Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Compare Snare

The Compare Snare

I looked a mess – wearing a gray hoodie, jeans, & a sloppy ponytail + a sniffling red nose {thank you allergies/cold ick} – when I saw her. She had been my 7th grade teacher & the mom of my best friend from middle/high school. I hadn’t seen or heard from my back-in-the-day bestie for forever, & here was her mom strolling through Walmart looking teacherly chic… Did I mention I was wearing a hoodie? There was nowhere to hide; we made eye contact & somehow I found myself pushing my cart over & saying hello.

We chatted. I asked about my friend. She’s moved to our state’s capital & has some government job that sounds super snazzy & complicated. My old teacher asks about my marital status. My friend isn’t married either, but has a beau that moved just so he could be near her. I stood there listening & sniffling intermittently, eventually forced to pull out a ragged tissue on its last leg to aid my relief. I left with my old friend’s phone number in tow & a feeling of dissatisfaction & envy brewing in my chest {Or was that the onslaught of pneumonia?}.

I sat in my car with the blue & white plastic bags piled beside me, & in the quiet aloneness wondered what was wrong with me that I had never invoked such a stirring in a guy that he packed all his belongings & traveled anywhere just to be with me. I had yet to even arise enough enthusiasm to get a good man to ask me out. And, oh how thankful I am that my teacher didn’t ask about my work situation! I had fallen deep into the compare snare pit!

Some days that snare of comparison is so wide {or so well hidden in good intentions that go askew}, that it’s hard not to fall into the trap. When Satan plants the pitfall of dissatisfaction {i.e.: the compare snare} & we take the bait, our trust that our heavenly Father God knows our needs & desires & is seeking our greater – no, best good is all but forgotten. The evil one wants to destroy our knowledge of the truth: that God is trustworthy & for us & working in our personal story that may not seem as glamorous or “perfect” as the next person’s, but is the one that He has given us for a purpose – His purpose… &, as certain as God is the author of mankind, we will all experience chapters of mountaintop & valley seasons – good & bad.

I drove home, knowing full well that I had fallen headlong into the compare snare & it was time to make the painful climb out & into the light of the Truth. God is working in my story. If I surrender the pen {i.e.: past, present, & future outcomes of my story – not evaluating my own next to anyone else’s} to His hand through prayer, reading His Word, & seeking His will, then my story will be sweet & speak of His redemption, power, mercy, & grace… that doesn’t mean it will be easy or full of fairy tale-ish escapades where knights pack up their chainmail, hitch up the dragon, & cross kingdoms just to dwell in my neck of the enchanted {or not-so-enchanted} forest.

Our stories are not the same, though we often find kindred spirits who have lived some of our chapters {in their own way}, as well. I think God speaks of this in 2 Corinthians 1:4 (NLT), “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” Yes, even in the troubled painful passages of our stories, God can work to show His peace & strength as we comfort others as we have been comforted, & thus share the love of our trustworthy Lord with others. This brings to mind Romans 12:15 (NIV), “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” I’ve heard it said that it is easier to weep together than to be happy with the happy. At first this made me think, “no way,” but as I pondered it I saw the truth, as I recounted the compare snare moments that had come after hearing another’s good fortune, like with my friend.

So, as I type this up, my friend’s number lies somewhere in the bottom of my purse, undialed. It’s time to call her up & rejoice with her on where she is in her story & to tell her about mine. I’m holding to the fact that I have a trustworthy, all knowing Author God, who is working on my future chapters even now & I am trusting it will be for His, not my, glory & that will be the sweetest story I can imagine.


P.S.: I’ll put up a “tweet” after I call her to let you know how it went!


  1. Thanks for posting! What an encouraging post - Exactly what I needed!

  2. bess - what a vulnerable and REAL post. i loved it.
    thank you so much for sharing your thoughts/emotions/experience. i mean I RELATE!
    the compare i fall into it all the time, and your'e right it is a painful (but necessary) journey to get out of it. and man oh man it is always so much easier to weep with someone than rejoice in their joys (especially if your joys are "few" at the moment). but our attitudes need to change!
    Great GREAT post!

    ps i went to respond to your lovely comment(s) and realized you're a no-reply blogger; which means i can't respond to your comments via email! :( :( :(
    google how to fix being a no-reply blogger and you'll finally start getting some responses!


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