It cannot be a coincidence, how many times lately I have heard reference to measuring sticks. From messages onstage at church, to conversation with friends, from books I am reading to internet surfing, this concept keeps coming up. So, as I wonder if God is maybe trying to hit me over the head with something, I decide maybe it's time to take a deeper look.
If you think I am talking about sewing supplies, let me explain. Measuring sticks in my life might look like...:
"She keeps her house so much cleaner than me. I must be a messy, dirty person."
"Her children are so well-behaved. My little boy throws tantrums. I must not be doing well as a mom."
"She is so well-organized and scheduled, making time to work out, take her kids on fun adventures, and have a home-cooked meal on the table. I can barely find time to shower. What is wrong with me?"
I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. It is so easy to look at someone else, their life, their priorities, their agenda and to-do list, and to come up feeling...
I do this. All the time, often without even realizing it. Sometimes I even joke about it, trying to make myself feel better, or maybe to look for validation from someone who loves me that, hey, I'm ok too.
This aspect of measuring sticks was easy for me to see. After all, I tend to fell less-than every day.
Then I started thinking deeper. Are there areas where others, wait for it, may feel less than me?!?!? No way. I am not nearly as organized, fun, energetic, in shape, well-dressed, Martha Stewart-esque, wise, or spiritual as any woman I know. In fact, if you name a friend, I bet I could immediately respond with the areas in which she is better than I am. But, logic tells me this goes both ways. I don't see it. Believe me, I'm not sitting around patting myself on the back for my accomplishments and strengths.
But neither are my friends.
I mean, I am friends with these women. I know them. They aren't walking around with an intense awareness of their strengths while simultaneously looking to lord them over me. They are good people, genuine people, wonderful people.
So, if I take into account that I see all this wonderfulness in them, but I don't see it in myself, does it make sense that the reverse is true? Maybe they see strengths in me that they hold up as a measuring stick to themselves?
I hope not. Logically, it must be true. But that's not what I want.
So it must not be what they want either right? They aren't out to feel superior any more than I would be, if I could just figure out what those strengths of mine are.
The world tells us we have to have it all, be it all, do it all. Everything has to be perfect, or we aren't up to snuff. But the Word tells us that we are each gifted differently. I Corinthians 12. James 1:17.
God made my friend the gourmet chef. He made the meticulous housekeeper, the amazing mother, the fireball of energy. He made us all, as we are, for a reason. And He brings us together to be one body, to bring out the best in each other. Not to feel inadequate. Not to put another down. But to build each other up.
So, rather than feeling inferior when I hear about someone's day, I will build them up. I will encourage, praise, and rejoice in the special gifts God gave them. I will make sure they know they are special, created by God to do something I could never do.
And the next time someone compliments one of my gifts, I will choose to receive it.