Friday, July 13, 2012

Lets Not Compare

The mall might be the place ladies love to shop, but it can also be the place where we take a beating. Have you ever been walking along with your bags in hand and pass a window that catches your reflection? You look in horror at what you see. Did I really leave the house like this? Wait, I didn't look like this when I walked out the door.

We can see beauty in others, but it's hard for us to see beauty in ourselves. We can walk the mall floors and gander at the women before us and ponder the questions that live deep in the crevices of our brain.

We do this physically, emotionally and spiritually.

I am not imagining men having this trouble when they get together. But get a group of ladies together and before the night is over and we are tucked in bed, we are going to be thinking about what Kathy wore to the party and how in the world Susan keeps her house in order with four children and we can't even do that with one.

Lets be honest. We struggle, don't we? We compare ourselves from the color of our hair to the color of polish covering our toes in our flip flopped feet. We visit a friend only to walk out of her house realizing we need to do a bit more cleaning. Especially before anyone pops in out of the blue. We hear a neighbor speak about all the things going on in her life and we are left wondering why we never have time to leave the house. Walmart is our excitement for the week, not a Hawaiian vacation.

Shared photos of grand children, graduation announcements, wedding invites, summer outings. The list is endless. From our car in the garage to the dog in the yard. If we wanted to we could compare all day long. It would never end. So the question is, why do we waste our time? Does it really accomplish anything? It does for Satan. Ladies, most of the time, the only person who places us in that pit is ourselves. We beat ourselves senseless with doubt.

We can walk in church and see a family sitting all together and we are wondering why our children are no longer in church. We see Sally enter and there she is in an elegant dress with not a hair out of place. Here I am looking like I just walked out of a episode from, Say No To The Dress.

It's not Hollywood we have a problem with. We know that's not real. It's those we see daily. It's those very people we have in our lives. We see their smiling faces as they walk out of church and here we are arguing with our husband before we are pulling out of the parking lot.

As mothers we compare ourselves and in today's world we compare just how quickly we lose that baby weight.

We can completely torture ourselves into the pity party of the century.

We see other women as a threat. Ouch! Spiritually we see others right where they need to be with their relationship with Christ. We see women in ministry, reaching out and we compare our walk with Christ to their walk with Him. We must realize we are all in different journeys of life. I see women going through what I went through ten years ago. If we weren't so busy comparing ourselves to one another, we could simply enjoy being women and laugh at those things that drive us crazy.

Aging is a given. We are all going to do it. Those young women in their twenties need examples. They need strong women willing to be honest in their struggles. They need encouragement for that cellulite that will hit their legs when they turn thirty. For those days when the kids are driving you batty. You know, those times when our castle seems more like a tree house. As women we are constantly changing. Why not embrace who we are and realize those wrinkles that come with age show something far greater. They show courage and strength. They give a beauty of a life that holds a story in each one. That is something to be proud of.

How does Marsha have it all together? I mean, her home is so clean it glimmers. It's like you pull in the drive way and you hear the theme of Star Wars playing. She has dinner ready at four and your still in your pj's. Her kids have their rooms perfectly clean and you can't even get the dog out in time before an accident appears beneath your foot.

I think things are going pretty good until I look over and see Nancy enter and then I realize just what a mess my life is. Really? Is that all it takes?

Instead of comparing ourselves to other women. Women we admire. Why not encourage each other?

You know what? It's okay to have your pj's on when your husband comes home. That's right. Love goes beyond the little black dress. It's okay if dinner is an hour late because you were trapped in the laundry room.

What can we do as women? We can stop being so hard on ourselves. We can see the beauty in the mirror. When it comes down to it we are insecure. It seems we live from emotion to emotion. Our feelings stand in the way of whether we are smiling or ready to burst with tears.

We can find security in Christ Jesus. It is Jesus who completes us. It is finding ourselves so close to Him that our heart is content. It is through Him that we find the security we are longing for. I am finding the more and more I surrender to Him the more secure I am in my daily life. That doesn't mean I don't struggle. I do. But when I see myself as a work in progress, it brings a new hope. A steady stream of opportunity to be the woman God created me to be. I gotta tell you, it use to bother me. You know, that getting older thing. But now at forty-five I am content. I love where I am and I am excited to see what the Lord has for me next.

I am not a work of Hollywood. You won't find an airbrush in my make up bag. No needles poking in the skin between my eyes or filling my lips. I want to know what my face is doing. I love being forty-five. I am enjoying what I learn daily. My biggest lessons have come from my mistakes. So, that means they are no longer mistakes, but stepping stones in my journey of life lessons.

I don't want to leave behind a trail of pity. I want to leave behind road well traveled. The more time we spend comparing ourselves to others, the more time we lose in seeing the beauty God has placed before us. Comparing is really complaining. It's seeing what another has and wanting it.

What we need to remember is the fact that no one has it all together. Where one  excels  another struggles. So instead of us putting on an act of perfection, lets join together and share what we have learned. Lets support each other. Lets compliment that lovely woman who walks in church in that gorgeous pink dress instead of boil because she looks pretty.

When we see that woman in Walmart with five children and the huge list she has pulled out of her purse filled with trash why not give her a hand? Ask her if you could grab a few items for her. Sure, you might feel uncomfortable, but she might think your a gift from heaven. I was once that mom walking through the store with five children. Most people would just stand back and gawk like I had a disease that was catching.

Just as we can compare ourselves physically, spiritually and emotionally, we too can support each other in these areas. Just think of the revival that would break out among women if we stopped comparing and began praying. That woman who you think has it all together, just might be falling apart when no one is looking. Lets be real as women and stop pretending we have it all together. The more we share the truth of our lives, the good, the bad and the ugly, the more women will come to realize, "Hey, I'm not the only one. I'm really not crazy". The more honest we are the more we will make others feel comfortable around us and in their own skin.

It's not okay to make another woman feel inferior. We do it all the time when are are constantly trying to portray that we have the  perfect Christian life. Who needs a mall filled with women to make you feel less of a woman when you can do it in your own church.

Ladies, lets begin by not measuring ourselves to others as who we should be, but by measuring ourselves to the Word of God. Only through Jesus Christ can we be complete. In recognizing we struggle, we can acknowledge the areas in life we can begin work on. The Lord has a way of bringing out the best in us when we give our best to Him.

May we leave behind a legacy for our children and grandchilden that speak about beauty that begins in the heart. A beauty that flows from our lips and our hands. Ladies, before we can truly love another, we must learn to love ourselves.

"The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."
1 Samuel 16:7

"We are all different. Some are tall, and some are short. Some are round, and some are thin. And almost everyone at some time or other wants to be something they are not! But as one adviser to teenage girls said: 'You can't live your life worrying that the world is staring at you. When you let people's opinions make you self-conscious you give away your power. ... The key to feeling [confident] is to always listen to your inner self-[the real you]'"
Jeffrey R. Holland

“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”
1 Peter 3:3-4




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