"She doesn't have to do the dishes!!"
"He got to go last time!"
"That's not fair, she gets to have two parties!!"
If you're a Mom you may have heard a statement like this in the past week, or if you live in my house it's usually at least once a day! All of my kids, well the 3 who can talk play this game, but one tends to do it a little more often than others. She would be the one who acts too much like her mother at times - yes, that would be me!!
When I think about it, I'm not surprised - she is the daughter of the comparison queen. Growing up with two sisters I can recall the above statements and more...I didn't always say them, but in my mind I compared things quite often. This way of thinking wasn't isolated to my home, but was also something I did as a student, athlete and friend.
I can remember thinking, "The coach told her good job twice, she must be better than me." "She was invited to 3 sleepovers, they like her more than me!" "The teacher asked her to be in charge again, she's more responsible than I am." The list could go on, but I'm going to assume if you haven't experienced this yourself you get the idea.
These thoughts often led to one or two places - many times they left me discouraged and down on myself. After comparing, I'd beat myself up thinking I wasn't good enough which would then lead to isolation and/or giving up. The other destination I'd find myself at was the land of "It's not fair!!" Honestly this could lead to anger, jealousy and even bitterness as I thought someone else was getting what I wanted and sometimes even thought I deserved.
I find myself thinking about this more as I hear my kids share similar words and have recently been challenged by my response. I've found myself saying what I thought I never would, "Life's not fair...you better get used to it." I'm not denying the truth of that statement, but lately I've been thinking I don't want my kids to simply grasp this reality...I want to keep them from playing the game, the comparison one!
But, before I can convince them to stop...I'm beginning to realize I need to retire first! Lately I've noticed the tendencies I had as a child are still with me today as an adult. Granted I'm no longer concerned with how many sleepovers invitations my friends receive, but I have noticed what ministry opportunities they've been given. And I no longer keep track of how many fun things my sisters get to do, but I'll be honest and admit I know how many times my husband has left the house without children since I last did!
It can be hard to admit this, but as I have done just that the last few days with the Lord, He's brought a passage (John 21: 15-25) in front of me in a few different ways. To summarize, Jesus has just told Peter what kind of death he will endure and what does Peter do? Perhaps we could call him the comparison king, "Peter turned around and saw behind them the disciple Jesus loved—the one
who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked, “Lord, who will
betray you?” Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?”
And friend if you ever find yourself playing this game, listen to Jesus words, "Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.”
When Jesus speaks to us individually it doesn't matter what He is saying to anyone else...we are to follow HIM! The only comparison He wants me to do is comparing my walk to His will and the only person God wants me to measure myself against is His Son!
It's true, life isn't fair...God reminds me of that just like I do my own children, but lately He's been taking the lesson a bit further...just because that is a reality, I don't need to play a game that I will always lose! The next time I feel myself wearing my old crown I want to remember what Jesus said to Peter, but more than remembering I want to obey and follow Him because I know He has plans for me! (Jer. 29:11) And friend nothing compares to being right where He wants me to be...even when it's at home with 5 little ones who don't quite understand all of this yet!!