I’ve waited a week to write this piece. I had to take time to discern, to pray, to follow God’s lead, and before I sat down to write, God said, “Go watch the video one more time.”
What had my feathers ruffled last week? A video that needed to be reviewed one more time. Sure enough, as I watched with a renewed willing spirit, an open mind and obedience, I saw it differently.
The topic had two points, ‘comparison’ and ‘perfectionism’ and the battle women have in both areas. But as I watched, I found myself doing exactly what they were discussing- comparing (wrong!)! They opened with comparison and used Facebook and Pinterest as the example- namely the battle for the best Pinterest party (something I have NO clue about). Who in the world has issues with comparing a ‘Pinterest party’ against their girlfriend’s?
Am I crazy?
Is this truly where we are in this country? Women around the world are being sold into slavery, sexually abused, being cheated on by their husband, physically abused, mentally abused, starving, dying of diseases, grieving the loss of their husband, battling addiction, fighting suicide… and we are tackling the issue of comparing our Pinterest party to the lady who does the better Pinterest party- because that’s her gift?
I will be honest- because I was so riled about the superficial intro and content of such a deep and important subject, I may have turned deaf ears to the meat of the conversation. For that, I deeply apologize. The true message was very important to women everywhere- within those Pinterest following neighborhood Bible study groups, and to the many of us in the world battling some of the issues I stated above. When we are busy comparing we are losing, because of loss of community among women. When we are busy aiming for these standards of perfection, we aren’t giving God the credit for the love He has for each one of us, in the midst of all our ‘imperfections’, we are fully and wholly loved.
It took a conversation with my bestie, who I know is among one of the Pinterest following communities, to understand that while this issue may seem more of a non-issue to me, to certain groups, it really is a battle! The battle of comparing one’s ability to another. And while I will never understand that battle, it may be somewhat unfair of me to compare what seems like an ‘inviting’ problem to have, given the deep, painful and often times unavoidable issues of my own life. The last year alone has proven to be so complex that I’ve been left with anxiety that put in me urgent care, thinking I was having a heart attack. If I compared the two, I’d much prefer to suffer with the battle of the party! But that’s not fair of me, and this, also, is comparing.
It’s the internal battle of surrender that we are talking about here. And yes, maybe some issues in surrender do seem superficial. Take for instance, my personal addiction to ice cream- and you are probably laughing. But eating ice cream like I’ve been known to, can lead to instant weight gain and additional health issues. If I desire and want that ice cream more than I desire to spend time with God, my kids, my husband, it is a real addiction, and therefore, becomes a battle of surrender. So while it’s ridiculous and small, and yes, shallow, it’s a real problem. Usually people laugh at me, and I don’t blame them. But..it’s my small issue.
As women, we tend to pull out the claws more than we realize, and to be honest when it comes down to comparing, sharing and supporting, we leave much to be desired. Walls have often been erected and when those shallow issues become deeper than we’re prepared for, or our deeper issues seem to swallow for those in our pond, instead of showing our support and willingness to be there for one another, we pull away into our ‘easier’ world of Pinterest parties or our ‘isolated’ world of my issues are bigger than yours- both leave women missing out on so much.
I’ve seen this with my own eyes. When life changes happened for a close friend of mine, those ladies that were happy to meet up with her and discuss the Pinterest craft ideas, or compare cake making skills, had no clue how to step up and be that same ‘friend’ in her time of desperate need. It was like we went from the kiddie pool to the deep end, but no one was willing to jump in! They left her high and dry. Words like adultery and divorce had made their way into the circle. Her kids were acting out, and that seemed to pose some sort of inconvenience to the group- therefore, one by one, every Pinterest party partner backed away, until eventually, not one of them remained in contact. Not one called to ask how she was, invite her to coffee, or simply listen through the tears and heartache she was enduring. Not one of those ladies knows today of the suicidal tendencies my sweet friend fought, or the complete lack of self-esteem. And most importantly, they never had the opportunity to witness her recovery, her climb, and to see the miracles and many ways God intervened and lifted her through it all.
Those same women today are comparing their perfect lives to her broken one, and when they see each other around the neighborhood, it’s as though nothing ever happened. It is like a la-la land of false faces.
We are not perfect, and my greatest comparison will always be wishing I was the stronger believer, the mighty singer on worship team, and the quickest quote-r of scripture! But I’m not perfect. I’m me. God made me to be who I am, and you are you. God made you to be who you are. I can’t compare with the talents of women who maybe has the perfect children, or the woman who sings the sweetest melody, or the woman who gives some perfect Pinterest party.
But I can be a women with compassion and love. I can be a woman who listens and prays. I can be a woman who sees our differences as a beautiful part of God’s amazing creation. That’s who I can be and to continue to strive to be. And if our difference is that you can put on an amazing Pinterest party and I can’t, I will appreciate that about you. If our difference is that I have survived bipolar disorder and you never dealt with it, I hope you will appreciate that about me.
As women, let’s stick together, in our likenesses and our differences. In our imperfections and in our gifts. As women, we have a lot to offer this world as believers in Jesus Christ. Let’s stay focused on that.