I read her words and they were hot embers to my heart–
they burned glory, only glory, but in my humanity, I received them as a vicious personal assault. The enemy hissed lies and I lapped them up like a ravenous kitten, allowing them to press into tender places, old scars, fresh bruises.
“You aren’t as good as her.” ”You can’t write as well as she can.” “Why do you even bother?”
It happens in a heartbeat, in an unguarded moment, when I’ve allowed myself to forget Whose I am.
Waves of inferiority crash over me, knocking me off certain ground, threatening to pull me under, into darkness, away from light.
And it’s 100% true: I will never write like her.
That’s how the enemy of our heart works–he mingles truth with lies and wagers we’ll believe the latter at the expense of the former, because there’s just enough truth to lend credibility to the lie.
Or at least this is his modus operandi for me.
It’s effective, isn’t it?
You might not be a writer, but I bet there are ways your spirit receives a similar assault–
I’ll never cook like her…
or dress like her…
or deliver a public address like her…
or perform and excel at work like her…
or be as pinteresty of a Room Mom as her…
or be as successful at [____________] as her.
We torture ourselves with unfair comparisons because they don’t tell the complete story.
When we do this we’re only comparing one aspect of another’s life to the whole of ours. It’s illogical.
No, I will never write like her, but the glory in that? My glory in that? God’s glory??
I’m not supposed to.
I am a unique creature of God’s careful design and He thinks I’m wonderful.
(So are you.)
I am the only me who has ever existed, who will ever exist. When God made me, He broke the mold.
(Same for you.)
There is no one else who got to be the mother privileged to bear my children, no one else who can be the wife I’m destined to be for my husband, no one else who embodies all my quirks, mannerisms and idiosyncrasies. No one else who thinks just like me, speaks just like me…and yes, writes just like me.
Some of you might be sick to death of this message. I know several of my (in)courage authors have penned versions of this very thing, how comparison is the cruel thief to joy; not to mention the countless other places wise writers and speakers address “consent to inferiority.” But it’s a particular vulnerability to women, I think; or at least we admit it more often. Maybe that’s because images of perfection and “better” or “ideal” versions of The Perfect Woman / Wife / Mother / Writer / WHATEVER slam us EVERYWHERE– grocery store check out, internet, towering billboards, film and TV.
You and what you have to offer – your “Little Drummer Boy drummings” – have immense and intrinsic beauty, value, worth and desirability because, as is so easy not to remember, you are created in the image of God.
Have you ever thought of it this way? If you withhold what only you have to offer, you’re withholding it from the Body of Christ –
“For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…” ~ Romans 12:4-6a, ESV
Sometimes…sometimes Christian clichés infuriate me. How many times have I heard or read (or said!), “To [do whatever you do] for an Audience of One.” Maybe that’s true in some cases but it made me feel like a liar when it came to writing. If it were true, I wouldn’t share my words in public places.
But…b u t…what IS true for me is to offer all I do to the glory of God.
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:31
* * *
The wave of inferiority from reading my friend’s beautiful, lyrical prose crashed over me…but almost as quickly, subsided.
Logic reminded me her words, talent and giftings were no assault or indictment of my inabilities. When I released comparison and let go of any imagined need to write like her, I was able to learn from and be inspired by her. A funny thought struck me: if I wrote just like her, it wouldn’t be nearly as appealing; instead, ordinary and familiar.
What if, when God made the rainbow, He made only bands of red?
Yes, it would be beautiful – how could an arc of color streaking across the sky not be? But, oh, how we’d miss orange’s flame, yellow’s smile, green’s signs of new life, blue’s strength, indigo’s charm and violet’s majesty!
Rainbow’s pleasure to the eye is its colorful diversity, true. But it’s treasure to the soul is its origin, author, its reason for being: a promise by a King.
The Body needs us to live our respective stories as only each of us can do. Our broken world needs us to live our respective stories as only each of us can do. If you sense a sinking spell where you’re starting to feel like “you can’t do it like her” remember this:
She can’t do it like you.
T h a n k God.
by Robin Dance