This week I was challenged with a question that arose during my study of the book of James in the Bible. Our church’s women’s ministry just began the new Beth Moore series on this book and she asked something that really made me stop and think.
As I explored the relationship between James and his half-brother, Jesus, as well as the interactions John had with the apostles Paul and Peter, Beth asked us to consider how we might be tempted to compare ourselves to other people and be ensnared by this. I took the time to really meditate afresh on this issue personally. What I discovered was revealing and helpful to me. It also caused me to wonder how other women would answer this question. So, I asked some! I appreciate their willingness to tell me their stories and insights with such honesty and transparency. With their permission, and respecting their anonymity, I will share some of their wisdom with you over the coming weeks.
|Point Pleasant Park, Halifax, Nova Scotia|
Through my conversations and emails with women, there is a common thread that seems to weave its way through our varied circumstances and life issues, especially when it concerns the tendency to compare ourselves with someone or something else. One woman shared how she often has to pray and study extra hard to grasp a passage of scripture and at times she feels unprepared when it appears that other leaders have it all together. Another feels uncomfortable with the exuberant and enthusiastic responses of some women who are so hyped up about what they are doing – it causes her to wonder if her own steadfast and quieter way of expressing her faith is as significant. One lady finds she is always comparing herself physically to others because she has been overweight for many years. A young woman shared that other people’s expectations of her are a constant struggle and that as a young teen she felt a need to keep up with the status quo. One more told how she used to compare herself to other women either because they weren’t as busy as she was or she felt the need to keep up with other ones. Personally, I often desire I could be like the person who always seems to know the right words to say at just the right time. Why do I usually need time for reflection before I chide myself with, “That’s what I should have said! Why didn’t I think of it then?”
The common thread expressed by each of these women was insecurity. References were made to their feelings of unworthiness, lack of self-confidence, doubts, and inadequacies and most used the word “insecurity”.
Another insight that these women shared, and others with whom I have interacted in the past, is the need for us to see ourselves as God views us. Here are a few of their comments:
|Handprints in the snow|
“I focus on what I know in my heart – that each one of us has been blessed with special and unique gifts and skills.”
“God showed me that I should only be doing what He was asking me to do and what He had specifically designed me to do. Everything else was a distraction and an idol, getting in the way of my worship through service.”
“I started really seeking God and I think the major thing he taught me at that age was to be uniquely me and to celebrate it. It is me, and I hope God uses every part of me as I offer myself to Him every day.”
“I know in Whom I have put my trust.”
For some time now, I’ve wanted to peer into the lives of several women in the Bible, not for the sake of comparing myself with them, but to learn from them and see how their experiences can enrich my own. So, for the next few weeks this is what God has laid on my heart. I hope you will feel free to pass along your insights as well so we can encourage one another. I value your input!
|Point Pleasant Park, Halifax|
Isaiah 12 :2 says, “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.”
Until next Sunday,