I want to be interesting. Sure, I want other people to find me interesting, but I’m also learning this as I get older and more comfortable with this body and mind I have been given: I want to be interesting to myself.
And here’s the thing: It’s hard for any of us to do that when we chase around the dangerous words Not Enough and If Only. Not smart enough. Not talented enough. Not tall enough. Not small enough. Not disciplined enough. Not pretty enough. If only I had more education. More opportunity. More money. A better start to life. A husband. Someone to help me. Or (fill in the blank).
When I focus on what I can’t do and who I’m not, I only reach one dead end after another. Dead ends aren’t interesting. Possibilities and fresh starts and new beginnings are interesting. As it turns out, I’m full of those. So are you.
There’s a clever cliche that says when women go to a party, we’re not dressing for the man we’re with, but for all the other women in the room. How dangerous this is—and nobody really wins. The problem is that we’ll always find one who looks better. That’s true in every circle of comparison: when you’re comparing, you’ll always find one who is more—more creative, more successful, more courageous than you are.
But you’ll also be looking for one who is less than so you can feel good about who you are. That’s also a dangerous place to be, especially because we never know the story of the woman we judge ourselves to be better than. We don’t know what God has asked of her. We rob ourselves of immeasurable joy when we compare our lives with the people around us because we simply don’t have all the information.
Comparison is just a friendlier word (though not much friendlier) for judging, and judging is never our job. Our job is to figure out if someone needs something that we can offer. We are called to lift the fallen, to restore the broken, and to heal the hurting. That’s a pretty intense calling, and it leaves little room for keeping an eye on the bar graph of who’s winning.
The biggest mistake you and I can make is to stare at what we don’t have instead of taking inventory of what we do have. We serve a God who does really great, miraculous things with the everyday stuff we put in front of him. Let’s not forget: God served five thousand people with five loaves and two fish. Don’t you think it had to be so fun to be God’s disciple that day? Can you imagine the joy and the contagious laughter, as he brought out more and more food? More, more, more! That’s God’s economy—we think this is all there is, but he’s just getting started. He did so in a miracle with food that day, and perhaps in a miracle of life circumstances or opportunities today. The loaves and fishes were a seemingly small thing that an ordinary person gave to Jesus, but he multiplied it into something extraordinary. If he can make something out of the unseen, which is what Hebrews tells us, then surely he can do great things with what we set before him.
Confidence is about doing the best we can with what have to work with, knowing that God will multiply this into something extraordinary for his purpose. It’s not about comparing or competing. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and I would add that it is also the thief of confidence—it only breeds insecurity. Beth Moore said, “If pride is the graveyard for good leaders, then insecurity is the psych ward.” Comparisons make us lose sight of what is real. I don’t want to speak for you, but I know myself—and when comparisons are winning the conversation, I start to lose my ever-loving mind. Comparing and competing put me at odds with what God is doing, the gifts he has given me, and the things that are interesting about my life and my story.
Here’s the best plan of action: Avoid comparisons. Comparison puts you in a cycle of rejecting and refusing to acknowledge how God made you. Comparisons are not life-giving, and they’re not what God has for us. He wants us to take exactly what we have, believe it is enough, and open our hands to turn it into greatness. That’s all there is.
The thing is, you can choose today to be interesting. It’s actually that easy. You can choose to take your focus away from what you aren’t, from what you don’t have, from anything you wish you were. You can decide that you will no longer compare for the sake of feeling sorry for yourself. You can decide that you will be interested in the unique ways God made you and you alone. You can look at the skills, gifts, abilities—perhaps even the abundance of stuff that you have—and you can look for ways to give it away.
God won’t create what has already happened because he’s not a duplicator. He’s a creator. So he’s not going to help you become someone else. He wants to create you in his image and to make you more like him – not more like someone else. You have your life; she has her life. Live yours. Be who you are, not who you aren’t. It’s way more interesting.