Monday, March 31, 2014

On the Path to Perfect by Sandra Heska King {Comparison Series}


I'm so pleased to have Sandra Heska King here today as my guest in the "Comparing Ourselves to Others...and what it does to us" series. I had the pleasure of meeting Sandra last year at the Jumping Tandem Retreat...and, I'll admit, I was shocked she knew who I was before an introduction was made (and tickled pink.) Please take some time to visit her blog and welcome her here by leaving a comment. ~ Laura

Please, God, let my parents come and beat her up.

We’d had a sword fight with pencils, Patsi and I. And Mrs. Smith rapped my 8-year-old knuckles.

But not Patsi’s.

So I turned around and scribbled on Patsi’s picture.

And now I stood in the corner, lump in throat, cheeks aflame.

It didn’t occur to me that if my parents did come, I might be the one in trouble and not Mrs. Smith.

And certainly not Patsi.

She was practically perfect in every way, and I was always just about one step behind her.

If I got an A, she got an A+.

When I brought home a B, my mom asked, “What did Patsi get?”

The teacher divided our class into reading groups, and Patsi and I were a group of two. I still remember how she giggled when I pronounced the word, “the” as “thee.”

Patsi was valedictorian of our senior class. Well, co-valdictorian. I could have been (a) salutatorian—except there were four of us very close, and the school let us choose whether we wanted to share or let the one with the very highest grade take all the honors. We chose that route—which means I lost by about 200ths of a point.

Patsi became a nurse. But she had a four-year degree from a top school. I got a diploma from a hospital. (Until I was in my mid-40’s and got my own bachelor’s from a rival university.)

It’s hard to keep up with perfect. Exhausting, actually. And sometimes I wonder if I might have even tried a path other than nursing if I hadn’t been trotting so close to her.

Even now that I’ve found my own road, it’s hard to not compare my life with what might have been or what could be that can’t, my kids with other kids, my house with someone else’s, my depth of faith with Susie’s, my store of wisdom with Joanna’s, my makeup talent and sense of style with Mavis, my writing “success” with…well, you get the picture.

I want to be practically perfect in every way.

But here’s the thing.

I am.

Because I AM sees me that way.

Because He made me this way.

And He’s had His hand on each step of my journey, weaving every weed and broken stick and bee sting and crushed leaf along the way into a colorful wildflower life filled with fragrance and song. Even if my senses haven’t quite yet comprehended it all.

I’m pretty sure that by the time I reach the river, I’ll find I’ve been following His footsteps all along, even if sometimes they’ve seemed somewhat buried under life’s litter.

So today I’ll embrace the me He made me to be. I’ll kick comparison to the curb, and celebrate the you He created you to be. Because we’ve each been fashioned by the Father, handcrafted to honor Him and reflect His image in our own unique ways.

Oh, one more thing. I asked Jesus into my heart in grade school behind the gym when Patsi prayed with me. I guess you could say she’s the one who set me on the path to follow the only perfect One.

*****

Sandra Heska King lives in Michigan and writes from a 150-plus-year-old family farmhouse set on 60-something acres surrounded by corn or soybeans or sometimes wheat. She’s a recovering doer who’s learning to be and be still. She spends too much money on books and eats too many M&M’s, and she tries to live Mary Oliver’s words: “Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”

Sandra blogs at sandraheskaking.com and sometimes spills words in other places across the internet like The High Calling. She’s currently working on a memoir and a novel, and you can catch up with her on Facebook and Twitter.

18 comments:

  1. Thanks so much, Laura, for the chance to share a little of my story here. I might also add that Patsi and I were besties from kindergarten through high school. We roomed together when I got my first job and while she was finishing school. We were also in each other's weddings. She moved to the east coast, and it's been 20 years now since I last saw her. I think I need to write her a note today.

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    1. I appreciate your agreeing to be a part of the series Sandra! You should write that note - what a great time to reconnect. :) God bless!

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    1. Thanks, Bruce. And thanks for popping by.

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  3. Love hearing this story, Sandy. We can waste so much energy on comparisons -- energy that could accomplish so much more if redirected to more positive areas. It sounds like Patsi brought out both the worst and best in you at the time. :)

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    1. I've wasted a lot of energy in my day, Carol. I think my friend helped keep me striving to be better, which isn't all bad. I miss her.

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  4. First, Sandra, I want to say 'hi", as a fellow Midwesterner! (I'm from northern Indiana) I also want to thank you for sharing your childhood story that most of us can relate to in one way or another. I grew up with 3 siblings and there seemed to almost always be comparisons being made between us..who was the smartest, who was the most athletic, who was the most well-behaved. To this day, there are scars from all the comparing. I agree that "God made me this way!" I also wanted to say thanks to Laura for hosting your blog post!
    Blessings to you both!
    Ann @ Christ in the Clouds
    http://christintheclouds.blogspot.com/

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    1. You're the second Ann K I know from Indiana. :)

      I know about the sibling comparisons, too. I remember hearing my mom comparing my brother to me, "Why can't you be more like your sister?" So it goes both ways, and I wonder what scars those words left with him.

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  5. I was all set to not like Patsi until that surprise ending! What a wonderful post!

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    1. LOL! She was very likeable, Elizabeth, and we were best buds. I think we must all do this sometimes, though... compare ourselves to others. Try to be like them... catch up to them. And it takes some of us longer to figure out who we really are and to embrace that. Makes me wonder how many compare themselves to us before we even know who we are. We sure are a mixed up bunch. ;)

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  6. I wasted so much time and energy in high school, and beyond, comparing myself to others. Thank you for sharing your story with Sandra!

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    1. I hear you, Barbie. I still have to smack myself upside the head sometimes. Even at my age. You'd think I'd be over it.

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  7. What a beautiful post, Sandra, because we all can see a little part of our journey in your story. How funny it should be that the one you labeled as "practically perfect" would point you to "The Perfect One" Who created you perfectly! Loved this post! Thank you to both of you for sharing it with us today.

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  8. It wasn't until I wrote this post that I actually put those memories together, Joanne. Glad you caught that. Thanks.

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  9. What a meaningful story to read and one that I relate to very well. I find myself quite miserable when I focus on being like someone else. It heats up a brewing discontent and a self-image crisis. One of my favorite sayings when I need to focus on making personal change is, "The grass is greener wherever you water it." I have a lot of dry yellow spots that continually need watering! (And by the way, I know an Ann K in Indy too) More Grace, Donna (from Indiana)

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  10. Oh the comparison game! I have played that on a regular basis, Sandra! And it still goes on at even this age. Your post was entertaining and vivid as I pictured you in the corner of the room contemplating who was going to be in trouble. Your story resonates with many of us regarding those younger (and older years). I am so grateful for Jennifer's book, the "Love Idol" that helps us see we are acceptable and approved in His eyes. Pretty funny that Patsy led you to the One who Approves of you!

    For other readers, I'm running a drawing at my place for a free copy of Jennifer Dukes Lee's book, "Love Idol." Drop by and leave a comment for a chance to win Jennifer's book http://heartfilledmoments.com/http://heartfilledmoments.com/2014/03/approval-seeking-dreams/

    Thank you Laura and Sandra for this great post.

    Blessings, Janis

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  11. Wow.. this was an incredible post. The writing was beautiful. What a blessing to read. It just encouraged my heart so much. I am.. because He is. And what an amazing gift that she led you to the Lord.. wow... this was a beautiful gift in my day

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  12. This is the story of so many women I know. Are we worthy? Good enough? Yes, we are because of Him.

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts!