I don’t often fall into the trap of comparison. But during the holidays, I found myself consumed by comparison, and it was overwhelming. I was disheartened, thinking I would never measure up in the eyes of a few people for whom I cared deeply. Scripting a narrative in my head about what they were probably thinking, I made assumptions based solely on my own insecurities. Doubting my own God-given gifts emptied my tank quickly. It was debilitating.
How then, could I replace this toxic narrative I had created with words that would be life-giving, words that would allow me to steward my gifts to bring others closer to Him?
I turned to the Bible, desperate to silence this self-imposed narrative, an identity I had shouldered for days. I allowed myself to detach from self-doubt and began replacing my embittered heart with the Word, accepting God’s gift of unconditional love and His grace for my imperfections. Instead of turning to the world for acceptance, I turned to God.
“But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” (James 3:14-17, NIV)
We find our narrative from Christ alone. James continues in his directive: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.” (James 4:7-8, NIV). Let us fill our thoughts with God’s love and steward our tongues to give life to those around us. God is ready to accept us where we are, as He designed us for our own specific purpose.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:8-11, NIV)
If you lack confidence, you can find it in Christ. If you lack conviction, it is in Him. If you are pained, feeling as if you do not measure up, pursue the word of God, where you will come to know His unconditional love, His continuous grace, and His forgiving acceptance. Do not allow your compass to be guided by earthly expectations, but by God’s directive for you alone.
The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all.” (John 3:31, NIV)
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:12, NIV)
Written by Ashley Bartley
Ashley Bartley is a wife, mom to three small boys, and an elementary school counselor in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. She writes @TendingWild on Instagram and blogs at www.ashleybartley.com, where she encourages women to create a habit of pause in every small, great, and wild moment.