I didn't, yet? What was so wrong with me? My dress size, my nose, my personality?
(Of course, that led to a host of problems, including trying to be someone I'm not.)
A little further down the road, I was dating a guy. A great guy. And I had a healthy, good relationship- just as I always wanted. But instead of being filled with joy, instead of being content, I looked at the engaged couples. Tried to measure up to the girl who had that fabulous title- "fiancee"- and that sparkly ring.
When I was engaged? I compared myself to the married women. And now that I'm married? I'm fighting the battle against comparison to those who are blessed to be moms.
Where I am is never enough.
Comparison stretches over so much of our lives- from hair to houses, from jobs to jam-making... there's always someone who is doing something, being something, living something that makes you a little jealous.
We point to things that rob us of joy- the mom who threw the elaborate party for her five-year-old, the couple with the impeccably perfect wedding pictures, Pinterest- and we blame them for the discontent in our lives.
"I should stop looking at Facebook," we say. "If it weren't for Pinterest..."
If it weren't for Pinterest, then what?
We'd still find ways to measure ourselves against the people around us.
It's what we do.
And that comparison... it can drive us to believe that if we just did more, if we gave more, cared more, worked out more, if we had more, we'd be better.
Of course, just like so many conflicts, the trouble with comparison is that it lies in our own hearts. It won't go away when we've done all those things, lost all that weight, volunteered all those hours.
Comparison is about our hearts, not our behavior.
A healthy dose of comparison can be a good thing- it helps drive us forward, helps us keep moving, improving. Progressing.
It's when we start to rely too much on our views of the lives of other people that we have issues. Comparison can make us feel as though our lives aren't enough just the way they are.
As Ann Voskamp points out in her book:
"Life change comes when we receive life with thanks, and ask for nothing to change."
That means that instead of looking forward three years, instead of looking to that time when we'll finally be married, finally be a mom, finally lose the weight, finally get the promotion... instead of looking always ever forward, we focus on this moment. On the joys now. The blessings now.
It doesn't do us any good to compare ourselves with other people. They're not living our lives. And most of the time, we only see the highlight reel, anyways.
When we're focused on the blessings in our own lives, when we respond to life with an attitude of thanksgiving, we find joy in where we are. Right now. In the life we're living now. In who we are now.
I went to a women's retreat a while back, and Jennifer Dukes Lee was the speaker. One thing she said really stuck out to me- "
God is saying to you, 'I didn't ask you to be her. I asked you to be you.'"
I think I need to remind myself of that continually.
Because sometimes, I look at myself and think, "But.... are you sure, God? You really want me to be me?"
And more so, I need to remind myself that this is true about my relationships, too-
God says, "I didn't ask you to have a life like hers. Your path is different, and that's okay."
God's plan is the right plan, and He knows what He's doing. It's not my job to figure out exactly how my future is supposed to go (although that's hard for me to step away from!).
I am to trust, to find contentment and joy, and to believe that God's plan is best for me. Even if it looks different from her plan.