I think we can all agree that comparisons are not great for us. They can weigh unfairly on our hearts and minds and distract us from who God wants us to be, rather than who he created others to be.
Something even more dangerous than comparisons, though, but often related to them, is when we allow another's strengths, ideas, words, challenges, and methods to become a standard for our living, thinking, housekeeping, behaving, believing and being on a daily basis.
This is one of those things I realized recently and I cant believe I hadnt realized it before.
I realized that I have placed standards for methods or my consideration of things on myself, based on others.
It may be via example of friends who I see have mastery over an area (housekeeping, homeschooling, bible study, disciplining children), books I have read, inspiring blogs I follow, speakers I have heard, or the way my mom did it.
More than comparing myself to those things, I placed standards for doing those things on myself that were not necessarily a good thing. That is, because all of those basis for standards are human and sure to be imperfect. They are not always best for me, my family or my walk with God even when they often seem wonderful and inspiring. As such, I do myself such an injustice to measure me by those measures.
The areas I do this especially, are in the area of housekeeping. I know several gals in my circle, and follow several blogs and websites of woman to seem to have mastered this area I struggle with. I often hear the way they may do things, and thereby establish for myself that that is the "right" way to do it.
Whether its how often someone does laundry, when they do dishes, if they make their bed every day (not me!) ..whatever. When we allow them to be past the point of an example and make their way of doing it "the" way ..we take away from our own unique situation, strength, abilities and circumstances.
How about reading books, doing written bible studies? Do you ever do a bible study, read a godly book, listen to a christian speaker and walk away feeling challenged but also short of a standard of living for God? Certainly feeling challenged is a good thing, and there are many lessons to be learned from our brothers and sisters in Christ - but we should not let ourselves go so far as to allow those spirit-led words become scripture, and therefore worthy of basing a standard for living for God
Example, yes. Challenge, yes. Thought provoking, yes. Inspiring, yes. Encouragement, yes ...but taking the place of the only True Standard, we must resist.
As humans we are constantly learning, growing, changing, shifting, editing, adjusting, rewriting, reconsidering ...But, scripture and God do not.
Every writer, speaker, friend, blogger, mom/sister/mother-in-law or friend are human beings. Christian though they may be, even perhaps spirit-led in their guidance ...they are affected by their experiences, limited by their humanity. God, is not. Scripture, is not.
Even the most spirit-led person, can only be a supplement to the True Standard. The only standard we can count on being truly realistic, practical, timeless, truth-based ...is God's Word and the principles He sets up for us therein.
So, when you are chiding yourself for having dirty dishes in the sink ...remember that they didnt make the cut for the Ten Commandments :)