“Did you say you run?” The disdain in the woman’s question hung thick over the group. All eyes turned on me as my face turned red in the summer heat.
“I’m training for my first 5K along with my preteen son. We’re having a good time together jogging in the morning, and I feel like I’m getting stronger through the process.” I hoped my answer sounded more confident than I felt.
The woman took a long moment to look me up and down while I squirmed in my Target jeans and t-shirt. She raised an eyebrow silently, then turned her back to me and resumed conversation with our mutual friend. My friend beside me patted my arm. “I admire you for doing that. I don’t think I could get in shape for a race.” We changed the topic to motherhood and coffee before I gratefully excused myself to carry my wide rear end back to the minivan and cry myself home.
Why did the sneers of Fit-and-Trim Mommy bother me? Why did I care that my pants size was obviously double-digits above hers? “It’s all about being healthy for my family,” I repeated like a mantra until I gained control over my emotions, if not my waistline. Deciding to blame the pants, I took them off and gave them away. That did make me feel a little better.
It’s easy to feel insecure today. Reality TV and celebrity culture bombard us with shiny, touched-up images of what beautiful oily bodies should look like (even if they never do). Social media tempts us to believe highlight reels make up the everyday lives of our neighbors and acquaintances (even if they are personally miserable). Even the Church has fallen victim, lifting up celebrity Christians with picture-perfect lives and adoring multitudes as the epitome of how we show we are blessed.
We can hardly help comparing ourselves. I don’t look like that. My clothes don’t look like hers. My children don’t win awards hers do. My husband doesn’t give me those gifts. My job, my house, my life is nothing in comparison. Then it’s just a hope-skip-and-a-jump to believing I’m so less-than.
So even when we know that “comparing ourselves among ourselves is not wise,” (2 Cor. 10:12), the temptation easily trips us up. And that unhealthy comparison leads to new sins if we aren’t careful.
Are You Doing These?
I know that I’ve fallen into this comparison trap when I see these particular sins in my life. When I become insecure in who God made me to be, when I forget to honor the image of Him in my life, when I take my eyes off the Creator Who loves me, then I find myself trying to fix things with these bad habits. If you have fallen into them, too, take a look at the cause:
When I’m insecure about how I look, I start to complain about my body – first to my own mind, then to my husband or friends. And that’s not the truth. The truth is not that I’m made of flubber and a scale number. The truth is that I’m a strong, capable woman that cares for my children, adores my husband, and praises God. Read more at comparedtowho.me.