I had a revelation lately…a really big one, actually. It was this: that understanding my personal capacity helps fight the temptation of comparison. Let me say that another way, because I think it’s so important for us mamas to really get this: Knowing your own capacity can free you up from comparison.
It’s almost cliché how often we talk about the never-ending battle of comparison among moms. But we talk about it because it IS a battle. A very real one.
And I am not referring to verbalized comparison (though I bet some of you have dealt with that), I am talking about that terrible struggle of our inner-man to feel good enough. That battle in our souls that tells us we aren’t measuring up.
A spirit of comparison will do all it can to take our peace and our worthiness away from us. It’s rotten, really. Satan’s hold on us through this thing can be really tight and really draining.
But mamas, I believe there is a freedom waiting for us.I think there are some steps and mindsets we can engage in, with the Holy Spirit’s help, that can untangle us from the comparison mess.
I won’t touch on all of them today (partly because I am still working through this myself), though I will address the most important thing first:
Knowing your identity as a daughter who is well-loved and well-taken care of and well-thought of and worthy of everything.
But another thing I want to share with you today, that He has been showing me, is that understanding my own capacity can rid me of some comparison. If I know that my capacity in this season is to do a certain thing, then why on earth am I comparing myself to someone who may have been given a totally different capacity for this season? And why are we deciding that one level of capacity is better than the other?
I can think of a few times where not recognizing the capacity God has given me in that season led me to compare myself, eventually leading me to feel bad about myself. Right after losing my dad two years ago, followed by two miscarriages and some tough family situations due to grief…I found myself no longer being able to really host people for dinner like I have always loved to. I found myself not being as inviting for friends to come visit us from out of town, or for us to go see them. It just all seemed too much for my grief-weary soul. I know I was in a hard stage, and I knew the reason, yet STILL, I was so tempted to compare myself to friends who were so good at hosting dinners and parties and guests. That good thing was in me too! But it just needed to be put aside in that season, and I needed to realize that was okay.
Another thing that brought comparison in my life by not knowing the capacity God had given was during a season where my husband was working very long hours and wasn’t home much. To the outside person, it looked like he was just gone all the time, but to me, I know that it was the Lord’s goodness of provision and that my husband was simply being obedient to Him. But somehow, I still let comparison take hold because I would forget that our family’s “capacity” looked different in that season that other people's. If only I had realized that earlier, I would’ve saved myself a lot of shame and comparison.
I can look back at last year’s school year, and see a time when I actually did make a good choice to not come under comparison. My third pregnancy kicked me in the pants every day, and I was so uncomfortable and exhausted. I had signed up to be the “homeroom mom” for my girl’s Pre-K class. And as much as I wanted to stay with it, I had to relinquish it towards the end of the first semester, because I was simply just too tired to plan anything for 20 kiddos when I could barely get food made for my own little family.
I actually recognized that my capacity was smaller than I thought it was, and so I stepped away. It was a good decision that freed me up in more ways than one.
Am I making sense? I want to give one more example. One that I think a lot of moms struggle over: Number of kids.
Let’s just stop right here and say this: If you have one little person or ten little people…you are AMAZING. I don’t care how many you have…when you are called to be a mother, you are called. It doesn’t matter how many you have, the calling is the same.
Still, it seems to be such an issue of comparison, am I right? But y’all, let’s think about this. If you know that you do not have the capacity for six children, then be okay with that, and quit looking at your friend who does have six, and thinking to yourself “wow, she must be so much better than me to handle six kids.”
Just STOP it.
Instead of comparing, you could do something like this: Be thankful for your own children, be thankful that God has given your friend her children. Ask Him to reveal your capacity (which HE gives to us anyways!) to you, and repent of comparison.
Comparison and not knowing what the Lord has asked of YOU, and you alone, (your “capacity”) can be detrimental to walking in worthiness.
So, let’s throw that off today. Repent of not believing that the capacity you have (or feel like you don’t have) is RIGHT where you need to be. Praise Him that He alone is in control, and walk through your day knowing that you and your capacity are ENOUGH.
Sarah blogs at www.braveandsimple.com and shares life on Instagram @sarah.elizabeth.lowe