Deanna Bartalini has been trying to stop the comparison game for more years than she’d like to admit; God’s word helps to refocus.
I was having a bit of writer’s block as I pondered what to write about here in this space. I looked back in my files to the first August I wrote for Catholic Mom (in 2013). I had written about comparison. What did my younger, less gray-haired, not-a-nonna self have to say about comparison? I needed to know, as I was doing it – again, still – and making myself and possibly others, miserable.
It (comparison) serves no purpose and hurts me every time. It is not because I want to be better than others; rather, I just want to be as good as the people I think are doing really well. It is a struggle to believe that I am as good as others.
These days I am less likely to compare myself to others as to the self I thought I would be by now or the person I was in the past. My life has taken, as most people’s do, some interesting twists and turns. Some have been helpful, others hurtful; they have been my choice and not my choice at all. There have been constants – God, faith, family. And then the not so constant – careers, co-workers, friends, acquaintances.
When my reserves are low, I make poor choices, I am not patient, I find fault first with myself, then with others and then back to me. I can be relentless in my critical observations of how much I have done with no good outcome at all. I did well, but not anymore. I was wonderful, now I’m worthless.
I start to think and believe that there is no one who cares. That the constants I have in my life have gone on and left me. It is a truly horrible place to be when I am like this.
I stop when this happens. I go into myself and reach out to God. Because only He can help. His Word helps me re-focus and shift. I read Scripture, write, and sit in stillness. My prayer is one of meditating on Scripture.
Here are some passages that have reminded me of who I am in God’s eyes; it’s who you are too!
Luke 19:1-10 is the story of Zacchaeus. We are seen and known by God just as Jesus saw Zacchaeus.
John 8:2-11 is about the woman caught in adultery. The world often shames, condemns, and compares us. Jesus does not. He is love, mercy, forgives and redemption
2 Corinthians 1:18-22 tells us that we belong to God, a seal has been put upon us and we have been given the Spirit.
1 Timothy 1:12-17 reminds us that while we may have sinned, we have been given abundant grace and mercy to overcome sin and love out the call God has placed on our life.
If you read the passages, you will probably hear something different, as is right since we are not all the same.
If your reserves are low, spend time with God. 10 minutes with him will help. I realize most of us cannot take off for days, let alone hours, but maybe go back to that advice new mothers often hear: “when baby naps, you nap.” Instead of a nap, read a bit of Scripture and meditate on it. It will do more good than scrolling, since that tends to lead to comparison and then you start to feel bad about yourself and then … well, back in the place of low reserves.
Which Scripture passage is most helpful to you when you need to refill your soul? What do you do when your reserves are low that helps to get back to your best self?
Copyright 2021 Deanna Bartalini
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About the Author
Deanna G. Bartalini, M.Ed.; M.P.A., is a certified spiritual director, writer, speaker and content creator. She is the founder of the LiveNotLukewarm.com online community, a place to inform, engage and inspire your Catholic faith through live, interactive faith studies. Her weekly Not Lukewarm Podcast gives you tips and tools to live out your faith in your daily life.