Copycat: 1. One that closely imitates or mimics the words, behaviours or actions of another.
I have to be honest, I always compare myself with others. It doesn’t matter whether it’s as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a pastor, a writer, a scrapbooker, a nurse or a runner…you name it, I examine myself and compare myself with others.
She’s a faster runner. She’s smaller and thinner than me. She’s prettier. She writes better. She has more friends. She has a bigger house. She drives a nicer car. She’s better at making people feel welcome in her home. She’s a better cook. She’s a more devoted wife. She’s smarter. She’s a better nurse. She prays more. She has a better sense of style. She knows her Bible better. She’s more available and ‘there’ for her children. She has a better relationship with her mother. She has nicer clothes. She’s more creative. She sings better.
She’s more Godly…
No matter how many accolades or high distinctions or trophies or thanks or cards or words of encouragement I receive, I always seem to feel somehow ‘less’ than others. Inadequate. Inferior. Not as good. It’s like a voice in my head says “what’s wrong with me?”
So I sometimes become a copycat and I mimic the words, actions and behaviours of other people around me, rather than just being ME.
I’m not a copycat all the time, but as I’m just being really honest and transparent here, I’m saying that even though I’m secure in my relationship with God, I still have lingering feelings of insecurity and every now and then something happens to cause me to forget who I know I am and compare myself to someone else.
I’ve recently stepped up and gotten involved in ministry and leadership again and the insecurities have reared their ugly head and I find I’ve been comparing myself to others again. Will I be able to lead people? Will I pray enough? Will I study the Bible enough? Will I encourage people? Will I be able to be positive and uplifting and welcoming? Will I be successful?
And the tune continues to play in my head. I’m not as good as ‘them’. “What’s wrong with me?”
Just last week, my new friend Melissa Taylor (www.melissataylor.org) posted a blog about parenting. She listed her “Top 10 Ways to Connect with your Children”. And what was the first thing I did as I read this list? I compared myself to her.
- Ignore your phone when you are with them. FAIL
- Show up for special days and events. FAIL
- Play board games with them or just hang out. FAIL
- Spend one-on-one time with them. PASS (just)
- Do family devotions. FAIL
- Spend time with them at bedtime when they are a captive audience. FAIL
- Eat family meals together. PASS
- Get interested in what they love. PASS (just)
- Talk to them about anything (and listen too). PASS/FAIL
- Be available. FAIL
So…did I pass? In my eyes, NO! I failed. I failed because I didn’t get 100%. I failed because I didn’t text my kids daily scripture verses of encouragement on their phones like Melissa does. I failed because I don’t go to every sporting game/event/practice. I failed because I hate Monopoly (or any board games for that matter). I failed because I’ve never done a family devotion and my eldest child is almost 18! What on earth have I been doing all these years?
I’m not as good as them. What’s wrong with me?
The Bible tells me not to compare myself with others.
“Carefully scrutinize and pay attention to your own work or conduct and examine your own actions. Then you can take pride and personal satisfaction in your own accomplishments. You will get the satisfaction and joy of a job ‘well done’ and of doing something commendable without needing to compare yourself with anyone else.” Galatians 6:4
I love how the Message translation puts it: “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”
In other words: Work out who you are and what you’re supposed to be doing and just get on with it. Take responsibility for your own actions and stop comparing yourself to others.
One of the biggest dangers of comparing myself with others is that it leads to jealousy. And that’s a whole new blog post!
Therefore my challenge is to concentrate on becoming who God created me to be instead of who I think I ought to be, (or who I think someone else wants me to be) then I’ll be able to experience a true sense of peace and security that will enable me to resist comparing myself to what others around me are doing. I am unique! And God has made me this way.
Romans 12:6 says: “God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well…so let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.”
[Just for the record, I think Melissa’s ideas of ways to connect with your children are brilliant! But you don’t have to do all ten overnight! Even if you put into action just one of her suggestions, you’d be doing a great thing for yourself, your kids and your family. Just sayin’! And if you check out Melissa’s blog, you’ll find that not only does she have some great suggestions for being a Godly woman, she runs an amazing Online Bible Study that I have recently become part of and encourage you to check out. Here’s the link: http://melissataylor.org/and-more/]