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Knowledge, inspiration, and encouragement from a Christian perspective is my goal. I post a weekly commentary, which could be about world events or the events of my week. Other days I might share stories, recipes, homemaking tips, book reviews, political talk, biblical truth, or other blogs and websites I like. This blog is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

BETTER TO BE ME

In my younger days I had a terrible habit. I compared myself to other women. No matter what I was accomplishing or how I felt about my appearance, there was always someone I was striving to be like. In the seventies, I wanted to be like a girl in my high school named Kerri. She was so put together. She wore the coolest outfits and had beautiful hair and a perfect smile. She even smelled wonderful. I asked her one day what perfume she wore and then went out and bought myself a bottle of "Ciara". It's still my favorite perfume. Fortunately, today I wear it because I like the smell, not because I want to be like Kerri.

I've learned that comparing myself to other women is just wrong for so many reasons. First of all, God created me to be myself. It must grieve Him when I'm not satisfied with who I am, as if to question his handiwork. It's like saying, "Why couldn't you do better than this, Lord?" When I want that girl's body or another girl's talent, I am coveting something that God gave to someone else. Not only that, but I devalue my own attributes which God chose for me to have.

Women are funny. They really are. I can't tell you how many times I have overheard a woman express dissatisfaction with her looks or abilities, and without realizing it, that same woman who sees so many flaws in herself is admired and envied by other women. I have a wonderful friend who I think is stunningly beautiful. But she must wear make-up to cover up some red patches on her face. This bothers her and she's very open about it. But she doesn't realize that while she's bothered by her imperfections, other women look at her and see flawless beauty they'd love to have.

I guess it's easy to focus on our flaws when we wake up every morning without make-up and see everything that needs work. It's also hard to ignore the constant pressure that women feel to look thin and beautiful like all those magazine covers that stare at us while we lay a weeks worth of food on the check out counter at the grocery store. We live in a society that is absolutely obsessed with beauty. So we get caught up in that obsession and we compare.

If I could go back to high school and do it over again, I wouldn't have wasted so much time wishing I was someone else. I'd go back confident in who I am. I'd remind myself every day of the abilities that God gave me and be thankful for them. I'd spend time improving my talents and being the best I can be instead of wishing for the abilities of others. And I would focus on all the physical characteristics that I like about myself. I'd take a compliment well and not try to shake it off as if I don't deserve it. I would love all the great things about me...my sense of humor, my smile, my brown eyes, my artistic talent, my creativity, and my sense of caring.

As I was writing that list of good qualities above, I almost felt uncomfortable. Why do we feel so uncomfortable in complimenting ourselves and talking about our good qualities yet we find it so easy to think about and talk about our flaws? God wants us to focus on the good, admirable qualities in ourselves and others. But we can't do it when we spend so much time comparing and wishing for things we don't have.

Comparison is just a waste of time. All it does is make us miserable. We need to trust the God who created us and believe He knew what He was doing in making us just as we are. We need to stop buying into the world's view of what is beautiful and what isn't. I think I would have accomplished so much more in high school if I had believed in myself and really liked who I was. I discovered my senior year that while I was longing to be like Kerri, other girls were admiring my good qualities. The things they wrote in my yearbook confirmed it. It wasn't until after high school that I realized what I had going for me. But I wasted my high school years feeling insecure and wishing I was someone else.

Perhaps the greatest gift a woman can give herself is the self-love and freedom to be who she is and never compare herself to anyone. There will always be someone prettier, smarter, or more talented, but there will never be anyone more perfectly suited to be you.

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