Sunday mornings can be a little dramatic at my house. My 9-year-old, Sarah Kate, is a fashionista. She labors over her outfit choices, and then walks into my room wearing her selection as if she is coming down the catwalk. My 11-year-old, on the other hand, couldn’t care less about her outfit. If it is kind of clean and kind of matches, it works.
One Sunday morning, Sarah Kate ran through several options before selecting a shirt and scarf combination that pleased her. She received her “that looks great” from me, and walked away feeling pretty.
In walks her sister, Claire, wearing a new shirt. It has a little lace detail and an asymmetrical hem line. It fit her just right. She looked cute.
I saw the pretty drain right out of Sarah Kate when she saw her sister. She liked her sister’s outfit better than her own. She put herself up against Claire and felt she didn’t measure up. She didn’t say it out loud, but I saw it on her face: “I was pretty until you walked in.”
I am not a 9-year-old wrapped up in scarves and skinny jeans, but I have the same issue with comparison. I am confident when I am in my own little bubble, but once I mix with the general population, I find a lot of ways I fall short. Sometimes it is about what I am wearing, but more often it is about who I am.
I am a good mom until I see someone looking their darling child in the eyes, correcting them with sweet words and the patience of Job.
I am a good wife until I watch a couple walk hand-in-hand into the grocery store and laugh their way through the dairy aisle as if they are walking down the aisle of a wedding chapel.
I am a good writer until I read an incredible blog post. I start to wonder why I even try to write at all.
I am a good friend until I see my friends across the room, talking and laughing without me.
Comparison kills contentment. I am enough until I see how awesome you are. Suddenly my enough is, well, not enough.
I took Sarah Kate aside that morning. I told her she was pretty. Beyond that, she was beautiful on the inside. I asked her to be confident in whom God created her to be. I encouraged her to be content with herself no matter what others are wearing. I assured her there will always be someone who can do our special thing better. If we look around to feel better about ourselves, we will most often be unhappy.
God asks us to look to Him for our worth. He wants to hold us close and whisper, “You are precious and honored in my sight, and . . . I love you” (Isa. 43:4). If I rely on comparison for validation, I will fall short. However, if I look to God for my worth, He tells me I am enough ever time.
Are you feeling “pretty” today? I hope you can hear God whisper, “You are precious and I love you.” Let us work to keep our eyes fixed on Him for our worth instead of comparing ourselves to others.
Kelly Smith is a small town girl who married a small town man 17 years ago. She has three energetic children. Her favorite indulgences are coffee, reading, writing, and running. Kelly believes we are created for community and loves to find ways to connect with other women who are walking in the shadow of the cross. She blogs at mrsdisciple.com.