Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Comparison Trap

I’ll never forget attending my first pastor’s wives retreat.  It was one of the most miserable weekends of my life. I went with our lead pastor’s wife, who was shy in new situations.  As a twenty-something youth pastor’s wife, I couldn’t wait to meet some other ladies and glean from their experiences. 

Sadly, no one talked to us or made any eye contact.  I realized I shouldn’t wait for someone to talk to us.  I needed to start the conversation.  So, at dinner, at breaks, etc., I tried to meet some ladies.  Let me emphasize—tried.  And failed miserably.  I even tried to steer the conversation toward getting us an invite on a group-shopping excursion. No luck. That was the most intimidating and unfriendly group of women I’ve ever come across!

Since then, I’ve gone overboard to try and be friendly.  I can instantly spot a new person and my heart goes out to them—the uncertainty in their body language; the looking around for direction while trying not to attract attention.  I make every attempt to connect with that person. My goal: engage them in conversation, uncover a little of their story, and connect them with someone like them.  Hopefully, they will lose that “awkward” feeling and move toward the “I belong” feeling.  I think I’m a very friendly pastor’s wife. 

But, there are other areas of ministry where I don’t feel so confident.  I can speak to new people, but I’m not that funny.  I know other pastor’s wives who attract people like a magnet because they’re so fun to be around.  I can teach, but I’m not exactly a Bobbie Houston or Kay Warren. I can plan events, but they’re not too impressive.  I know other pastor’s wives whose conferences and events attract thousands of women. I can . . . well, the list could go on and on.  In the end, comparing myself to other pastor’s wives is a dangerous trap and I’ve learned not to go there.

Pastors’ wives can come in all personality types—funny, warm, introverted, analytical, engaging, dramatic, serious, etc.  They can have various talents—singing, playing an instrument, teaching, writing, helping, administrating, serving, speaking, organizing, leading, etc.  We are all ages, all races, all shapes and sizes.  Back in my Dad’s day he wanted to marry a beautiful woman who could play the piano, sing, teach Sunday school, and entertain.  He got ALL that and more in my Mom.  Thankfully, my husband was not looking for all that, or he would NOT have picked me!

God has handpicked you to complement your husband in ministry.  You are a team, and together your gifts go hand-in-hand to accomplish the Kingdom work that God has assigned both of you.  Everything about you is exactly right! That doesn’t mean we don’t seek to improve ourselves to become more like Christ.  It means we will learn to appreciate the way God intentionally designed us for the life He’s called us to live. 

I love how The Message puts it:

“Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.” (Galatians 5:25-26)

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