“Homeschool moms are like bullies. They can be brutal to each other.”
Ouch. My friend’s blunt statement shocked me a bit, but I knew it was true, at least to a degree. My own heart’s wounds bore testimony, and, if I were really honest with myself, I knew I had probably inflicted wounds on other moms’ hearts too.
Sometimes my wounds came from direct hits—someone would say something that would sting, that would make me want to run and find a quiet place to weep. Sometimes the hits were more indirect as I struggled with being left out of some of the homeschool subgroups around me.
But none of those wounds compare to the ones that I continually inflict on myself. The ugly truth is that I am my own biggest bully through comparison.
Discouragement and Defeat
A lot of my heart-wounds have come from comparing myself to other people. I’m very good at uncovering the ways I come up short in comparison to others. So my thoughts are too often filled with if onlys. If only I were smarter, prettier, more in shape, had better-behaved children and so on, things would be so much better. These lies do nothing but provide fuel for my feelings of discouragement and defeat.
Of course, comparing myself with others sometimes has the opposite effect, puffing me up with so much pride that I can’t see myself clearly. Sins go unnoticed and unconfessed. My relationships suffer. The damage is awful.
Fighting Comparison with the Gospel
So how do I fight back against my inner bully? By skillfully wielding the sharp, two-edged sword given to me by my heavenly Father—His Word. I must saturate my mind with the Bible if I am to have any hope of victory at all.
My best defense when I am tempted to compare myself with others is to meditate on the gospel. The gospel reminds me that I am precious in the sight of God—so precious that He paid the ultimate price for my redemption. I may not be as pretty as Mary, as smart as Jane, or as organized as Susan, but with all my faults and failings, I am beloved by my Father in heaven.
The gospel also reminds me that without Christ, I am nothing. So what if I excel in a particular area? All those feelings of self-righteousness are filthy rags before an all-holy God.
Comparison is a dangerous business. If you struggle with this like I do, I highly recommend the book The Battle Within by J. Robin Wood. She includes scriptural battle plans for fighting off pride and other damaging emotions as well as showing how to deal biblically with the expectations that we place on ourselves. If you’re interested in learning more about how this book has helped me, check out my earlier post “Hope for a Weary Soul.”