The fluorescent lighting reflected off the glossy covers of the magazines like a beacon, beckoning my attention to the strategically placed magazine rack at the check out counter. The super sexy model on one cover smiled back at me as if she had been waiting to catch my gaze.
It didn't matter that parts of her shapely body was photo shopped to add curves and remove wrinkles, cellulite and stretch marks. All I saw was what the magazine wanted me to see....PERFECTION.
Her long legs reminded me shorts and swimsuits were only a few months away and my mind immediately went to the winter accumulated pounds that were wrapped around my own thighs and waistline.
Getting rid of that is going to take some work, I thought to myself.
Feeling a bit discouraged and rather inferior to "super sexy", I checked out my groceries and strolled to my car. Within those few seconds, not only had I played the comparison game, I had played and lost.
You see, although, we do not always intend to play this game, it happens to the best of us. Piloted by our own insecurities, we are often tempted to measure ourselves against the looks, accomplishments and popularity of those around us.
So dangerous is this game, it can cause us to gaze at others not only from a point of admiration but from a point of envy and even jealousy, the perfect recipe for discontentment.
Our own blessings become miniscule and our lack magnified. Comparison steals our hope, our joy and before long, our very purpose.
We can miss out on future blessings and the experience of trusting in our wonderful God as our focus becomes self-centred and, at times, destructive. So busy are we trying to keep up with the "competition" we end up pushing God off to the side lines, no longer trusting in His love and providence; no longer mindful of His grace.
Have you found yourself playing this seemingly unavoidable game?
In a world of Instagram and FB, we are constantly pressured to flaunt our perfect moments. We try to out do the postings before ours, all too often, hiding our mess from the world.
Everyone is giving the impression they have it all together because they think everyone else's life is perfect.
So often, we get to a place where we don't even know our own identity any more because the standards we are using as our measuring stick are many times fake.
For me, it was sitting in my car, mulling over my defeat when I was reminded of one of my favorite bible verses from Psalm 139:14
" I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."
Yes, I knew that full well but in a moment of weakness, I had let my guard down and I was viewing the world through my insecurities rather than through God's grace. So I had a few extra pounds, I knew what to do to get rid of it. Then after the hard work I could celebrate my accomplishment.
With help of Holy Spirit, I needed to be reminded again, as we all do, that not only am I God's creation but His opinion and view of me far exceeds the size of my waistline. We are all uniquely wired with our own set of gifting to serve a particular purpose...His purpose.
You see, no matter how we look at it, there will always be someone younger, prettier, thinner or more artistic than us. So let us stop comparing our self to others and start allowing God to use our uniqueness to accomplish his work. Let us learn to live comfortably in our own skin. Let us learn to live a life of gratitude to God, because in Christ, in whom our true identity lies, our real worth and value compares to none.