Apples and Oranges and Imperfections
The corners of my mouth turned down as I stared into the mirror. There were so many other women – some of whom I could name, others I had only seen in photos – whose bodies were less bulky, whose stomachs were flatter, whose limbs were lithe, whose hips were actually meant for child-bearing. Mine were none of those things. And I hated myself for it. Shame – though at first only an occasional visitor – had now moved in and set up shop inside the body I had come to loathe. And day by day it was becoming more obvious that the unpleasant tenant didn’t intend to leave for a long, long time.
Guilt moved in shortly thereafter to shack up with Shame. It was a smooth transition, really. One I didn’t even notice until they both resided within me full-time. I always wanted to be the one people compared themselves to: The straight A student, the star athlete, the happy-go-lucky kid. But I had to work for those things, and due to my insufferable imperfections, there just always seemed to be people who were better in every category. There was always someone who could shoot, pass, or dribble better than me on the basketball court. There was always someone who scored better on a test. There was always someone whose joy outshined mine, especially when I faked being excited for things. I was a failure. And there was nothing I could do about it.
I had all but vanished when Embarrassment started hanging around. I was the absent landlord who let her tenants run wild and ransack the place however they liked. It was their turf now, anyway. They could do with it as they pleased. As long as they didn’t call me out. Which they did anyway. All the time, actually.
I was isolated because of my perceptions of other people. I was beaten down by my own comparisons – which, by the way, seemed spot on at the time. And I was exhausted by my own toiling to keep up with all these apparently perfect people.
I was defeated, I realized, because I was setting my sights too low.
Regardless of who I singled out as my competitor in any comparison, I was still measuring my brokenness with someone else’s brokenness.
After all, despite what we may try to convince ourselves, there is only One who is perfect. And when I started comparing myself to Him, you know what I found? I still fell short. By a long shot. Heck, by an even longer shot than I used to. But because He is perfect, He does not condescend. He does not defeat. He does not mock, point out my weaknesses, or gloat in His victory. Instead, He picks me up, dusts me off, tells me He loves me, and then helps me become more like Him.
Once I got into a habit of comparing myself to Him, I sent an eviction notice to those rowdy roommates of mine. It took a lot of arguing, a lot of threats, and a lot of comparing myself to God to get those suckers gone. But they are gone, nonetheless. In their place, there is only me. And that is more than enough.