The Trap of Comparison
We all have our own image or definition of what we feel is the “model ministry wife”. She has to be able to sing, play the piano, and teach. She is the perfect housekeeper, a superb cook, and always says the right thing at the right time. Her children act perfectly in every situation and, when she opens her mouth, wisdom flows freely. She can quote a Scripture verse for every situation. Right? Who said that is the model ministry wife? What exactly is that model? Where did it come from? It comes from our own perception; a lie, I might say, that Satan has fed us and we have believed it.
We all struggle in ministry with being the model wife because we don’t always know what that is. I don’t know about you but I have put undue pressure on myself to be something that I don’t even know what that something is or what that something looks like sometimes. Just give me the handbook and I will follow it. I wish it were that easy! It is like raising children. Many times I have said, “God, it would be nice if you would send a 'How-To Manual' with these children when they enter this world.” Unfortunately, He doesn’t so we have to go to Him in prayer asking direction and getting the How-To’s.
Each of you reading this that are women in ministry were born with different talents and personalities, married to different men, serving in different aspects of ministry and called to accomplish different things. So, it is absurd and stupid (sorry, if that word bothers you) to think we can do what someone else does.
I have now been married to a minister for many years, not to mention that I was raised in a minister’s home. I love my life and I love being a minister’s wife. I am comfortable with who God has called and created me to be. I am comfortable in my “own skin”. I don’t feel the need to compete or compare myself with other women who are called to the same. However, I haven’t always been at this place nor has it been such a easy journey for me! I believed that lie from Satan and struggled for a long time focusing on not who I was, but rather who I was not.
Let me share a little of my story. Jim answered the call to ministry a few years before we were married so I knew full well what I was getting into. We knew God had called us into a traveling ministry. So, I sought out other women in ministry that traveled with their husbands who I deemed successful. I studied them. They became my pattern. I tried to look like them and even dress like them.
I was hesitant to use the gifts that God had given me because mine were different than those I was trying to mirror.
The result: I was miserable. I was miserable because I had fallen into the comparison trap. Any of you ever been there?
2 Corinthians 10:12: “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”
When we compare ourselves with one another, it is futile and a dead end road. When we compare ourselves with others, we put limits on what God can do in us and through us.
So one day, as I was driving down the road, God spoke to me and said, “These are gifts that I have given you. They are unique to you. If you don’t use them, you will lose them.” Now I didn’t want to lose what little gifts I had, so I repented. I then stopped shrinking back from what was uncomfortable for me. I began to see my personality traits and gifts as a positive rather than a negative. I began to rejoice in the characteristics of my personality. I quit focusing on my weaknesses and what I thought I could not do. I stopped imitating other women and started imitating God and the life He had given me.
One week Jim and I were preaching a series of meetings for a couple that we had grown to deeply love and respect. Our son, Drew, was just a toddler at this time. This pastor’s wife came to me one day and said, “Pam, you are trying to make Drew be perfect to make you look good so everyone will pat you on the back and tell you what a wonderful mother you are.” Her words pierced me to the core. She was right.
What I've learned about the dangers of comparison is this:
Comparison only distracts us from what we are to be thinking, living, and doing.
Comparison pushes us away from our destiny.
Comparison causes us to miss appreciation for our own uniqueness.
Comparison leads to envy.
Friends...may I encourage you today to stay focused on one thing. Just be yourself. Dig deep in to God's Word and His presence, asking Him to shape who He designed for you to be. Don’t fall into the comparison trap. I realized that my husband, my children, and people in my sphere of influence need me to be the Pam King that God created me to be. I walk the best in my shoes instead of trying to fill someone else’s shoes. I’m not called to be anybody but me. I am the best version of me.
When I quit comparing myself and trying to be someone else, I was a free woman. It brought peace and security to my life. Go out today and be yourself. Be great at being yourself!
Pam King is a lover of God, her husband, her children, her grandchildren, and her life's work in ministry. Alongside her husband, Jim, Pam has been in full-time ministry for more than 36 years, with 26 years spent in missionary evangelism to Ukraine and Israel. Pam's "no-nonsense" approach to life and ministry has made her a viable resource in teaching and speaking on a myriad of subjects, including a personal favorite of "Marriage and Family". The Kings are the founders of Awaking Hope and most recently added the task of lead pastors to their ministry plate as they currently pastor Victory in Austin, TX.