I think the one of the curses of the fatherless child is to always compare oneself against someone else. For me, I was always searching for a reason why I wasn’t wanted and I was convinced that it had to be all about me —- it couldn’t have been about my mom or my biological father’s own shortcomings, selfishness, or lack of responsibility.

So I began comparing myself with girls who had their very own fathers. They were smarter, sillier, and sweeter than I must of been because their daddies didn’t abandon them. So I’d try to act like them so that I could have my very own daddy one day. And when that didn’t work, I became more and more introverted so that I didn’t have to see what they had that I so desperately needed. it wasn’t until I was about 13 years old that I began to compare my body to others.  I can remember it clearly. My mom was managing some apartments in Stone Mountain and, after chores, we were allowed to hang out at the pool until she got off of work. There was a girl my age  who wore one of those crocheted bikinis and she overflowed out of the top. (If I would have worn one of those tops at the time it would have looked just like it does in the picture – flat!) Not only did she fill out the bikini she was the first girl my age who seemed to flaunt her sexuality.

And I knew then that I didn’t and wouldn’t ever measure up.

I wish I could say that I outgrew that feeling or that I stopped comparing myself to others only to come up lacking almost every time. Truth be told, it became a habit that usually left me feeling quite horrible about myself. A habit that caused me to withdraw from others because I knew that I didn’t measure up to them.

I became so petty in my comparisons that I’d notice much more than their figures – I’d see their matching finger and toe nails and decide that they wouldn’t like me because I was more of an all natural girl. Or, I’d look at their clothes only to decide that we had nothing in common so they wouldn’t like me.

Those surface judgments stole possible friendships.

I’m telling you this because God brought it to my memory during my prayer time the other day. He asked me to look back at that moment in time and see things as they really were. She was simply a little older than me and way ahead of me in her development. I eventually caught up and  could fill out that bikini top. But it took years for me to catch up to feeling as comfortable in my own skin as she did prancing around the pool that summer.

God then lead me through praying for forgiveness….. Forgiving myself for those horrible comparisons that I made and forgiving him for always being so critical of his creation.  He reminded me that the Word tells me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made  and that I am created in his image, according to his likeness.

If, like me, you often compare yourself to others then maybe it’s time for you to ask God to show you the root of where those comparisons began so that you can dig up that nasty vine and plant seeds of forgiveness and acceptance.  And, together,  we will break this horrible habit that leaves us feeling so insecure that we allow surface judgments to steal possible friendships.

As usual Paul hits us hard in this area when he writes,  “In themselves against each other and comparing themselves with each other, they are simply stupid.” 2 Corinthians 10:12b

Scripture References: Psalm 139:14, Genesis 1:26

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wall-sit-with-breakAs I was walking towards my spinning class I noticed a lady doing a wall sit and, of course, I had to say hello to her. Here is a brief synopsis of our conversation:

Me: It’s amazing how such a simple move can seem so difficult, isn’t it?

Ms. Linda: This is my modification during the strength training class. Due to past injuries, I’ve found that doing squats hurts but doing a wall sit doesn’t. I’ve been here almost 2 minutes.

Me: I think you’re wise in that you’ve learned how to modify your workouts to prevent future injuries.

6151434579_c491e9b6bd_zMs. Linda: At my age, I’ve had to modify quite a bit. I’ve always been active but there are things that I can’t do at 74 that  I could do in my youth.

Ms. Linda went on to tell me that she participates in the strength classes, the Tabata classes, the RAW classes, and sometimes even goes to Boot Camp! She also told me that she teaches water aerobics two or three times a week.

And then, together, we walked to our spinning class.

I’m sharing this conversation with you because she’s learned the secret to continued fitness and that is modification! So many people say that they can’t go to a class, do a certain workout, or even go on a bike ride because they can’t keep up. Ms. Linda would tell you that is ridiculous and that you should stop comparing yourself to other people and get out and do what you can to the best of your ability.

Like Ms. Linda or myself, you may not be able to do everything your instructor can do. You may not be able to run as fast or as long as the person on the next treadmill. And you may not be able to shake your booty like the Zumba instructor. But please don’t let what you can’t do stop you from doing what you can do!

Now, go out there and find something that you can do!

We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. 2 Corinthians 2:12 

Please be sure to let me know if this post encourages you…….

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We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. 2 Corinthians 10:12

Comparisons are never, ever wise. If I go to the gym and compare myself to some of the ladies there I will definitely leave  depressed and feeling as if I’ve just wasted an hour of my life. And if I compare myself to some of the bodies that I see laying on the beach I’ll end up feeling much better about myself than I should.

Both comparisons are extremes. And that’s how we measure ourselves. We go to the extreme, don’t we? We either end up feeling good or horrible about ourselves.

These comparisons are not limited to body image….

We compare

  • spouses
  • children
  • houses
  • finances
  • spirituality
  • churches
  • careers

The results are much worse than how we end up feeling. These comparisons can destroy a relationship or stop a new friendship from ever developing. We can get so caught up in the comparison that we fail to see the person that we are comparing ourselves to.

It’s possible that they we really need each other but can’t move past our feelings of insecurity to get to know them.

(Just so you know, when you compare yourself with someone and come up ahead of them that’s also insecurity!)

Rather than doing all this unwise comparing, let’s just simply choose to be wise,  be our best self, and do the best we can with where we are and what we have, and accept that the other person as she is.