Strong in who I am.
~We call that... before.
In constant need of affirmation.
~We call that... after.
What is it about becoming a parent that can turn even the most secure person into a pool of doubt? What is it about having a child that can make a person question everything and lose all sense of themselves? It seems that with parenting, the mighty become weak. The steadfast are shaken. And the once self-confident person is now desperately seeking approval. Or perhaps it's just me?
My children are late walkers, late talkers, slow at potty-training, non-bike riders, non-shoe tiers, and they seemingly miss every possible benchmark there is! So I have a tendency to look at other moms...and see how well their children are measuring up... which then leads me to observe the family pictures... the extravagant birthday parties... fun days at pre-school... potty-training successes... fashionable clothing... to name a few... and I find myself lost in the lives of others.
I compare. Constantly. I get jealous. I am envious. I covet.
Let's face it. In addition to my own brewing insecurities, we live in a "post it" society as well. A society where your success or failure as a parent has less to do with the health and outcome of your child, and more to do with what you say, post, tweet, or blog about your child. There's this instant approval of your day's work. There's instant judgment. There's instant reward. There's even instant criticism. And I'm captivated by this online world of instant gratification! Again, perhaps it's just me??
I look at my 2 year old son, who is fascinated by making himself dizzy. So he spins... around and around.... until he stops... can't find his balance... and ultimately falls. He thinks it's the best game in the world, and he will go on without end! As I look at him, I can't help but wonder - how many times do I spin around and around, out of control... looking here and looking there... making myself dizzy by comparing myself to this mom or that activity... all while trying to maintain my own "I'm good!" facade... This is way too much.
Comparison... think about it. It's dangerous, though it seems so harmless (much like my endlessly spinning 2 year old!) But once I stop spinning, I suddenly fall into all of the devastating effects! It has put me in a self-absorbed, prideful mindset of being better than someone else. It has left me in the gulf of self-pity because I don't measure up to someone else. It has even set me on a path of complacency, because I seem to fit right in with someone is.
The Lord is not pleased with a life of comparison. He did not surround me with like-minded believers to compare myself to them, but rather to encourage, strengthen, and build up... as iron sharpens iron. And if I do it right, I can glean much wisdom, experience, ideas, and encouragement from my circle of influence.
If I don't compare myself with others, how will I know how I'm doing as a mom? I wrestle with that thought and many others. Then I am reminded that as believers, we are called to build up one another, pray for each other, weep with those who weep, rejoice with those who rejoice, to consider, to rebuke, to love, and to spur each other on in good works. Motherhood gives me an opportunity to fulfill this mandate to the fullest!
Comparison... Abandon it, because it's not about me. It's not about me!! LIFE IS NOT ABOUT ME!!! Therefore, I cannot consume myself with my own assessment of me.
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
~Hebrews 10:24 -25