Annette Wiley
Sharing the message of hope.

The Thief of Joy

I suffer from a familiar ailment, comparing myself to others. We all know people who seem to have so many gifts. Recently, I was thinking about a friend of mine I have known for many years. We were both young military wives and mothers stationed together, away from other family members and support systems. She was smart, articulate, and a fabulous cook. With her creative abilities and thriftiness, she decorated their base housing quarters like something right off an HGTV episode. Everyone loved her. She was an extrovert, for sure, but her Southern
manner was always sweet and kind, immediately putting others at ease. Her ready and beautiful smile, generous heart, and love for The Lord beamed from her countenance. She was a great example of a “perfect” wife, mother, friend, and Christian. If she knew I had put her on this pedestal, it would mortify her. Yes … she is humble to boot! And she made it look so easy. I wanted to be just like her.

Over the years, I have crossed paths with many women I admire, and I’ve worked alongside some of them. Strong women. Generous women. Faithful women. Talented women. I have learned a lot along the way by watching their behaviors and mimicking them. Here’s where the trouble came in. I was so busy trying to be like these other people; I didn’t recognize my talents and giftedness. I became a chameleon, changing to fit in. Don’t get me wrong. I needed examples to help me form good behaviors and attitudes. I didn’t trust that God had given me particular gifts and talents. I doubted I had anything worthwhile to offer the world.

Most of us find it easier to identify the gifts and talents of others. I’m good at this, and I am happy to be their cheerleader. Cheering for myself, not so much. Who knows why I developed such an interior feeling of inadequacy? I’m sure there is a laundry list of reasons. We’ve all endured the criticism of others, some more than the rest of us. Yet, many rise above their past or present circumstances. What made the difference for them?

The difference comes when we ignore the constant bombardment of criticism the world beats us up with. What makes the difference? Believing what God has revealed about us through His Word and through spending time with Him in prayer. Seeing ourselves through the eyes of our Creator. God The Father created you for Himself, on purpose, because He wanted to have a personal relationship with you. Though our talents may differ from one to another, God has a plan to use our particular gifts according to His will. He wants to express Himself to the world through you. It can take some practice to look in the mirror and see ourselves as His Beloved. But that’s what we are. Let’s live like it!

Questions for Reflection:
1. Do you ever compare yourself to others?
2. If so, what do you internally say about yourself?
3. When others compliment you, do you discount their comments?
4. Today, be mindful to reinforce your self-worth, believing God created you for a purpose.

Comparison is the thief of Joy

“You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am wonderfully made…”

Psalm 139: 13-14  NRSV-CE