Saturday, October 27, 2012

31 Days of Story {Day 27} The Comparison Trap

You could not help but like her.

Her Arkansas drawl, her ear-to-ear smile, her sparkling green eyes
.....and those pipes.

It was hard not to stop and soak in the melodies when this five foot two, perky Southern belle, belted out rifts that could rival Aretha Franklin. It was not uncommon to walk down the 1960's inspired hallways of our dorm and catch girls just standing outside of her door, listening to her practice her musical runs, like they were hoping to get just a glimpse of this star in the making.

 And me, well, I could not deny the overwhelming talent, Candee possessed, but my little heart was crushed and quite frankly, a little....scratch that....A LOT jealous.

Coming from a high school with a graduating class of eleven {oh yeah, you read that right} and a youth group of about fifty, I often led the pack in talent, personality, and character. The proverbial story of being the little fish now in a GREAT BIG pond is not a new one, but for the first time in my life, I found myself feeling truly uninspiring and vitally insignificant.

She was smart, pretty, talented, and funny.
She caught the attention of people, especially boys.
And I could not hold a candle to her.
Or at least, that was how my eighteen year old eyes viewed it.

Jealousy burned deep within my soul, and I hated myself for it.

But in spite of myself and more because of the Father's work in my heart, I took a leap of faith and faced my personal demons, supporting every musical audition, contest, performance, and endeavor for which her firecracker personality and powerhouse voice made space. Months went by until one day when she was the only white girl to be accepted into the Souls Afire campus choir, I felt something different happen in my heart.

True joy.
Sheer delight.
She did it! She did it!
I laughed to myself and I think I even did a little happy dance.

The taste of freedom sweetened on my tongue like ice cream on the 4th of July.
I was free from that ugly monster.
Truthfully and unequivocally free.

As we jubilantly frolicked off to celebrate her new soulful musical journey, I recognized that stirring in my heart to come clean. A time of confession was in order. I blurted out quickly, before I lost my nerve...
"Candee, I am have been jealous of you since I first met you. You are so pretty and you're voice is so amazing. The boys always notice and like you, and I just wanted to have all of those things like you do. But tonight, I don't feel jealous any more. I truly feel happy for you, almost like it was me. I am so sorry. I hope you will forgive me." 
She looked at me with sincerity,
"Oh my gosh, Lindsey. I...have been jealous of....YOU!!"
What?!?!?!?! I thought to myself. The idea was simply ludicrous. What did I have that she did not have? She practically light up a room when she walked in.
"You have this way with people," she carried on. "You always know how to encourage and the right things to say, and people REALLY like you and want to be around you. I wish I could be that way with people."
I started to laugh out loud, long and hard.
"Oh, Candee! Imagine what God must be thinking right now.....'My silly girls...just be who I created you to be. Stop comparing yourselves to each other and trying to be something you were not called to be."

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that
we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness,
that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest
the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.
~Marianne Williamson

Revisited from the archives of March 14, 2012....
Here are my friend Candee's thoughts after reading my original post...

"Literally crying at my keyboard 
remembering that conversation. 
To think it has been fifteen! 
Thanks for the reminder to be 
who God created me to be no matter what. 
Love you friend!"

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Jen Price said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow! This is such a powerful reminder, like you said, to truly be who God created us to be. Thanks for sharing a part of your heart. Truly blessed by your words right now.

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