by Carmie Sanchez
I was reading through a new favorite blog when my eyes came across something that caused the all-too-familiar feelings of inadequacy to well up inside of me. I think you know the feeling I’m talking about. It’s been labeled the “Comparison Syndrome” and for good reason. We have the ability to peek into so many different people’s lives through blogs and social media and those little squares can sure be intimidating. This time though, I began to understand something that has changed my perspective on my position in life as well as other people’s position.
The blogger, a homeschooling mom of four, was talking about her morning quiet time routine. How she rises early before her children wake up, prepares a cup of coffee, lights a candle and spends time in God’s word. It was a lovely mental image, but that was quickly marred by my comparison thoughts. “What is wrong with me that I can’t do that too? Why can’t I get my act together??” is what literally went through my mind. I was already labeling myself as not measuring up, not being good enough. Upon further reading however, the blogger revealed the truth about her morning quiet time routine. She clearly stated that she didn’t always have such a peaceful morning routine. When her children were babies and many nights were spent getting up multiple times for feedings, etc., she did not have the ability to rise early. Because of late night feedings, her mornings started much later than they do now.
That is when I began to understand one very fundamental truth wrapped up in one very simple word: seasons. It very slowly began to dawn on me that I am in a completely different season of life from this woman. My children are significantly younger than the blogger’s children. At one time, she was in the middle of baby/toddler years where mornings look a little less like reading the Bible by candlelight and a little more like pouring milk over cold cereal to the chorus of hungry children begging to be fed. And not just this lady, but so many, many mothers that I see on social media or know in real life who are absolutely winning at this whole mom thing and leaving me feeling a little like a wet rag in comparison.
Just like the literal four seasons in a year, things come and go in our lives. There is no need to fight it or be bitter about where we are or even to compare ourselves with others.
The truth is, they are all in a different season than me. And guess what? That’s OKAY. I am in a different season of life than I was when I first got married. Five years from now, I will be in a different season than I am right now. Even the Bible talks about seasons of life in Ecclesiastes 13. As we journey on this earth, our circumstances are going to change. Just like the literal four seasons in a year, things come and go in our lives. There is no need to fight it or be bitter about where we are or even to compare ourselves with others. Instead, we can find joy and contentment in our current season and we can have hope that one day we’ll be in a new season with new and different things to experience, albeit with hardships because all seasons bring something that is difficult to work through.
When I feel those old familiar feelings of comparison coming over me, I have to remind myself to take a closer look at the other person’s circumstances. What differences are there between their situation and mine? Do they have children older than mine? Do they even have children? Where do they live? What family priorities do they have that differ from mine? That woman on Instagram who has a perfectly decorated house that is always tidy and a beautifully curated wardrobe? Maybe she only has one child or maybe her children are 5 and 8 and go to school which means, he-llo she actually has time to curate her life. Taking these things into consideration can ease the feelings of discontentment that come with the “Comparison Syndrome”. When I realize that someone is not even on the same playing field as me, I feel less like I HAVE to do more in order to be more capable and more like I can walk freely in the knowledge that I am right where God wants me to be at this very moment even if it’s not always perfect.