The last thing I remember from the dream is my husband spitting in my face. My eyes popped open, but the message was crystal clear... I knew what I had to do and more importantly, what I must stop doing.
If she gained a few pounds, I secretly rejoiced because somehow I was winning the weight battle. If her hair and skin looked perfect in every photo, I secretly hated myself because, obviously, I was losing the beauty battle. If her trendy wardrobe put my mom jeans to shame, I went shopping to level the playing field.
This is how the secret comparison war works when the enemy is online and doesn't even know you.
And friends, this is just plain wrong. Let's call it what it is.
The comparison trap did steal my joy, and I have fought it within my own power for years. Comparison becomes an addiction -- the high you feel from winning, the low you feel from losing, and the frustration that it just won't go away.
I am embarrassed to even admit that. A Christian blogger who wants to encourage others with words but tears down her own spirit with her own words?
The comparison trap is powerful, sweet friend. Anyone can get sucked in at any time for any reason. But getting out of it? Well, that's a whole different story.
I'm here to tell you that you can be free. I found the key to unlocking the comparison trap.
After struggling for so long with comparing myself, I became so frustrated that I couldn't stop. I prayed, like I had many times before, that God would help me to stop comparing myself. I even debated shutting down my social media accounts and even my blog. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I silently prayed in bed, staring up at the ceiling and just wanting to be free of this terrible habit.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus....
I just remember saying those words before sleep came.
I don't dream very often, but when I do, it's crystal clear. The dream I had that night was literally life-changing. I dreamed I was in a large, crowded room and that I was surrounded by people I did not know. I saw a special friend and waved at her, so relieved to find her in the crowd.
"I don't want to see you. I don't want to speak to you. Get away from me, now.", she said.
I was so confused and hurt as she walked off. What in the world was she upset about? We are great friends and the whole interaction was very frustrating and upsetting.
I wondered around in the crowd, being bumped along, until I saw my husband. So happy to see him, I ran toward him to tell him about what had happened. He is the most loving, patient husband in the world, and I just needed him to shelter and comfort me.
Then it happened. He started spitting in my face and saying that he has never loved me. It was as if I could physically feel the spit hitting my face. I cried and just stood frozen, looking directly into his eyes as he spit and everyone else laughed...
Then, I woke up and got the message.
I don't know if it was God speaking to me. It certainly wasn't an audible voice, but the message I heard in my heart was loud and clear. It was the message that unlocked the comparison trap.
"Now what?" my heart heard. "What if everyone forsakes you? What if all those you love suddenly hate you? Who are you then? Your identity is Christ Jesus. You compare because you are afraid of being rejected. What if you are rejected? That doesn't change who you are inside. Even if everyone else leaves you, God will never reject you."
And then, I had this overwhelming feeling of comfort and peace. Not through my own power, but through the power of Christ, I was able to escape the comparison trap. I no longer feel jealously, discontent, envy, and fear of rejection. I feel powerful, bold, peace, and satisfaction of who I am only in Christ.
Even if the whole world finds me "less than" enough and rejects me, God will never leave me or reject me.
And that, sweet friends, is enough.
I share this very personal post in hopes that it will somehow help you if you struggle with this as well. I am ashamed to even admit that comparing myself to others went as long or as far as it did, but that's the truth of this issue. I pray that you will be able to experience freedom from it as well by knowing your identity is Christ Jesus. He will never leave you. You don't need to measure up to any other standard.
Eyes on Him...
Melanie is a wife and mom who loves to belly-laugh and savor each moment of this precious life. She writes at "Only a Breath" to encourage others and share the hope of God's unfailing love....
You can find her on Facebook.