Life-long contact wearers make putting them in look so easy, don’t they? Boop! and it’s in.
My first week of wearing contacts, however, was less ‘boop’ and more UGH. I wasn’t patient or gentle with myself at all. I was flustered and frustrated and honestly? A little embarrassed that contacts were bringing out a “shame monger” in me. Dramatic as it might sound, for a split second I actually felt like a failure of a person for not being able to easily put in contacts.
Similarly, comparison has a way of obscuring our vision.
The second I begin to notice I’m comparing myself to the proverbial they, I know my vision is clouded. For me lately, that’s been comparing myself to other pregnant mamas. How they looked. What they did to prepare. How they felt throughout pregnancy.
But to say something is one way for ALL pregnant women and then hold myself to that standard never seems to end well. Of course, I’m going to feel discouraged, frustrated, and disappointed! I’m chasing an illusion. Pregnancy in particular is so unique for every woman.
Have you been there–comparing yourself to “them”? Are you there now?
Forgetting Some Core Truths
The truth is when we get caught up measuring ourselves to one another on social media, in our church families, at the grocery store – you name it – we’re forgetting some core truths. Every person we’re comparing ourselves to is uniquely made in the Image of God (Genesis 1:27). So, whether we’re coveting what our sister in Christ has or wishing we looked more like her or were more spiritual – whatever it is – we’re forgetting our unique inherent dignity as an image-bearer of God. We are made just as fearlessly and wonderfully as her (Psalm 139).
Here’s the good news: we’ve been crucified with Christ.
It is no longer us who live, but Christ who lives in us. And the life we now live in the flesh we live by faith in the Son of God, who loved us and gave himself for us.Gal. 2:20
See, when we truly believe in the Son of God, who loved us and gave himself for us, we are freed up to love, honor, and see ALL our neighbors more clearly.
This is what true freedom is all about in this new Kingdom of God. It might seem counterintuitive, but giving of ourselves to serve one another – systemically as the Church and individually – is freedom.
The biblical meaning of freedom is so far the American meaning of freedom. American freedom centers on getting to do whatever we want when we want. If you really think about it, this sort of “freedom” is nothing more than a means to self-gain, comfort, and pleasure. It has an inherently inwards focus.
Biblical freedom, on the other hand, is about self-denial, self-sacrifice, and being radically others-centered. It is upwards (first receiving freedom from God) and outwards (then using that same freedom to serve others).
Interestingly, Scripture tells us that one of the best things we can do when we’re struggling with comparison is to use our freedom in Christ to serve one another.
Serving One Another
Start seriously fighting comparison in this way and in my experience, it’s about as clumsy as when you first start wearing contacts. But over time, by the grace of God’s good design, I can bear witness: there will be victory.
If the most impossible comparison between our sin and God’s perfect righteousness has been overcome in Jesus’ sacrifice, surely the Spirit can resurrect freedom in us to serve one another.