Hi friends and welcome to the Arise, Beloved blog. We have an amazing team of writers behind this blog and our desire is to speak truth into the lies that cripple us and shine light into the darkness that isolates us because we believe that now, more than ever, the Church desperately needs women to be restored so that the world can be set ablaze. Our hope is that you find comfort, solace, and peace in knowing that you are not alone, you are not too far gone and there is ALWAYS hope to be found.
“What is the root of your reoccurring sins?”
This was the bold question slipped into a Sunday homily that led me to do some ponderous digging. I thought about how we are all quite familiar with comparison which sometimes wilts into gossip or slander and has the capacity to corrode into envy, greed, or pride. I had been wrestling with the problem of comparison, in my own life, but also its common hold on everyone. I was convicted with righteous anger about how accustomed we all are that this is “just something all women will always struggle with,” as if it is a struggle with no end in sight. With the Lord’s guidance and conviction, I decided to dive into this gnarly and nasty attachment in search of the root.
It was here that Christ came to uproot the festering weed of control, a weed constantly fed by fear.
There may be many initial causes that send us into a downward spiral of comparison, but surely a common thread is often found in our searching for control. We subconsciously reassure ourselves of control as we check our reputation and status when we examine and think: “Ok, I am almost as good as Sue and definitely doing better than Lu so I’m doing okay.” We fear being caught off guard. The fear of everyone else knowing our rank and we somehow miss the memo. What if it turns out we are not ranked as high as we expected? What if I am not doing enough?
Wait. Who said there was a ranking? Who determines this rank? This devised rank in our judgment, perspective, and examination is the distraction that ensnares us. We are in lockdown, sometimes even paralyzed, as we grip our checklist of how we are measuring up.
The false assurance of this elusive score will only lead to mental breakdowns as we count like a bank teller: how many people ask us for advice, comments on our style choices, blog post shares, and Instagram follows. We are a desperate people. And how can we do anything but beg for His aid and mercy when we hear that punch-gut line from the Gospel, “Are you jealous because I am generous?” (Matt 20:15). The good Father has given us everything, but we are still convinced He is holding out on us and choosing favorites—only blessing some while He overlooks the rest.
Ah, dear women, we do not need to earn the Father’s gaze.
There is no rank. Rest in that reality. Say it louder and revel in it. When we see another’s beauty and we instinctively check ourselves in the nearest mirror or as we see her social media then immediately look at ours to see if it has a better aesthetic—write in big letters across that mental checklist—there is no rank. We are fighting the good fight, each doing her part. Do not be concerned if your part appears to be smaller than another’s. Only the Lord knows the absolute perfection of the specific calling He has given each heart and it is our duty to trust His goodness. All callings involve suffering and glory—just remember we are often only seeing a piece of another person’s story.
The ending scene in Disney’s Moana has always moved me. Go watch the scene. The whole island is perishing and lifeless. This flaming, charcoaled goddess-gone-wrong is rushing towards Moana to destroy her. Moana realizes this once beautiful goddess had her heart stolen and she was left empty—wounded. Moana directs the water (with some Moses-parts-the-Red-Sea-action) by stating, “Let her come to me.” At which Moana sings out to the wounded woman, “I know your name, this is not who you are.” And this is the moment that Moana restores the goddess’ heart and the whole island is healed and brought back to life. We often give into comparison because of a wound, something crying out within us that has left us barren. We lash out, not always externally, but more often, internally by degrading ourselves. The Lord calls out to us, “Come to me, I know you.” The pressure from the world and temptation to believe the comfort of comparison leads us to be hardened. May we learn to let Him in and bear good fruit, rather than raging against the good fruits of others. We are neither defined by our imperfections nor accomplishments.
When we give into comparison (that in which we degrade ourselves and others), we are fearful of others stealing something from us that was never ours to begin with: glory. We fear that they are taking away our due compliments. Britt Chole writes in her book, 40 Days of Decrease: A Different Kind of Hunger. A Different Kind of Fast., to not deflect praise but receive it like a little flower and put it in your pocket so that at the end of the day, on your knees, you might give a whole bouquet to God. Brooke Ligertwood, singer with Hillsong Worship, shares in Mighty Pursuit Miami, that “we were created to give glory, never to take it. Only you can know when that is happening, it is an internal stewardship thing.” We are simply vessels He pours out to reveal His glory (learn more about that from St. Paul in 2 Tim 4:6-8). Anything worthy and beautiful we offer is bestowed gift.
In summary, we rip off the attachment of comparison by learning the root, denying the elusive rank, seeking healing in Christ, and giving glory to Him alone. Ask yourself: Who or what have you made the measuring stick in your life and why? Then go to the Father and search your heart with Him as to what led you to the comparison. Allow your grasping hands and fearful heart to rest in His assurance. He always comes and will assure you in more ways than one of the realities of Who He is. And it is there, dear heart, that you will be given the security of who you are.