Sometimes it is beneficial to see what someone else is doing. It can give you a new outlook or a fresh perspective on a different way and maybe even a better or more efficient way of going about doing something. It can allow you to try something you never would have. Push you past your comfort zone.
But, I find that often what starts off as a positive experience quickly descends into me beating myself up for not doing something the way someone else does it. I see my "failings" and "shortcomings" and quickly begin berating myself.
This can happen from wandering out and about in the real world... in a store or mall or hanging out at a party. But this danger also is even more potent in the world of "unreality"... the world online. Whether it be facebook posts or blogs or tweets or pinterest the temptation to compare yourself to someone else is very likely.
Twice recentlyI have caught myself comparing myself to my friends.
While enjoying the innocent company of a friend fixing food I walked down that slippery path.
This looks really good.
I like what she's doing here.....
Oh, she's so much healthier than I am.
I need to start cooking like she does and preparing food that way.
Why don't I do stuff like that?
Why don't I fix my kids that kind of meal/snack/etc.
What starts off as my appreciating something someone else's way of doing things quickly escalated into a 10 minute beratement rant of my lacking skill, gifting, insight, ability.
Online I was checking out a friend's blog. I was enjoying the humor and insight into mothering she has. But before I knew it I was getting envious over her photography and her ability to capture poetically and whimsically the ideas and stories she had. I began to become envious and desire to emulate her talent.
Now before you go off assuming I'm naturally jealous in nature let me inform you that I'm not. That's what baffled me.
But I think if we're not careful it's a natural desire to start wanting what we see others having or want to appear the way they do. We want to express ourselves like somebody else. We want to cook healthier like someone we know. We want to save money like our Frugalista friend. We want to be thin like her. We want our kids to behave like our fabulous Mary-Poppins friend does. We want a bigger bust or smaller bust or straighter hair or more curly hair or cuter clothes or better accessories or a nicer car or a bigger home or a more organized home or a more clean home.... like that person over there.
I want to rejoice when a friend has it "more together" than me. I want to maybe take down a few notes that could possibly help me or make my home run more smoothly... but I want to be wary that I'm trying to be someone else.
For reasons beyond my knowing God gave me this body, these kids, this home, this vehicle, these giftings. I want to thank Him and praise Him for what He's given me and be a good steward of my self, my time, energy, giftings, and provision. I want to challenge myself to grow and I want to encourage my friends in areas that I see them doing well in. But I don't want to harbor envy and jealousy and bitterness and lust after what is not mine.
Lord help me to the best me I can be. Not somebody else. I am not a mistake. You don't wish I was more like my friends or strangers that are more fabulous than I. You want me to become more transformed into the image of Christ. Made more into His likeness. And when I become more like you I am becoming a better me than ever. Help me to put off ungratefulness and carry on my lips praise for the good you have done and are continuing to do. Help me to fix my gaze not to the left or the right but upward into your face. Thank you that you love me as I am. Help me to grow in my love and knowledge of You. Help me to love and care for others better. Help me to be as Paul and LEARN the contentment.
Philippians 4:11-13~ "...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
I want that heart... that is content whether with much or little. That is grateful for what you have in that moment.
Do you struggle with this at all?