Thursday, July 18, 2013

I Am Woman: I Need Not Compare

By Jill Daniels
As women, we compare ourselves to each other. 
Seems like a simple statement, right?

We tend to respond to comparison thinking, “I can’t help it, all women do it, it’s how we are wired.” It may be true that it’s hard for us women in this culture to not compare ourselves with the unattainable bodies of the scandalous models on the billboards, or with the “Wonder Women” who seem to be able to do everything from cleaning the house to heading up a corporate meeting.

But let me challenge you--Christian woman--to not fall to the temptation of thinking that this is how you are wired, to compare yourself with other women. God has something endlessly more satisfying than the constant reminder that you do not measure up to the worldly standard in our society today.

If it’s not comforting enough to know that God knit you together in your mother’s womb, that you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14 & 15), or that God knew you and the plans he had for your life even before you were in your mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5), take heart. God is there each and every step along the way to let you know that you are an outstanding woman, doing exactly what he planned for you to do in this life. 

Have you ever looked jealousy at another woman’s life? Thinking that it looked like God was being brought so much more glory in her life than in yours? I know that’s something I fall prey to constantly. It is especially challenging when I see someone else who is gifted in the same areas as I am, seemingly doing a better job of using her gifts.

Beth Moore speaks right into this topic: “We can do our level best not to compare ourselves with those of similar gifting or calling, and others will leap forward to do it for us. Stand back and watch how many observers will try to nudge you into a competition with someone who fills a similar spot. The idea is that anything comparable is automatically competitive.”

But whom are we working for? Are we working to be accepted by our peers and fellow church members? Or are we working to bring God glory?

Galatians 1:10 says, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

This is absolutely true in my life. I know my passions are writing, evangelism and women. When I see peers who are more gifted at any of these three things, it makes me want to take a step back in those areas since there is someone already excelling in that work. I think that I could not possibly add anything to what they are doing. But is that what God intended? 

1 Corinthians 12:18-20 says, “God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.”

God made us all gifted in something so that we can live out that part of the body. He wants us to fulfill the calling we have as a certain part of the body, so that the body as a whole might function. God doesn’t want us to sit back just because there is one other person in this world that has a similar gift than us. Next time you are tempted to fall into this thinking remember Romans 12:2: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Instead of comparing people with similar giftings or making certain gifts seem higher or holier, let’s focus our eyes on what God really wants us to do with our lives.

When God was rocking my heart with this message he put an overwhelming sense of freedom in my heart regarding my path in life, and what he is calling me to do, right here and now.

Philippians 2:13 was a big part of that. It says, “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

God works in me! It’s not me that is doing the work! I don’t need to be restricted to looking at other women’s paths and seeing how they seem to be bringing God so much more glory. Why? Because following what God has planned for me and what he is doing in me is what my life is all about.

God is going to bring himself the exact amount of glory through me that he wants to. I cannot judge how much glory He is given through me versus someone else because He is the one doing the work and choosing how much glory He is given! Ah! Freedom!

Some of you may be thinking that this sounds like an unattainable place to get to because of ways that you feel you have failed to live up to who God has called you to be. I have felt that in the past and want you to hear this verse:

“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand” (Psalm 37:23-24).

God was there through the whole thing. You can never fall too far for God to catch you. When I look back on those times in my life where I fell away from God or even chose to walk away, I see now how God has worked that out for his ultimate glory. The biggest falls I have taken in life have made me into the person I am today. I wouldn’t cling to God as tightly if I hadn’t fallen. God has a perfect plan for everything.

Instead of comparing our bodies, our jobs, or our journeys with other women this week, let’s feel the freedom God has given us in his will. He is doing the work and He will bring himself the amount of glory He wants to bring, through you. So let’s “fan into flame the gift of God, which is in [us]” (2 Timothy 1:6)!

God, I thank you so much for the message you have given us in your Word and the promises you follow through on daily. Help us to not compare our lives and our journeys with other women but to see the wonderfully beautiful journey you are walking with us on. Show us that not everything has to be a competition and that you need each one of us to do what you have called us to do for a reason. God you are so good and I thank you for your Word today. It has refreshed my heart. 

Amen.

Do you ever compare yourself to other women? What truth do you call to mind when that happens?

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