Recently, I have meditated on envy. Envy is like a pelican wishing to be a sailboat.
In my novel, The Shattered Vase, envy is characterized as a green blob of vomit. When I think about envy I realize how symbolically accurate vomit is to envy. God gives us gifts and if we envy others it is like we ate at His buffet and instead of being grateful, we vomited the food back up with envy.
As I have meditated on envy I have dived deeper into the abyss. As I have searched through the darkness of my own soul I have realized that I have made a very comfortable home for a close sibling of envy.
That is the dark spirit of comparison.
As a little girl my mother said to me quite regularly, with exasperation.”Why can’t you be more like your sister?”
I wondered that myself. It seemed as if everything my sister did was perfect. She was pretty, popular and a good student. I adored her.
I was a good student, I blossomed into an attraction that could turn heads, but I was not a perfectionist nor was I popular. I always felt as if I didn’t measure up.
I was middle-aged when I finally came to the conclusion that my mother’s tendency to compare me to my sister at such a young age was an act of cruelty.
My sister was thirteen years older than I was. We were remarkably different. I was a creative genius and she was a social butterfly. I was a daydreamer, she was reality bound. I had ADD and didn’t know how to put things away and she had everything cleaned up immediately. I was like a pelican wishing to be a sailboat.
In other words, my sister was a Martha and I was a Mary.
Instead of celebrating our differences and embracing the creation God had made us to be, my mother made me feel lesser because I could not help her with her housework as my sister had done.
I was just back home again this past weekend and I had to come to terms with this darkness. I became aware that comparison is insidiously evil.
We compare on so many fronts; the comparison to movie stars who have altered appearances and physiques, our “friends” on Facebook who continually post their photoshopped selfies, other gurus in our professions who swear they have the only path to success, and a myriad of other demigods.
The thing is that comparison is a tenuous and treacherous path towards idols. It begs to be considered as something more worthy than the creation that God has created in us.
I am not my sister. I still love her and my mother but I am NOT her.
I am a wonderful creation which God has vested His love, devotion and wisdom into.
In my novel, The Shattered Vase, Suzie, a courageous single mother wages war against this evil entity of comparison.
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Do you struggle with comparing yourself to others? Please share in the comments or in an email to me what your remedy is for this.