Thursday, November 30, 2006

Don't Compare--Just Be Happy


"Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else..." ... Galations 6:4

When you just have one child, people tend to tell you, in funny and not-so-funny ways, that you should have more kids.

Trust me, I know.

For lots of years, Tom and I had people--especially, but not exclusively, relatives--give us hints and advice and warnings and even prophecies about having more children. And basically, the only result became my frustration and confusion and misery, because, well, it just wasn't happening. Tom and I were only able to have one child 'the old-fashioned way' and when I wasn't being told we should adopt or try this and that, I was happy with the way things were, with our one little bird in the family nest.

But it was while I listened to all those other voices and opinions that I began to flounder. Those words (and the occasional maternal hormone whining inside me) caused me to compare my little family to those families who had two or more children and to let nagging, annoying doubts kick me around.

The whole story would take pages--many books have been written about this subject. But I'm using it only as an example.

What I'm really trying to say is that, believe it or not, God knows best (imagine that!). He knows me. He knows (and made) the plans He has for me. And He knew way back twenty years ago when I was floundering with all this, that having more children was not in His plan for me--and that today, I would be fine with that. Because really, I am.

The only time I'm not fine with it? They are the times I start comparing my life with the lives of friends or of people in books with large families or with the lives of strangers who appear to have one hilarious time after another with their quiver full of kids.

But no one's life is one hilarious time after another, no matter how many children they have. And thank-goodness I've grown enough to realize that.

And thank-goodness I've grown enough to realize that God gives me Grace for every single thing He gives me to do.... And it's only when I wander over to places my emotions or my comparisons take me that I eventually find myself flailing around and gasping for help. Help which, technically, God isn't obligated to give me since I did not follow Grace into those scary places. So many times, though, He has (probably while sighing) come along and yanked me out of messes I created myself...

I could, right now, adopt a whole houseful of children and work at the local orphanage and head-up committees on helping the homeless--but I would crumble in the middle of it all. Positively crumble in heaps of regret. I would fail, exhuasted, because God did not take me to those good and wonderful places. He takes other people there and gives them the Grace to stay, and I am nothing but unwise and just plain silly when I compare my bits of God-given Grace to theirs.

It's all good--but only when it's all from Him.


***

"When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise." ... 2 Corinthians 10:12

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