Thursday, March 08, 2012

The comparison trap...

I've shared several days of homeschooling tips this week, but this last one is very close to my heart...

As a homeschooling mom, it is very easy to fall into the "comparison trap." After all, many of us (when we really admit it) have a bit of silent insecurity about the whole homeschooling thing - we're different, and many in society question our decision to teach at home. Sometimes at the end of a hard day, we may even wonder if we're capable of doing this...

This insecurity can rear its ugly head especially when we start to compare our children or our homeschooling with others.

All of Mrs. Smith's children read by the time they were 4 and are doing advanced algebra in 3rd grade. You may have a 2nd grader struggling with subtraction and a 5th grader who still struggles with reading. You may begin to wonder, is she more qualified to homeschool? What is her secret? Or more destructively, what am I doing wrong?

Mrs. Jones' children are all accomplished musicians and they have a family band. Your children can barely play Mary had a Little Lamb on the ipad app...are you a musical failure?...are your children destined for a life of musical ignorance??

How is her house always clean, and her laundry always done? She even bakes her own bread???!!!

The comparison trap is a slippery slope. It's so easy to begin that downward slide just by looking at someone else's accomplishments and seeing how you fall short. Comparing ourselves to others is quietly destructive because it's a trap that we set for ourselves.

Our skewed comparisons are not how our Heavenly Father sees us. I don't think God looks down at my humble little homeschool and says, "her bread never rises evenly, and are those shriveled peas on the kitchen floor?" He is infinitely loving and sees even our meager obedience as a sign of faith.

Whenever we start to compare ourselves with others, it is harmful. Why?

We can't look around us and still keep our eyes focused on God. 

He doesn't want his beloved homeschooling daughters to walk around this earth feeling inadequate for our calling just because someone else has different gifts.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
Psalm 139: 14 ESV

I've found that this verse is very comforting when I have to climb out of the pit of comparison. It's like a lifeline for me!
image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono

I am fearfully and wonderfully made and so are you. (Go ahead and say it out loud!) Our gifts may be vastly different, but we both cause our Father to rejoice with singing! 

The same God who made sunsets that leave us breathless with their beauty, made us. His work in fashioning us is no less wonderful. Your unique gifts are perfectly suited to raise and homeschool your children.

If you are struggling with comparisons that aren't beneficial, remember the last line of the verse, "my soul knows it very well." It's ok to know and recognize the wonderful gifts that God has poured into your life. Know them and use them to His glory and you'll avoid the comparison trap!

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