Monday, January 20, 2014

Never Better: When Truth Intervenes by Jessica Bolyard {Comparison Series}


My guest today in our "Comparing Ourselves to Others...and what it does to us" series is Jessica Bolyard. Jessica and I met last year at the Jumping Tandem Retreat and we clicked right away. We found ourselves talking about things we wouldn't normally share with others, especially in the first hour of meeting. Please find time to visit Jessica's blog Adjusting To The World where she shares her heart for God and life, and please make her feel welcome here by leaving a comment. ~Laura

We were watching the video for the second time in a row when she said it.

"I just...I just feel like she sings better than I do."

When I turned my eyes from the screen, with its shaky images of preschoolers singing in their Christmas performance, the expression I saw on her face broke my heart. It was a look I'm sure I've worn at least a thousand times.

Disapproval. Shame. Disappointment. Inadequacy.

It was all written on her face as she continued to watch the video of herself and her friends singing.

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I had seen the same face before.

"She colors better than I do."

"She is prettier than I am."

"She has more friends than I do."

"She's smarter than me."

Over and over, from the mouth of a little girl who is barely five years old, come these bitter attacks on herself. She says those things, but the heartbreaking part is what she doesn't say but that I know she is thinking.

"I am not like her, so I am not good enough."

I know she's thinking it, because the same thought has worn a deep path into my own mind. They say that if you think or do something often enough, it digs a trench into your thinking. Like the weight of a tire on a muddy road, our thoughts sink so deeply into our minds that the trenches of past thoughts are the natural route for future ones.

Scientists call them neuropathways. I call it tragedy.

Because once those thoughts start - whether at age five or twelve or two or thirty-two - the pathway becomes increasingly worn. Every day becomes a battle, our journey complicated by the roughness of the road before us. The negative, self-berating thoughts begin to come more easily, and the true thoughts become harder and harder to think, much less to believe.

As her mama, it breaks my heart in a thousand ways to see her beginning down that rutted road. I search my own heart for words of reassurance. I repeat back to her the things that others have said to me. I tell her how beautiful...smart...talented she is. And I tell her how much I love her just the way she is.

But I know that words from mama don't always dig as deeply as hurtful ones, no matter the source. And I know, from my own experience, that her negative thoughts of comparison scream far more loudly than my words to her ever can.

It is because of that that I am thankful for my own struggle with comparison. I am thankful for my own discovery that human words cannot be relied upon to reverse the damage that negative thoughts can inflict. I am grateful that in those moments, when she is caught in the vortex of self-criticism, I am able to point her to a Truth that is bigger than my own opinions of her, and to a Love that far surpasses what I can ever express to her.

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And so there, curled up on the couch together, I know what I have to do. She may not believe me today or tomorrow or even the next day. I know, though, that the only way for her to smooth the ruts of self-comparison is to see herself through the eyes of the One who created her.


So I turn her face to mine and get as close as I can to her. As her skeptical eyes search mine for approval, I speak Truth directly into her heart.

"Honey, let me tell you something. The Bible says that God knit you together, and that He made you who you are on purpose. You are a masterpiece......"

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Jessica Bolyard is a writer and speaker with a passion for seeing and experiencing Christ in everyday moments of life. Through her own relationship with the Lord, she has come to appreciate the subtle ways He lovingly pursues us and draws us into intimacy with Himself. Jessica longs to help others to live in awareness of God's presence in the easily overlooked moments of life by sharing her own experiences with transparency and authenticity. On the ideal Saturday afternoon, Jessica can be found curled up with a good book, a fuzzy blanket, and her ferociously purring cat.

Linking up with Sharing His Beauty and Soli Deo Gloria

8 comments:

  1. What a BEAUTIFUL post!! Yes the comparison game can hurt so bad - even as an almost 40 year old I struggle with it...thank you for the reminder that we are each a masterpiece!!

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  2. Jessica.. this is awesome! I love the post.. especially the part what some people would call neuropathways I call a tragedy.. and the only way we can stop the comparison trap is when we grasp the truth of CREATION! That's a GREAT post. Thanks!

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  3. Jessica, thank you for sharing your heart here today!

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  4. Wow this is such an encouraging uplifting post. So glad you had her contribute her words here so we now all can enjoy her writing. Wonderful reminder of God's truth.

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  5. What a powerful post! Yes, like Jenn said, I loved where you called - what others call neuropathways - a tragedy. So true. Beautiful words here, friend.

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  6. I love knowing that I am His masterpiece, a unique one-of-a-kind individual, deeply loved by the Lord. Blessings!

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  7. Jessica, I loved what you said about comparison becoming a tragedy. I have realized that when I don't live my life for who I am with my own story of brokenness, I miss opportunities to tell of God's Redemptive power. God's story of Redemption is not told through my "perfect life", but through the healing power of His Redemption in the midst of the struggles.

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  8. I love the uniqueness in God's creation! We may not all look a certain way, but that is what is so wonderful. God has created us each with different gifts and abilities that work together to create His masterpiece!

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts!