So this post has been a long time coming. It’s been building and building for a while and these things have been rattling around in my head just waiting for the right opportunity to grow into something worthy of posting online. The question I’ve been mulling over, that I feel like God has been highlighting for me over and over again, is this: What if the problems you can only dream of having are the very worst things to ever have happened to someone else? Sounds kind of crazy right? That’s what I’ve been thinking. But like I said, this has been developing for quite a while.
Let me explain. Recently I went through a series of huge life changes; getting married, buying a house, quitting my job, getting pregnant and having a little baby girl, and then going back to school. These last few years have been one thing right on top of another and sometimes I don’t handle change as well as I would like. Surprise, Surprise. I think all of us mamas can probably say that at times am I right?
Well, I for one know that in my moments of weakness when I feel as if I can’t handle anymore stress, mess, laundry, cooking, cleaning, homework, or poopy diaper blowouts; I can be a little less gracious and optimistic than I would like. I snap at my husband, I grow impatient with Lily, I fall into the trap of self pity and dare I say it, mommy comparison. That’s right, when things go wrong and I feel like I just can’t handle any more before I’m liable to burst I have this annoyingly unhealthy tendency to start looking at my other friends, mamas, and the like, and comparing my situation to theirs. I sit and I stew and all the while I can’t help but think, ” they have it so easy, they don’t know what real life is, they never have to face the hard things I do…” and on and on and on until I am eaten up inside by these feelings.
And then, after I’ve stewed for way longer than is healthy and had a good cry, I start feeling guilty for having these feelings at all. I couldn’t figure out how to stop from sinking into this hole and I couldn’t seem to stop these negative mommy comparisons from running through my head. But then one night while I was deep in the midst of another self pitying moment, my husband said something to me that rocked my world. He said,
“Charlie, you’ve faced a lot of terrible things in your life time. You’ve had to deal with a lot of hard knocks, more than most people. But you can’t look at other people and judge them for the things they haven’t been through. Their worst days may look peachy compared to your worst days, but if it’s the worst thing they’ve ever been through then they will have the same emotions as you and will be affected just as much as you are by your bad experiences.”
WOW. Let that sink in for a moment. I know I had to. I had to mull over it more than once before I could fully unpack all that is loaded up in that small paragraph.
You see, I have often wondered why God has let me go through things that other people haven’t had to face. Why people seem to fall apart when the littlest things happen to them, and what exactly am I supposed to say to someone who is complaining about their life when it seems like they have nothing at all to complain about. Well, God has definitely been working on changing my thoughts and attitudes in this department. Who am I to judge other women or mamas for what they do or don’t have to face? Who am I to question what God has planned for my life and compare it to what He has for others?
Like my husband so aptly put it, the worst thing to happen to me might seem terrible in comparison to the worst thing to ever happen to anyone else, but if they’ve never had to face anything like it before, then they will face the same heartbreak and will be just as deeply affected.
So it begs the following questions, who are we to judge other people’s experiences good or bad, who are we to compare ourselves to others, and who are we to question why we have had to face things others haven’t? Lets face it mamas, we are all probably guilty of this at one time or another. We’ve all played the mommy comparison game.
The thing I think God wants us to get from this is not a sense of shame, guilt, or condemnation; He doesn’t work like that after all. What I think He want us to do is stop playing the comparison game and start loving each other instead. Even when we want to smack the person for complaining about their problems when ours seem so much worse. Jesus had problems. Problems we can’t even comprehend. But He never begrudges us our emotions and tears. He loves us through it all, and I think He wants us to learn how to do that too. I think God is calling us to give our best to our fellow people and our fellow mamas even when we’re at our worst.