by Joyce Parker
When I get in a room of other women that I don’t know very well, I’m not immediately uncomfortable. But then they start talking, and my insides start to squirm a little. This is what happened the last time I was at a women’s event.
But let me back up the story a little bit.
I am 30 years old. I have been a Christian for 15 of those years. Christ, in his kindness, has sanctified me past the superficial, first impression uncomfortableness that we ladies tend to get when we gather — you know, the check-out-if-your-shoes-clothes-hair-makeup-physique-exceed-or-fall-short-of-the-other-women-in-the-room routine.
God has graciously brought me to the understanding that he desires beauty on the inside (Proverbs 31:10; 1 Peter 3:3-4) and that my treasure is my Lord, not earthly possessions (Matthew 6:19-21).
But back to the room full of women. When the conversation starts, what do women like to talk about? Their kids, their homes, their hobbies, their husbands. This day was no different, and I immediately started to feel like anything I said would be stacked up, measured, and found lacking in light of the other ladies.
Don’t get me wrong; I was in a room of lovely Christian ladies who were being kind and just trying to build relationships. So why did I feel this way? Why do I struggle with this? Why do I, and so many women, kill ourselves with comparison?
After this last bout of comparison-itis, I tried to get to the root of the problem — my heart.
I know I struggle with wanting others to think well of me. I don’t necessarily want to make them feel bad about themselves, but I want to be praised. I want the attention and applause. And during these conversational quests for the limelight, I sometimes struggle to be interested in what other people are saying.
Some of my anxiousness, also known as “the squirmies”, comes from impatiently anticipating when the other person will STOP talking so that I can be heard.
I am preoccupied with wanting others to listen to me, but don’t always care about what they have to say. This is easy not to notice about me. I am shy, kind of quiet, and can sometimes even be a good listener.
But the sin of idolatry is in my heart, and I secretly want to be on the throne in my life AND in the lives of others.
I am more concerned about MY fame increasing than God’s fame.
I want to be made much of and to be seen as great, instead of pointing people to the greatness of God.
I want laud, and honor, and preeminence.
Now that I know the heart issue, what about the solution? To find it, I went to the Scriptures, and the Holy Spirit graciously reminded me of these verses in Colossians 1:15-20:
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things were created through him and for him.
“And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
“For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”
When I start to think of myself as great or desire my own fame, I need to ask myself a few questions:
Am I able to create the universe and everything in it with my words?
Have I existed before all of creation began?
Were all things created FOR me, or am I just a blade of grass, graciously allowed to enjoy the sun shining down on me during my short life?
Am I able to resurrect myself from the dead, or do I need a perfect Savior, who overcame death and the grave to be the only acceptable sacrifice for my sins before the Father, making me alive with Him?
Was the fullness of God pleased to dwell in me?
Or am I able to reconcile all the things in this sinful and broken world to the Father through myself?
The answers are in the text! If ever there is a time that I desire to be lifted high, I need to read these verses and ask God to bring me low!
We will get a right perspective on our position if we meditate on the preeminence of Christ!
When I start to compare myself to other people, I need to recognize that the only person I should compare myself to is Christ. When I clearly do not measure up, I need to thank Him that He died for me even when I was a sinner, all for HIS fame; that His name would be made much of, not mine.
I also need to realize that because Christ redeemed me from sin and the grave, now I am a beloved child of God and precious in His sight. What does it matter if I do not measure up to others, because “the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but The Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
When God looks at my heart, He now sees one of perfect righteousness, imputed to me by grace through faith in His Son.
If I dwell on the greatness of the God who would sacrifice His one and only Son to purchase my soul, then it will not matter if I get to be heard, or look good in front of others.
It will only matter if I make much of Him and spread the greatness of His name to everyone around me.