I fondly recall that as a young girl I would sometimes walk along barefoot through my back yard...
I would squish my little wee toes in the soft muddy earth...and oh, how fresh it felt!
One day I remember vividly: I began to dig up little holes all over our property searching for my 'friends', and then I promptly placed them inside my plastic container filled up with dirt. A little hotel for them.
Subsequently, our yard ended up covered with potholes. Well, if you went walking around without paying any mind, there was a huge risk that you might trip over one of them unexpectedly!
It was a risk my parents were not willing to allow...so I spent the rest of the afternoon filling them all back up :)
As a newbie homeschooler, and seasoned mom to four, I have found that I can sometimes dig a few of my own potholes that pose similar risks... Let's see if any of these thoughts resonate you:
"Wow, she is such a patient mom with her kids. I wish I could talk that sweet with my little ones."
"Hmmm...look over at so & so's marriage. They always look happy together. I sure do wish my hubby would look at me that attentively."
"Look at that family. They sure do get along well together. I bet their kids never fight. I only wish mine would act that way...especially in public."
"How does she do it? Homeschool all those children and keep a clean home! I can barely just keep up with what I have, and still I feel like I'm drowning..."
"My meals aren't as tasty..."
"Sure wish I could look as slim as she does...I'm still wearing some of my pregnancy clothes."
You get the drift.
Now what I'm NOT saying is that by observing the people in our lives that we cannot be: inspired, encouraged, educated and pushed to move forward in our own journeys.
That is not what I am saying at all.
My emphasis is entirely on the discontent that can brood in us: as women, as wives, as parents, as friends, when we allow the comparison trap to have rule in our minds. I am guilty of this on many occasions...
However, I am learning to give this old habit up. I cannot compare myself to another because:
a) I don't know the FULL story of that person's life (strengths, weaknesses and all)
b) I am not called to be discontent
c) It is a serious waste of time, as you and I will NEVER be that 'other person' that we are so desperately feeling inadequate next to
Instead I can choose to fill the 'potholes' I have dug up, with any unwise comparisons I've made.
Instead I can choose to grow in contentment, accepting who God has uniquely formed me to be.
~Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.~ (2 Corinthians 10:12)
***Interesting footnote on this verse-->
"Because the requirements of God, and the character of the Redeemer, were the proper standard of conduct. Nothing is a more certain indication of folly than for a man to make himself the standard of excellence. Such an individual must be blind to his own real character; and the only thing certain about his attainments is, that he is inflated with pride. And yet how common!"