Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Comparison Game

I read a lot of amazing blogs.

My family, the body of Christ, is made up of some of the most beautiful women (and men!) on the earth. I am glad to be counted among them. And I love, love, love reading their blogs, hearing about what is going on in their lives, what they are learning....

But, hmmm. How can I say this? I often don't feel I really *fit in*.

See, a lot of these blogs are organized, inspiring, deeply spiritual. They can discuss a lot of serious things. They are beautifully written, almost like poetry.

It's like this in church sometimes too. Especially in ladies Bible studies. You sit in a group and realize that they women around you are amazing. They are sweet, kind, gentle... All the things you want to be.

And I AM changing. God is teaching me to be more patient and gentle. But I am beginning to see that having the attribute of gentleness doesn't necessarily change your personality.

I'm not a super serious person. I'm quirky. I like to laugh. A lot. Incidentally, it is one of my favorite things about my husband. The man makes me laugh every. single. day. That scores major points in my book.

I'll be honest. I do the comparison game a lot. And the thing about the comparison game is that, no matter how well you are doing, you always, always lose. There are no winners in the comparison game.

Having a blog has shown me some pretty ugly things in myself. I have read other blogs and seen that these other writers have a bazillion followers. And I start watching my numbers. I try to think of ways to attract more readers. I check back on my blog a gazillion times a day to see if anyone else has subscribed.

Then I sit back and realize this is insane. This is why I went follower-free on my blog. Because I recognize that I can get caught up in stupid pursuits. In my heart, I realize I need to be writing for an audience of One.

Or I will read some of the super-spiritual blogs. I love these girls. They poetically write how God spoke to them in a falling leaf, the way the light fell across their dining room table, or how they just *knew* which scripture to read that afternoon because it was spelled out in their alphabet soup. I read this and think, wow! That's amazing! And then I think about how I need to plant more trees in my yard and stock up on Campbell's soup.

Or I read about how this particular mama organizes her household chores, her homeschool schedule and her finances. She has software for this and a spread sheet for that. She always has a ready inventory of what is in her pantry and refrigerator. She has menu plans until 2050. She has color coded charts and has laminated those bad boys and wow are they shiny and pretty. I get schedule envy.

Some of them even promise if you will just do this particular method or organization you will have less discipline problems with your kids, you will have less stress in your home, and your husband will love you better because your home will be a well-oiled machine.

Except, well, that is not the way I roll. Sure, I can learn a thing or two. We can always learn from one another. But if it isn't customized to my home and my family, what good is that?

I hear all these awesome stories about how God speaks to people and I want God to speak to me too. I want to go to far away countries. I want to feed hungry children. I want to do all kinds of things. Except God doesn't usually speak to me like that.

God usually speaks to me through every day things.

And it is rarely poetic.

God teaches me about His unconditional love as I change diapers. I profoundly realize that if it were not for the great love I have for that particular child, I would surely exchange this child for a substantially less stinky one. Don't judge me. You don't understand. My kids can put out some rancid diapers.

God teaches me that His mercies are new every morning because no matter how mad I was at my kid the day before, I want us all to start over the next day. And I instinctively know it is never good to go to bed mad.

God teaches me about the importance of repentance because I know my kids are truly sorry for what they did wrong when they try to do the right thing the next time around.

It isn't that I don't think falling leaves are beautiful.

It's just that for me, one of the most beautiful sounds is hearing my children laugh. (I think God likes hearing when we laugh, too!) Or hearing my husband play guitar with our two oldest boys. (Don't you think He likes hearing our music, our praise?)

It is beautiful to see him baking banana bread with our lone daughter.

And sometimes the most beautiful thing in my home at the moment is clean underwear.

I am a mother of eight. It is here, in this life, that God speaks. He doesn't speak to me the same way he would speak to a single woman, or a mother of two, or even another mother of eight who is totally and uniquely different. We are not cookie cutters.

I can't write about alphabet soup moments because, for me, that is not real. And I believe the best way to allow God to speak through you is to be honest. It's ok to want to progress in good qualities. That's a great thing. We should all be yielding more and more to God, allowing Him to change us into holier people. But we should NOT be looking at others, comparing ourselves to them, and wishing we were more like they were.

We should keep our eyes on Jesus.

Besides, I've never been crazy about alphabet soup. If God is going to speak to me through food, I'm pretty sure it is going to be chocolate.




linking up today with Emily, another of those amazing bloggers I was talking about, and one who keeps her eyes on Jesus. I love being *me* with her.

14 comments:

  1. Amy, I can read this post and it could be written by me - except I'm only a mother of 3 - which goes to show we really are all different. Keep with it, I love to read your blog just as it is.

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  2. I really related to this post. I love, love, love the blogs I read - but sometimes I fall into the comparison trap, too. Not as much with the followers but with wishing I could write or take pictures or paint or organize my life the way these others do. It is interesting because on Friday at MOPS we were discussing comparison, and how we as moms each have our own style or finesse on how we mother, and we should be who God created us to be instead of thinking we are better or worse than someone else. We can learn from each other, but we don't need to compare. I had part of a blog about it written, but hadn't finished it yet... your post here had a lot of what I wanted to say! God bless you, friend!

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  3. I <3 you and all of your quirkiness! I know that we do change and grow (thanks to God's grace), but I think you're right: We each have a unique temperment.

    And the biggest disservice we can do to our fellow sisters is to perpetuate facades that portray perfection. Nobody's perfect. Nobody expects you to be, except we hold ourselves to this crazy, unattainable standard. We see glimpses of people's lives and make those generalizations (She has it all together. Her kids are so well-behaved. Her house is spotless)...I think if we all were a little more honest, more real, then we'd be able to truly support one another.

    xo.

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  4. AMY DANIELLE_ YOU ARE AMAZING! I come here to read Jesus. And you are the best!

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  5. I so love your heart Amy. The alphabet soup thing made me laugh so hard :)
    You are beautiful, authentic, unique and your writing is a breath of fresh air.
    We write for an audience of one... so true! It's not about how many followers we have but whether or not we are truly trying to follow Jesus along the way.
    xx

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  6. I am so amazed and blessed by our differences and how they reflect our multi-faceted Father who reveals Himself in the falling leaf, the laughing baby, the suffering, the poetic, and the practical. We all have a race to run, but we don't all run on the same track. If we were all the same, what a boring world this would be. Being a mother of eight is a high calling. You have so much to offer, Amy, just by being you. Bless your heart.

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  7. what's funny is that i have you in the amazing blog lady category. :) i keep reminding myself that we are all different, that we all have our own sorrows and struggles and that God is doing a good work in me and that's what matters. i do have to admit a bit of baby envy for those with more children than me(i have three), but i know that's what God has planned for us right now.

    p.s. God can also speak to me through chocolate, thank you.

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  8. smiles. i am a dad and i understand this...writing for the audience of one...nice...we can lose ourselves when we compair and try to be like others...and God only made one you...

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  9. this made me tear up. i was thinking as i saw your name linked up, "i'm so glad amy linked up..." and then i came and read this, and i thought, hoorah! the truth has set her free, and now, she can teach and lead us... because you are, friend. you teach me so much. and he is using you in a mighty way. love you. xo

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  10. I certainly feel like an odd man out times-ten in the blogger world. I think I even wrote a blog about how the fact that I'm not a mother seems to put me at an immediate disadvantage in my cyber-relationships (which I depend on a great deal since I travel around so much).

    I've enjoyed the Imperfect Prose because it has been a way that God speaks to me. Rarely is it the lesson the blogger intended to impart, but it seems like he often has something for me in their words nonetheless. Even if most of you are so different from me.

    Thank you for sharing your heart.

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  11. What you write here...this is poetry. God meets us where we are and if we are listening, we find Him in the dirty diapers and soup and leaves. He just wants to be with us in the details because he cares.

    This doesn't mean that one way is better...or more poetic. It just means that life is poetry. Our very heartbeats are a song. A song of praise to God. I too would like to go to Africa or help feed the starving babies down the street, but I also know that my highest calling is in this home. It is in the pile of dishes and mountains of laundry, laughter and tears of my children. Dancing with my husband in the living room. Even when I want to trade my children in on quieter models that don't make a mess or throw a hissy fit, I am learning to be grateful where I am, for who I am.
    I'm glad you are learning the same.
    Blessings.
    j.

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  12. Amy i think you are superwoman! 8 kids...wow...God speaks to you in the everyday...and that is what is real, and true.
    You are truly inspiring Amy...thank you. :-)

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  13. Answering God's call to be all we can be where he has us is a beautiful thing. You are beautiful.

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  14. be yourself, that's the style you carry in your writing..
    love your courage and honesty here.
    unbeatable prose.

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