Take 5 with Kathy – "Comparisons…"

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,

Kathy

January 15, 2012 - 1:59 pm

Tanya@takesix - Kathy, I am so excited to read this series you are doing. The insecure woman inside of me thanks you!!

January 15, 2012 - 2:01 pm

Angie - Hi Kathy,
The topic of insecurity has been a heavy one on my heart lately, so your post was very timely. I do believe Satan would love to see us so focused on comparing ourselves & our lives to others that we aren’t grateful for what God has done for us and given us and it keeps us from feeling truly happy for others in their successes.

My prayer this year is that God will help me have a true spirit of thankfulness in the joys and successes of other people – whether I enjoy the same joy or success or not.

Blessings to you & thanks for sharing,
Angie @ Knick of Time

January 15, 2012 - 2:27 pm

Ms. Redo - This is an area in which I struggle constantly, sometimes to the point of near emotional paralysis. Your post is so encouraging to me, and Angie’s comment above also reveals who the true enemy is. I’m going to start praying about this, now that I’m wiser about it. Thanks so much for posting this. Hugs ~ Mary

January 16, 2012 - 1:18 am

Pamela Gordon - Interesting post. Our church is doing an evening Bible study on the book of James and the study group I attend through the week is planning on doing this Beth Moore one later this year. I guess I’m going to know all about James when the year is out. Have a blessed week!

January 16, 2012 - 2:02 pm

cathy@my1929charmer - Insecurity is something I have always struggled with. It creeps up slowly capturing me before I even know it’s back again. I also find it paralyzing in ways, emotionally, leaving me not wanting to do things because doubt creeps in. I succumb to break free. Now I will pray for instead of strength to fight it, but freedom from it’s grip. Thanks for sharing your inspiration at Sunday’s Best!

January 20, 2012 - 5:42 pm

kathy@takesix - Thanks, Tanya. I really wrestled over this one but was convinced it was from the heart of God – I always ask for His wisdom and guidance about what to write. The responses I’ve had have confirmed that choice. I appreciate your prayers as I continue this series.

January 20, 2012 - 5:45 pm

kathy@takesix - Hi Angie,

I really appreciate your transparency and willingness to share. I agree with all you said and can identify with your experience. Thanks!

January 20, 2012 - 5:49 pm

kathy@takesix - Thanks for sharing – I too find my thoughts about this issue can become paralyzing and hinder me from being the “me” God created me to be. I look forward to hearing more as we continue with this series. Hugs back – Kathy

January 20, 2012 - 5:53 pm

kathy@takesix - Hi Pamela,

I have been really appreciating your comments on my articles. Thanks for sharing! You are going to love this Beth Moore study – God gives her insights that are really stimulating and helpful to me – I won’t give away any secrets and spoil it for you :) Have a great weekend!

January 20, 2012 - 5:56 pm

kathy@takesix - Hi Cathy,
Thanks for honestly sharing from your heart. I’m discovering just how widespread this issue of insecurity is for women (men too, but we do feel it on a different scale). I hope you’ll stay tuned for my upcoming articles and keep sharing your insights with me. We all need to encourage each other! – Kathy

January 22, 2012 - 1:09 pm

Debbie - It’s amazing the women you know that you think they have it all together then as you get to know them better, they begin to share with you that they have insecurities too.

January 22, 2012 - 3:55 pm

Charlotte - Thank you for sharing this insight both from you and others you quoted. It is so “human” to compare ourselves to others but we need to resist the temptation. It does get easier with age. At least a little bit.
Blessings,
Charlotte

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