The Comparison Game

comparison

Our church has started the Believe series by Randy Frazee a few weeks ago.  It is incorporated into our Sunday school, church sermon, and our mid-week Bible study. Not only that our Youth Group that we lead each Saturday night is doing Deep Discipleship from LeaderTreks. Needless to say, both studies work really well together. This last weeks topic has been Identity in Christ and Adoption.

As I was going through our mid-week Bible study question sheet, I made a startling realization. It asks, “Is the comparison game something you have struggles with?”

Hmmm…

If you would have asked me in the course of conversation I would say no. I don’t care that much about what people think. Not anymore. I know what I believe, how I feel about everything. I am comfortable with where I am at. Of course I want people to like me, and I would like for no conflict to come between myself and others.

But, since this is a bible study, I am forced to think more at length and deeper into how I really feel about comparing myself to others. What I realized was that I do participate in the comparison game. And I know better….

I have been trapped by circumstance. Circumstances? Maybe that is a better ways to say it. Circumstances that God has poured out His grace in.  No denying that. We have been blessed beyond what we deserve. No doubt. I know that my Creator cares for me. I feel loved beyond measure! So why am I stuck in this comparison rut? Maybe writing this will help me get past it.

Comparison No. 1:

I want a large family. I don’t mean a baseball team, but a larger than average family. I grew up with one other sibling, a younger brother. Our family is very close. We disagree, we have had spats. But, nothing has ever gotten in the way of our relationships. Ever. But, it is just me and my brother. I am the only one with children. So, there are no cousins for my Littles on my side. Family gatherings are fun, warm, and loving, and small. And that’s okay, I wouldn’t change a thing, I love my family!

While we lived in our last house we would drive by a small cabin with a sign on it that read, “Camp Carson”. Almost every major holiday and some scattered weekends here and there we would see two huge motor-homes pulled in with a number of other vehicles. Around a bonfire at night there would be a family gathered  and kids playing. I remembered commenting to my husband, “Wow! Look Camp Carson is in full force this weekend! How nice that they get together so often!” It soon turned into, “Caaamp Carson!” as we drove by as we sort of cheer them on to ourselves of course.

I really admired their family. Yes, I know they aren’t perfect. I don’t have to know them to know that. Every family has something they are dealing with from time to time. But, to see a family that can put all that aside to get together, and who obviously loved spending time together, is something worth noting.

You know how you try not to, but you lay out these expectations in your head of how it will be someday? Yeah, I totally did that. That is what I hope for in a family: A family that gets along despite disagreeing. Who love each other unconditionally. Who are full of grace. Who strive to be peacemakers. Who love and serve the Lord.  Who play games and encourage one another. A house full of warmth, love, and laughter.

Who wouldn’t want that?

We have been blessed with a now seven year old boy and three year old girl. My heart swells with love for them! March of 2014 we were excited to be adding to our family. However, we found out at almost 12 weeks in that our pregnancy ended naturally at five weeks. That was one of the hardest times I’ve ever experienced and felt a huge loss. I truly don’t know how anyone can endure a loss like that not having a firm faith in God.

We waited a few months and began trying to grow our family again.  We are still waiting for that joyous moment of needing to take a pregnancy test.

After many months of what I felt was God saying no. We began talking about adoption. We know our finances, our income will not allow for us to have a typical adoption. So, we began looking into Foster Care adoption. After looking into that, we realize that too isn’t an option for our family since all placements require the child to be the youngest or only child in the home. So, our only option is fostering. We steered away from that idea simply because we felt we would be emotional wrecks when it came time for the child to be placed back into their biological homes. That isn’t easy. But, we know that is the goal.

So, what does this all have to do with comparison? Well, I just want to say I don’t want to sound judgmental at all, but, this is where I am, and I really am trying not to sound like a spoiled rotten Christian, because that isn’t Christ-like at all, and that is not what I want to be. But, for the sake of honesty, I have been feeling the ugly childlike selfish attitude of:

“It’s not fair!” 

I know Christianity isn’t works based. I know I can’t earn my salvation. I do try to do what is right in Gods eyes because I do love him and I want to be obedient. But, I find myself comparing myself to others who would claim to be Christian who are living as the world and are being blessed with with a growing family. And here we are, doing our best to please God, and yet are being told no, or at least not now.

Who am I, really, to compare and be a judge of their situation anyway? God knows their hearts. I do not.  God also knows what is best for our family. He sees the whole picture.

I have no reason to complain, or compare, He has given me two wonderful Littles to raise and love. For them I am so thankful!

Comparison No. 2

Why do we have to live from pay check to paycheck? I mean literally incoming meets outgoing at the door. We drive rusty falling apart vehicles. We don’t do anything extra, we aren’t able to provide extra opportunities for our Littles. I have come to the conclusion that a savings account is a luxury.

I feel the criticism even if it has only been voiced by a couple.

Why do you homeschool? Send the kids to public school and both of you can work. {I feel criticism on homeschooling even for other reasons. But, that is for another time.}

This world is no longer accommodating to traditional families. It is however, very accommodating to working families. Look at daycare options! It is an attractive thought to send your kids to daycare these days, they are more educationally driven, so structured learning is the justification. {Disclaimer: These days you need to make sure you are fully understood so you don’t offend. I am in no way saying that daycare or working families are doing wrong. Everyone’s situation is different.}

So, we live in a time where working families can afford more, have more, and do more. While our family focuses on quality, the world demands quantity. We live pay check to paycheck. Yes, there are certainly families that are single income that do well. For the sake of clarification, we live in rural northern Michigan. Opportunities for that are few and far between.

Again, I feel the ugly childlike selfish attitude rear its face!

“It’s not fair!”

But, again. I have no reason to feel this way! God has sustained us! I have no reason to worry, despite how “close” things get. I have seen His provisions continuously. I know they are His, because even though we are doing everything we can to be responsible for what we do, God carries us in ways that we couldn’t have on our own.

I am so thankful to have God in my life. I would be so lost without Him! {Pardon the pun, but really!}

Something I have told my children, “What is fair, isn’t always equal.” And I will add, God is just.

To have peace and joy amidst suffering and affliction is a testimony to the Lord. That is the testimony that I want to display. By comparing myself to others I am robbing myself of that! You as reader, may relate, or may not. I hope you don’t fall into the trap of the comparison game. A game you won’t win.

I am happy with what I have. And if this is what God has planned for us, I pray I live it out with grace and peace for His glory!

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,
    for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” Psalm 115:1

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s