When Comparison Crushes Your Heart and Steals Your Joy

When Comparison Crushes Your Heart and Steals Your Joy

It’s close to noon and she’s huffing and puffing, feeling the pressure to push.

Another nurse gives me a break, so I can inhale my food in the nurse’s lounge before my patient delivers. I escape for a while and open Feedly, to catch up on words I love, written by writers who make me better for reading.

And it’s the title of the last post I read, which stirs feelings that are always residing just beneath the surface: Comparisons Will Kick You in the Teeth and Hijack Your Dreams Every Time.

It reaches out and grabs me by the throat. And wouldn’t that title trigger a tsunami within any woman? As if comparison is one of the genes on the x chromosome.

I finish her post and I’m a mess–a tears-streaming, nose-running mess, as I realize my teeth have been kicked and my dreams are being hijacked. And it’s been happening for a long time.

Thankful I’ve eaten alone, I do my best to pull it together. Because when someone’s having a once-in-a-lifetime birth moment, it’s never good to lose your I’m-so-happy-for-you presence.

Her delivery ends up being all she hoped for–a moving moment without a dry eye in the room. But as I wipe off her squiggly vernix-covered newborn, crying and squinting under the warmer’s bright lights, my mind still ponders the post and questions still simmer in my mind…

Do I matter?

Am I good enough?

Do the words I write make any difference at all?

But the words of her post echo, pushing against my questions with the resistance of a fierce wind…

Don’t waste even a moment of your own beautiful life comparing it to mine…
Let’s choose to rejoice with one another…
Let’s not trample what we’ve been given in order to get to what we wish we’d got…

I marinate in her words for a few days, letting them soak and tenderize places deep inside.

And it’s on a walk, a few days later, I pass a planter filled with flowers of different sizes and at different stages; some budding, some blooming, and some just finishing their bloom.

When Comparison Steals Your Joy

And it’s as if God screams it to my heart:

Flowers don’t bloom all at the same time, and neither do any of you.

I stand stunned at the realization; convicted and relieved at the same time.

Convicted because comparison’s been crushing my heart and stealing my joy.

Why do I assume I should bloom alongside everyone else?

Why do I think I’m further behind than I should be?

Why am I never fully satisfied right where I am?

Yet relieved because I’ve been asking all the wrong questions … trampling all I’ve been given in an effort to try to get to what I wish I’d gotten, and failing to see the beauty that is my now.

The truth is, I’m in my own stage of development, and SO ARE YOU–the very stage God has planned from the beginning of time, for each one us. For now.

And when we long for the next thing, we are rejecting the now thing He gives. [Tweet that]

There are invisible moments before a bloom … preparation and work and cultivation … a maturing God longs to accomplish before the full beauty of our blooms can be realized.

God prepares all things and all circumstances.

He sets blooms in His time and in His way, to bless and beautify the whole world.

He cultivates a garden of alternating blooms, so their beauty will last over the longest time,

To bless the greatest number of people, for His purpose alone.

She was right. Comparison does kick us in the teeth and hijack our dreams. Every. Single. Time.

So will you join me?

Let’s save our teeth, and keep our dreams.

Let’s embrace our stage in God’s garden, allowing Him to bring our blooms in His time.

Let’s be faithful in our now thing and stop longing for our next thing… [Tweet that]

Each of us a member of a body…

Functioning together…

To bring the most glory to His name.

May we surrender our comparison, to be used by Him in the now thing He has planned for us, whatever that may be.

 

What does comparison do to your heart?

What is the now thing God is asking you to do?

How can we cheer you on?

Jacque Watkins

Lover of heartfelt chats and chai tea lattes, Jacque can’t wait to connect with you. Over a decade ago, in the aftermath of an affair, Jacque was found by God’s mercy and changed by His grace. As a Labor & Delivery RN and mama to five, she's a mercy-lover, podcaster of Mud Stories, champion of second chances, and longs for you to know God loves you for you, and will leave nothing unredeemed in His time. You can connect with Jacque at her blog, or on TwitterFacebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.

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  • http://youaremygirls.com/ JENNIFER CAMP

    Jacque, just, thank you. I need to surrender this to Him. Right now. Again. Yes, this is a burden that suffocates that free life we are meant to live. It suffocates joy. So blessed by your loving words here, sister.

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      Me too sister, me too. Laying it down. Right now. Again. Right here with you…surrendering to Him.

  • PATTI BROWN

    This–> “Flowers don’t bloom all at the same time, and neither do any of you.” Comparison is a thief. It steals joy everywhere its teeth sink in. Puts me in mind of something someone I love very much once said: “Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!'” (John 21:22) Eyes on Him and no one else (including myself!) That’s the only answer. I loved this post Jacque, loved the picture stories you wove in here. <3

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      Yes! Eyes on Him Patti…I’m with you!

  • MELANIEAMOORE

    LOVE this, sweet friend. Thank you!

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      Thank you Melanie…xo

  • https://shandraharris.wordpress.com/ SHANDRA WHITE HARRIS

    So good. thank you for the reminder.

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      Isn’t it amazing how our writing is often a reminder to our very own selves…I’m with you!

  • MSLORRETTY

    Oh. Be my friend in that place. I don’t know why I ever went there, why I ever go there and I hate the fact that I’ll somehow go there again. Don’t wanna forget and we all need each other to remember. There is a Greater Why to all of this.

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      And I hate it too. But He knew we would go there and loves us even still, and longs to use us…and He IS greater, and His plan IS higher than we can even see…xo

  • http://kriscamealy.com/ KRIS CAMEALY

    Jacque, this is exquisite. I can’t say more than that right now–just know I am deeply moved. Love you.

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      And my heart is with you…with love my friend.

  • http://memyselfandmercy.blogspot.com/ MARY BONNER

    I never fail to marvel at the words you write. They resonate deep within me. I have been struggling with this very thing and just this morning was thinking maybe I should give up this whole writing thing. Jacque, you being used by God my dear friend. Thank you for allowing him to use you.

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      You bless me so. Again and again. And I am with you in the struggle. WE are with you. Holding you up, and encouraging you to press on for all He has planned that only YOU can do. Eyes to Him, arm in arm, bringing Him glory…xoxo

  • LARA SADOWSKI

    Jacque, this is one of the best posts I have ever read. I have to admit that I have looked at other ladies at conferences I have attended in the past, observed them jumping up and down with an accepted book proposal or hitting their 10,000th FB friend on their site, and I got sad. And mad. And jealous. And then I chastised myself for not doing more or working harder. Well, no more of that! God has each one of us right where He wants us for such a time as this.

    Thank you, thank you!

    Blessings,
    Lara <

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      Sad. Mad. Jealous. Chastising. Oh how I’m with you…but I’m seeing it is futility. And I’m joining you, embracing what He gives now. May we be faithful to honor Him as He leads…which will be so much more than trying on our own! Thank you for your kind and gracious words!

  • http://www.lisajobaker.com/ LISA-JO BAKER

    Precious Jacque – the world would be a dimmer place without you in it – beautiful amazing woman of God and deliverer of new babies :)

    Love you so
    LJ

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      So. much. love. for. you. Just thank you. xo

  • http://jenniferowhite.com/ JENNIFER WHITE

    Wonderfully expressed. I can certainly relate. God’s journey for me included Timothy Keller’s short, amazing read “The Freedom of Self-Forgetfullness”. I cant’ recommend it enough.

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      Oooh, I’ll have to check that out…I love wonderful recommendations!

  • http://gretchenlouise.com/ GRETCHEN LOUISE

    Beautiful. Just, beautiful. Thank you.

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      Thank you so much Gretchen!

  • http://tuningmyhearttopraise.blogspot.com/ RO ELLIOTT

    Lovely post …the bible says when we compare ourselves with others we are without understanding… God has been speaking to me over and over about His kingdom…His upside down kingdom…the first shall be last…the greatest is the least…and a cup of cold water has great value…we use the world’s standards to judge our self worth to God and to the world…and we must remind ourselves….of those who stood before Him asking ….when did I feed you…when did I clothe you….? These did not measure nor did God by the worldy scales of accomplishment…but God saw their great value…He knew them.

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      Oh Ro, thank you for your wisdom and the grace with which you share. Longing to visit Tennessee and hug your neck, go to lunch, and chat long…a girl can dream, right? xoxo

      • http://tuningmyhearttopraise.blogspot.com/ RO ELLIOTT

        Yes…yes…maybe we agree and ask God to let it be so :)

        • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

          Yes, yes…agreeing and asking with you that it might be so :)

  • JENNIFER

    I love this, Jacque! I think this is probably the most common area we share as women. We compare and it does leave us empty and feeling like we want to give in and give up. To come to the place where we realize that all flowers don’t bloom at the same time (that was brilliant by the way.) is pure wisdom.

    Your writing is beautiful, friend! I cannot wait to meet you at Allume!

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      And I will look forward to getting to meet you! And I can’t tell you how thankful I am God showed my discouraged pity-partying heart that day those flowers in that planter…I love how He does that! Joining you in embracing our now, right where we are…

  • CHRISTIE ELKINS.

    Jacque, you are beautiful inside and out! SO blessed to have met you. Thankful these ladies have you by their side in those uncertain moments of childbirth to cheer them on!

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      And what a gift to have met YOU! I loved that! xo

  • TRICIA GOYER

    Beautiful words! Thank you!

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      Tricia, thankful for you!…xo

  • http://www.TheBeautifulDeep.com/ KRISTIN

    So beautiful Jacque! I’m blessed today by your reminders and encouragement. Love, Kristin

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      And I’m blessed by your words, may we all be encouraged in community today…pulling together to cheer one another on!

  • ANNVOSKAMP_HOLYEXPERIENCE

    yes, yes, yes.
    love.

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      Oh sweet Ann…xoxo!

  • ALIA_JOY

    I love you so, Jacque! What would this online space be like without your wisdom and encouragement and authenticity? I’ve gotten my teeth kicked out and sat puddled in a mess of pity and worthlessness and it’s always when I lose sight of what God has called me to. When I think it’s too hard, when I want to quit, it’s almost always because I’m charting where everyone else is and I’m feeling way off course. But my true north will always be Christ and when I remember that, I find my way just fine. Such a beautiful post, friend and so needed! I needed this reminder today. So glad you were the one to bring it.

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      Oh my…your words are a gift to me. And I love *you* so. And I’m SO with you in this struggle…teeth out and muddy from my puddle. But let’s link arms and stand tall, eyes fixed to Him who has the perfect plan for us…with marvelous amazing things for us to do…to be used in ways we never have considered possible, because that’s how incredible He is. Can’t wait to walk it with you, one step at a time. xo

  • KRISTEN GLOVER

    Thank you for being transparent enough that we could see our own struggles through yours. You are a blessing!

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      Thank you Kristen…and that we can be together in this and encourage each other…I am so thankful for that!

  • MARIE PINKHAM

    Thank you, Jacque, that I don’t have to be where everyone else seems to be to feel good about my accomplishments. God has me right where He wants me. His love is truly amazing, isn’t it!!

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      Yes He does have us exactly where He wants us…and I will never stop being amazed by His love for us! Ever!

  • http://www.livingjoel225.com/ CHRISTINE

    Sweet Jacque, you have written an amazing reminder here – and your beautiful stage of development is inspiring so many of us coming behind you!! :)

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      Your words are a gift to me :)

  • http://www.laurarath.blogspot.com LAURA RATH

    Jacque, I don’t think we can ever be reminded of this too often. Just when I think I’m doing okay and focused on God’s plan for my life, the comparisons strike again, and knock me to my knees. It’s encouraging to know I’m not the only one.

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      I think you’re right Laura…always a struggle, and we can never be reminded enough!

  • DEBRA BACON

    Jacque-a great post. Thanks for the necessary reminder “not to compare ourselves with ourselves.” We are all on this life and faith journey together. And we are exactly where we are supposed to be. No shame. Only grace.

    Blessings ~Debra

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      No shame my friend, no shame…just buckets of grace!

  • http://www.amylearns.com/ AMY TILSON

    I love your analogy of blooming flowers all at different stages. And what if all flowers were exactly the same, no poinsettieas in winter, no mums in the fall, no pansies in early spring? What a dreary place this world would be!! Thank you for these beautifully wise words, sweet friend.

    • http://www.jacquewatkins.com/ JACQUE WATKINS

      Oh Amy, I love that! Not only blooming at different times but in different shapes, sizes, and statures, all enhancing the beauty He intends…and even forming buds can have different shapes…yes!