I was to be the speaker at a conference in a city where I had been before. Much hard work was put into the conference, and anticipation was building. As I spent time with God and in study, I was excited about what He was showing me in His Word.
There was a woman who heard about the conference and was gung-ho to attend. She started talking it up with others, saying she had heard me teach before and “people would love it.” Her anticipation fed my excitement.
Later, after seeing my picture, the woman realized that I was not the woman she had remembered, so she was no longer interested in coming. That took the wind out of my sails a bit!
She made it known who she thought would be speaking, and it was a speaker with whom I was somewhat familiar. As I thought about the other speaker, I began to talk to myself. “She’s a better speaker than I am. She’s slimmer than I am. What do I have to say that anyone would want to hear? Why would anyone want to pay money to attend a conference just to listen to me? My gift is not good enough for me to travel across the nation?” Negative thoughts assaulted my mind.
I had a flare-up of a disease called “comparisonitis.”
Comparisonitis can be a chronic, debilitating disease. It goes into remission when we’re happy, when we’re stroked by others or all is going well, but all too often, the moment something doesn’t go the way we want it too, it flares up.
I remember going to God and telling Him why I couldn’t continue. Surely He had missed it when He called me, or maybe I even missed what I heard. As I wiped my tears and quieted myself before Him, it was almost as if He spoke audibly. “You are fearfully and wonderfully made. YOU – Barbara – YOU.” God did not try to convince me. He did not argue it with me. He just stated His truth and His opinion.
The Bible has quite a bit to say about being happy with who God made us to be. One of the most freeing verses that I have found is, “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.” – Galatians 6:4. That verse just shouts, “FREEDOM.” This tells me that all God wants and asks is that I give my personal best to whatever He has called me to do. I can be secure and satisfied knowing that God is pleased with me, and I don’t need to compare myself with anyone else. That is THE truth.
Do flare-ups of comparisonitis try to find their way into my life? Yes. What’s the best thing to do for it? Be me! If you feel yourself coming down with this disease, what’s the best thing you can do for it? Be you!