I think this time of year brings out the best – and often the worst in us. As I read this wonderfully written blog post by our dear friend and regular contributor, Joanne Kraft, I was reminded of how often I fall into the trap of comparison. I’m guilty of comparing my abilities and worth in every way, shape and form to those of women who seem far more educated, talented, and gifted than I am. And why is it that during the Holiday Season, we think every other woman is a better baker, cook, tree trimmer, gift buyer, wrapper, and hostess? And they manage to do it all while still looking beautiful, calm and joyful! Joanne’s post is a great reminder that, no matter where we may fall on the ladder of education, wealth, success or notoriety, we are all women just striving to be the best we can be. We each have unique gifts and talents and God wants us to use those abilities wherever we are in life.
Read and be blessed.
By Joanne Kraft
Last year, a local assemblywoman’s “people” contacted me to teach a workshop at her first ever Northern California Women’s Conference. As you can imagine, I was thrilled. How could I say no to that?
Former California First Lady, Maria Shriver, began the Southern California Women’s conference quite a few years ago with incredible results. She draws such big name talent as Oprah, Suze Ormon, and former first lady Laura Bush. But, let’s be honest, Maria Shriver could bring Mother Teresa back from the dead to teach a workshop or two at her conference.
It was an honor to be asked to be a part of the first ever Northern California Conference. I went along with the assemblywoman to a radio interview and heard her on TV share that I would be at the conference. I was looking forward to encouraging women at the event.
While preparing, I made a point to check and see who else would be teaching workshops—big mistake. When I discovered some of the local talent included women who attended every Ivy League campus known to man, I was ready to back out.
As I continued to read their bios I wanted to throw up. One gal had been appointed by President Clinton to do something very important, another was chief of staff to Maria Shriver, and another began a grass roots campaign to fight drugs—creating a national documentary for PBS.
Yeah, I was ready to back out.
The morning of the conference I felt sick. My workshop wasn’t about building business models or entrepreneurship; it was about being a mom. I titled it “Burden to Blessing” and felt kind of silly when I compared it to the other New York Times-worthy classes assembled around our table for breakfast.
You know what happened? Many of these “ivy-league” women ended up sitting in my workshop—including Maria Shriver’s chief of staff. I was humbled and a little speechless when she came to my table afterwards to purchase my book.
It was a great reminder that God doesn’t want me to weigh myself against others. Here are a few sabotaging factors you shoud take into account when you decide to play the comparison game.
• Focus. Where’s yours? As soon as you put your eyes on a Cornell degree, a flat tummy, or a Coach bag, you’ve taken your focus off of Jesus and put them on the world. Don’t do it.
• Fairytale. Our minds are notorious for making up stories. We create fantasy where reality should be. People are people. Each one of us was created by Him and for Him. No one of us is “better.”
• Fear. It trips us up every time. Remind yourself of who you are in Christ. Faith demolishes fear, remember that.
Each one of us was created with gifts, and special talents that make us unique. My gifts don’t include lots of degrees but they do include making a mean enchilada casserole and encouraging women.
Stop looking at someone else’s talents and achievements and feeling “less than.”
You are the daughter of the one true and living God. Don’t let comparison sabotage His plans for your life.
He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and if He has asked you to do something, you need to keep your focus on Him and do it.
For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. Colossians 1:16
Have you ever been caught in the trap of comparing yourself to others? What usually triggers that for you? Why do you think its hard for us, as women, to accept and embrace who we are or where we are in life? How do you find your way out of the trap?
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Joanne Kraft is a mom of four and the author of Just Too Busy—Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical and her upcoming book The Mean Mom’s Guide to Raising Great Kids. She and her husband, Paul, recently moved their family from California to Tennessee and happily traded soy milk and arugula for sweet tea and biscuits. Gather At The Well is blessed to have her as a regular contributor. You can connect with Joanne on her website here: http://joannekraft.com/