Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Comparison Game

It's been almost a year and a half since I last wrote here. A long year and a half. I've gotten a job. Moved out. Started working in my church's youth group. Stopped working in my church's youth group. Learned a lot. A lot. I won't rehash it all.

I come back with no empty promises or goals to write X number of times a day, week, month, year. I'm don't even really want people to know I'm writing again. Well I guess I wouldn't write here if that were the case. Maybe it's that I don't really want most of the people I know to read this, those who will form opinions about me or judge me for my writing. In fact, I was in a tizzy just this week for someone judging me for less than that. I couldn't imagine that someone would act as if they knew me when they haven't tried to get to know me.

We all do it. We think we know someone's intentions. We think we know what people are thinking. We think we know what people are feeling, experiencing, being. You know. The guy pulls out in front of you or cuts you off in traffic, and how many things do you attribute to him? Stupid. Reckless. Inconsiderate. Probably too old to have a car. Or too young. But when we do it...It doesn't seem to go both ways.

I've been caught up in this a lot lately. The comparison game. And it just goes to show the ugliness that is still in my heart. I have this desire to expose what is ugly and broken in others, while hoping that others will overlook the ugliness in me. I despise fakeness. And I hate when others can't see through fakeness. Especially when it comes to the Lord. I feel this grave sense of injustice that must be made right. I hate when God's name is tossed around for personal gain. I hate watching people who claim Christ's name so adamantly and do not walk in love. And I hate that I feel this way.

I am not a judge. There's too many planks in my own eyes for that. But my spirit has been trained to be sensitive to the real and not just the perceived. To see the heart and not just the outward appearance. I truly believe that I was made to be a counselor. It serves me well and has blessed me with very deep and rich relationships with wonderful, God-loving people.

But then there are days when I get so undone by the truth of others' failures and great grievances against me and against God that I fail to extend the grace I so desperately crave myself. My pastor just spoke on the inseparable nature of grace and truth this past Sunday. And I still miss it. All. the. time.

And God is just so smooth in how He redirects, corrects, and refines us. I was caught up in this comparison game. And I was labeling people as Pharisees who wear the bells and pray in public. And I literally picked up my Bible in outrage to read the verses that prove that they are the wrong ones. That I am right in my indignation. And I started to see the tables turning. I was the one looking for spiritual brownie points. I was the one feeling overlooked and scrambling to be seen, to prove that I was worth something more, because I didn't do what those "sinners" did.  I was screaming for God's attention, and at my core I was wanting to do exactly what I saw people doing. I just knew it wasn't God's desire.

He gently led me. Oh how I love His gentleness. He softened me and He spoke to me. "God doesn't require attention-getting devices. He won't overlook what you are doing; He'll reward you well." (Matthew 6:18, The Message)

How He loves.

When we stop the comparison game. When we stop trying to find our security elsewhere. When we remember God sees us, He hears us, He loves us. That is when we find rest. That is when we find peace and become people of peace. And that is when we discover who we have been divinely designed to be. In that place, I love me. And I can't imagine trying to be anyone else. :)