Got to see an old friend today. She gave me a ride in her “middle life crisis” convertible, it was fabulous! Wind whipping down the highway we caught up a little and it was just nice to be together. She listened as I described my recent pit experience, which I entered in June of 2016 and emerged sometime in February 2017. It was nice to share it with someone who “gets” it, as she is in her own pit wrestling with the transitions and issues of life. One of the questions that surfaced was:
“Why do we compare ourselves, our work to others?”
Yes, why do we??!!
So frustrating but we all do it! We have been molded by our families, our churches, our peer groups to be, on some level, like everyone else and follow protocol so we can be called “acceptable” and just fit in. And in this molding we oftentimes lose ourselves – our uniqueness, our individual fingerprint, our “what only we can bring to this world.”
We get blinded by the “er” of life. “ER” is the comparative suffix in English grammar – pretti”er”, smart”er”, thinn”er”, strong”er”, bett”er”! It’s used at the end of adjectives to compare one thing to another and in that space we rarely come out a winner.
When we compare ourselves to someone we feel we are superior to we become
prideful and self-righteous.
When we compare ourselves to someone we feel inferior to we become
insecure and ineffective.
When we compare ourselves to someone we feel equal to, we become
competitive and striving.
We never win!
I have been blessed in our community to be welcomed into the circles of “counselor” minded friends – most of them work in the field of counseling/spiritual direction and it has been such a gift to me because we are similar in many ways and we really “get” one another. We talk and like and question and grapple with some of the same things because of the ways we are wired! Such a gift and also, some days, it feels like a curse because I compare myself to them! I compare myself and my work to theirs. I wrestle if I am doing it “right” because it looks different from another. I wonder if what I do and how I do it is good enough. I question whether I need another certification, another class, another course to do that new latest and greatest technique like so and so.
It is maddening really! And so unnecessary!
When I entered the pit I felt this stong sense that on the other side I would be different. It was such a breaking experience…a shedding really, like losing an old skin for a new one. Stripping off, peeling back, it was excruciating while in process, new things usually are, but once the ripping was done, the new skin is so soft and radiant and fresh!
I feel different…I am different in so many ways but this is the one I want to tell you about today –
I don’t question myself like I used to. I am not lacking.
I don’t feel myself so comparative with regards to the work God has given me to do.
I am not a “counselor” at least not on a licensed, school based level. I do counsel and God has blessed me with His wisdom and the desire to help others, He has hardwired my heart for the work I do. I have trained and taken courses and He has used these things to equip me for the work He has for me, and that’s just it — He Has Equipped Me For The Work He Has For ME!!! Not for her or her or her…for me!
I have spent so much time feeling unqualified, not educated enough, lacking because I have kept my focus on the work of others – the work God has prepared THEM for, not me.
So the beautiful, broken women God brings across my path have bigger problems than I know what to do with most days and I can spin in inadequacy or I can choose to relax into His embrace, reminded that nothing is bigger than Him and He has brought her to me. All He requires of me is to bring myself. The way I do the thing I do is exactly how He needs me to do it! That is one of my new “aha’s” and this “aha” allows me to live differently. comfortable in my own skin, staying in my own lane.
All He asks me to bring is myself – my beautiful, unique, designed for this moment self!
Stop comparing what you do to anyone esle’s do – be simply you. God has equipped you for those He sends across your path and all He needs you to bring is you and do what you do in your own beautiful, unique, designed for that moment way! Whether a hairdresser, a teacher, a nurse, a housekeeper, a stay at home mom, a physical therapist, a business owner, a police officer, a counselor, a whatever you are –
simply bring you!
That’s the best thing you can offer anyone on any given day!
And when given the chance, take a ride in your friend’s top-down convertible…the fresh air will do you good!
(Thanks for the ride and perspective friend, I loved being with you today!)