"Oh, you finished your scrapbook for your family vacation? Wow! I'd love to see it!" (And maybe in the next 20 years I'll finish my firstborn's baby album. Don't remind me that I have another child's waiting. We're talking about expanding our family. Maybe we should wait until I've finished the first two's scrapbooks first...)
"Yum! This is delicious! It's all from scratch you said? I've got to have the recipe!" (So I can stick it in my cookbook and never even consider making it because break and bake cookies taste pretty good too and they're not hard. Man, I'm pathetic!)
I loved Jen's post a few weeks back about the Comparison Game that we women seem to play. It struck a chord with me. We look at those around us to gauge how well we're doing. Sometimes it fosters pride because we think we're doing pretty well. Other times it fosters a feeling of total defeat because we're 100% positive that we'll never be THAT awesome.
I'm also keenly aware, that despite our best efforts to be real, our blog could make people feel a bit like "underachievers." This makes me sad, because it is SO not our goal, but anytime you read a post with pictures of happy kids doing creative things and throwing in that punch line about God when you're having the worst. day. ever, it's hard not to compare. How do I know? Because I've totally been there. With our blog (when Jen has written up some awesome post) or from other great sites out there. Sometimes it's just because I'm having a bad day and then other times it makes me feel awful because it points out a genuine weakness of mine. It's hard for me to swallow the fact that I can't be awesome at everything.
We each have our strengths and when we look at someone else and think we should have their strengths too, it sets us all up for failure. In the spirit of keeping it real, here are some fun facts for you:
1. I try to keep my house pretty clean, but the truth is, I usually just focus on the 3 rooms people see most: kitchen, living room and hall bathroom. Rings sometimes grow in the toilet in Matt and my's room. Oh! You don't know what toilet rings are?!? That's when you go so long without cleaning it that some sort of fungal, mold type nastiness begins to grow in a circle right at the water line. It's actually scientifically fascinating.
2. I'm not sentimental. And this one makes me feel like a failure on a regular basis. I can't tell you when my kids took their first steps. I don't know when they said their first words. I can't even tell you what Silas' first word was. And he's my 2nd born who's only been speaking for a few months.... I don't scrapbook, though I've tried. I regularly forget my camera to important events and this blog is about the only proof that I have children. I don't keep journals. I have strands of their first haircuts that float from drawer to drawer. I feel morally obligated to keep those little baggies of labeled chunks of baby hair, otherwise they'd have been in the trash long ago.
3. I hate cooking. I do cook because we have to eat and it's cheaper than eating out. We're frugal like that, but it's far from gourmet. We're talking bake some chicken, add StoveTop Stuffing or instant mashed potatoes and a can of green beans and we're set. Or maybe boil some noodles, add a can of spaghetti sauce... and a can of green beans. (My husband has informed me on multiple occasions that green beans don't go with spaghetti, but we have to have some kind of vegetable and I don't always have stuff for salad...) If it takes me more than 15 minutes to put together, it's a fancy meal and I make sure to make enough for leftovers. Then we eat it again the next night. And, maybe, if they're REALLY unlucky, for lunch again the following day.
4. I'm a procrastinator with a capital "P." In every area of life, but I'll using blogging as an example. I plan activities with my kids to help teach them the Bible in a fun way. But sometimes I feel very rushed and stressed out by it because I scheduled myself to post and didn't get my act together in time to pull it off without saying something amazing like, "I don't care if you don't want to do this, I need a picture of you doing it for the blog, so get busy!" (Okay, so maybe I've never actually said THAT, but my motivation has sometimes been less than awesome in trying to get an activity completed in time to post about it... That's my love/hate relationship with blogging about what we do. I'm much more consistent with being intentional and it really helps hold me accountable in a lot of areas, but when life happens and I get behind, it can be a bit of a stress.)
5. I don't always practice what I preach. Ouch. That hurt to even type. I often share lessons that the Lord is teaching me on here, but it is not uncommon for me to lose perspective of that lesson shortly after I learn it. Sometimes even on the day I post it. I'm not lying when I post that things like impatience, yelling, eye-rolling, self-centeredness, prayerlessness and on and on and on are struggles for me. So in case you imagine a serene home that's always filled with gentle words and laughing children, I assure you that it's not always that way. (Depending on the day/week, sometimes it's NEVER that way! ;) It's not uncommon for me to read one of my old posts and feel conviction all over again. Most of my parenting doesn't live up to the standard. That's why I'm ever grateful for the Cross and the grace found there... 'cause I definitely need it.
So, there's a peek into a bit of the non-super-powered-ness that is Desiré. That's all I'm willing to share. It can and does get more embarrassing than all of the above, if you can believe that. I share that with you, not so you can now compare yourself to me and think, "Good! At least I'm doing better than her!" I share so that we're all reminded of the futility of comparing ourselves to others. Just because your toilet doesn't have rings doesn't mean you're an awesome housekeeper. It most definitely means that I am not, but I am not the standard by which things should be measured. Because I do crafty Bible stuff with my kids doesn't mean I'm doing a better job of teaching my kids about Jesus. Again, I am not the standard.
The standard for all of us is a much higher. And the bad news is we're ALL failures compared to that standard. But the good news is that's not the final verdict if we're His. He chooses to overlook that failure and see a righteous child.
I love Scotty Smith's prayer to the Father concerning this:
Indeed, there are no ordinary people or unnecessary people in the body of Christ. There are no big people or little people in your family. We're all the right size. Not one of us is more justified than the other or more precious in your sight...Father, one day we will gather as your completed family in the New Jerusalem as sons and daughters from every race, tribe, language, and people group, eternally diverse and perfectly united. As we will love then, enable us to love in small yet observable ways now --one family, many children, all to your glory... (excerpt from Everyday Prayers, emphasis mine)
Makes my comparisons seem pretty foolish.
So, if I find myself coming to this blog (or another blog or anywhere for that matter) feeling like a defeated failure, I can take heart! Not one of us is more justified than the other or more precious in the sight of her Father. We can't be more saved from our sins than we are. When I find myself struggling to not give myself a pat on the back and fighting the urge to take pride in my "accomplishments", I need to remember: We're all equally righteous before him. The underachiever, the overachievers, the ones who look like they have it all together and the ones who don't. If we're His, comparison is pretty silly and ugly in light of this.
So I pray that this site will be a place where you come and are encouraged. Challenged, yes, but not defeated. And that we will build one another up rather than compare ourselves to one another.
To God be the glory.
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