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Run away from the comparison trap

It's easy for me to fall into the comparison trap. Even my testimony sometimes causes me to look at others and compare my hardship vs. their ease. But like all sources of sin, God is in the business of rooting it out. I was struck by Revelation 12:11, "And they have defeated him by the blood of the lamb AND their testimony."

Talk about revelation :)

Only MY testimony can fight for a specific portion of God's kingdom. Same with yours. I'm still processing that, but what a lightbulb moment!

Run Away from the Comparison Trap

(Originally published for my column in the Hillsboro Free Press, April 15, 2015)

With track season in full swing once again, my kids have spent time with babysitters, grandparents and daddy, but they’ve also been able to come with me to practice on occasion.

As long as it isn’t a bitterly cold and windy day, I never mind having my kids down at the field with me. Sometimes they run and play on their own accord, and sometimes they try to emulate the middle and high schoolers on the Hillsboro track teams.

I enjoy being able to share this part of my life with my family, and it excites me that my kids enjoy the track and field atmosphere.

Last week, my daughters started running a lap with the high school team. The high school kids and my kids all seem to mutually enjoy each other, so I didn’t think much about it, and went about gathering equipment for the jumping workouts I had planned.

A little later, one of my sweet high school girls came up to me apologizing profusely for running over my middle child. I smiled at her and told her it was OK. And it was. My girl wasn’t hurt, and it was an accident. No harm, no foul.

But as I was brainstorming for this column, I realized this incident allowed me a unique perspective into the comparison trap.

I’ve been thinking about that trap for awhile now. Ever since I read an article about parental holiday overkill a friend linked to on Facebook, I’ve been trying to develop my own solid viewpoint on the matter. Not on holiday overkill, but comparison.

Social media is no longer a stage for unique thought, but instead a platform for sharing the giant voices of bloggers and other internet sensations.

I was reading a chapter from Francis Chan’s book “Crazy Love” the other day, and these words made me stop in my tracks: “We are a culture that relies on technology over community, a society in which spoken and written words are cheap, easy to come by, and excessive...We are slow to listen, quick to speak, and quick to become angry.”

Sounds exactly like Facebook right?

And these easy-to-come-by voices run right over their smaller counterparts.

Another article I’ve read recently--also linked and shared on Facebook multiple times-- implied that it was undesirable to be “that” parent. You know, the one who makes handmade Valentines or likes heading up class parties.

I’m one of those undesirable parents. But I don’t make crafty things to make others feel bad. I make them because I really enjoy doing it. Our family spent one evening around the table stamping Valentines and taping candy. We crafted and enjoyed each other at the same time.

I spent time planning and preparing for a class party because I love creating those kinds of events.

My daughter and I recently made her birthday invitations together, and it was a great way for us to reconnect after she had been away all day at school.

Maybe doing those things would make you crazy. It’s OK. Really, it is.

Just because I enjoy doing those things doesn’t mean I’m the end all, be all mom. But it also doesn’t make me “that” mom either.

There are lots of things I struggle with. Take scheduling for example. I tend to bounce around from one thing to the next. I get sidetracked a lot. I don’t always finish things I start.

And I have some mom friends who are amazing at scheduling and finishing tasks in a timely manner.

Talents are like that. We aren’t all the same.

Those run-you-over voices are good at talking up their viewpoint, but at the expense of those on the other side. Whatever “side” we’re on, we can find giants to back us up and run others down.

Or, we could try a new way.

Instead of seeing other talents through a lens of comparison, maybe we could try celebration.

Celebrating the success of others rather than focusing on our own failure is definitely an about-face in perspective. But I say that’s a good thing.

Sometimes a change in direction is important. Just make sure to always watch where you’re running.


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