Comparison robs us of joy.
It’s true, it really does, and it almost got the best of me the other night.
I’d like to blame it on the vinaigrette.
On Thursday night, Elizabeth and I had dinner with some very lovely ladies. Six of us sat around a table and enjoyed hearty bowls of chili served with cheese and onions, fresh-baked corn bread with butter, spinach salad with homemade vinaigrette.
It wasn’t just any vinaigrette. It was one that Bronwen created by hand, using very few, simple ingredients she had just lying around the house –a pour of olive oil, a generous squeeze of fresh lemon and some salt and pepper. It was so delicious that I could have devoured the whole salad, and almost did.
I thought about that vinaigrette on the drive home, and I also thought about myself, if only I knew how to make something like that.
As we drove up to our house, I looked at Elizabeth and said, “You know what, I want to practice making vinaigrettes. The one Bronwen made tonight was amazing and I want to make a good vinaigrette just like that.”
I think Elizabeth knew that there was something going on for me, I mean she is one of my best friends. She replied, “But Linds, you already do make really good vinaigrettes.” It’s as if she were saying, “What are you talking about Linds? You’re crazy. You already do”.
She knew my declaration sprung from a place of comparison. I was not desiring to learn simply because I was intrigued to learn, but I was desiring to learn because of how insecure I felt about myself.
As I compared myself to others, I began to doubt myself, my abilities and to believe that I’ve never made anything good (and we all know, that’s just not true!).
I started to feel the delight I take in cooking, baking and creating things, and in my personal ability to do so, slip away. I was sinking into a slight despair.
You see, God created each one of us unique.
When we embrace who He’s created us to be and we risk offering that to the world, its truly glorious. We are living fully alive. When we accept ourselves and delight in who He’s made us to be, it brings freedom and joy.
When we measure ourselves against others, and begin to critique and judge ourselves, it brings nothing good. We begin to doubt, fear and can be drawn to despair and hopelessness. It leaves us wishing and wanting to be somebody other than ourselves.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want that. I want to accept me, believe in me and live me courageously.
My new declaration is that I want to make a vinaigrette the way I make it, and enjoy it, and I also want to learn from others simply because they have a lot to offer me, and the world as well.