Comparison Can’t CompeteOn December 6, 2018 by Amy Burgin
In my church seat on a Sunday morning, aching to be included in God’s work, Comparison whispers in my ear, “God loves her more – look at all the beautiful and wondrous ways he partners with her in life.” He’s not referring to anyone specifically. He’s talking in generalities, although a few faces of beautiful women I love and admire enter my mind.
Many are baptized by immersion today, symbolizing their new life in Christ. We call it Celebration Sunday because when each new person is lifted out of the water, the hundreds of us stand, clap, hoot and holler. Hushing Comparison, I am moved to tears and happy. I cup my hands around my mouth and try to recreate the sound of a trumpet with each person raised to new life in Christ. It’s one of my favorite things to do.
My pastor speaks about scripture, but I don’t remember much of what he says. He makes us laugh as he shares his dream of being in the worship band, playing a tambourine, triangle or recorder.
Comparison continues to knock on my door and makes his solicitation speech through the window, “You don’t belong. God doesn’t really want to work through a woman like you. You don’t look quite right. You don’t have quite the right background. You’re not lovely enough, not as lovely as her, for that is why God will never play a beautiful melody through you.” I try to ignore his voice.
I remember specific moments when Comparison was cultivated in my heart as a 10-year-old girl, then again as an 11-year-old girl, then again and again. He no longer resides in me; Jesus was faithful and just to uproot him from my life years ago through the act of confession. Still, Comparison comes to knock on my door often. Perhaps he comes to see if I will invite him in for coffee and the old conversations we shared in days past. I won’t.
At the end of service, my pastor makes room for Word to come alive in us. These are the words I don’t forget.
Read, be still and listen for the very voice of God. The verse is Acts 5:19 (NIV) “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.”
I am God’s chosen instrument and so is she.
I am a woman who utters from the deepest truest parts of herself, “God may blow whatever song he wishes into me and I. am. Satisfied.”
I am a woman who dances to the songs God sings through the pipes of my sisters.
I adore ALL his music. If I adore it, how much more do I approve it just the way it is! Do I dare recommend a change to a single note in his song? Never!
Comparison can’t compete with such adoration. There’s no room in my inn for one who tells the Great Composer, the Great Musician, what piece to play through any instrument, who wonders why he plays the melody through her and a bass note through me. There’s no room in my inn for one who is not completely honored and humbled that God Almighty would blow any breath at all into a woman like me. Defeated, Comparison departs my doorstep.
And perhaps it’s worth noting there is no shame when an unwanted visitor knocks at our door. When I ignore his knock and set my eyes on the Great Musician inside, I am a flautist. My flute is Adoration. The Great Musician? He smiles at my music. Now that’s something.
Lord, I am submitted to you – breathe whatever you wish into me.
I will love whatever song you play through me.
The songs you play through my sisters? To those I will dance.
I adore all your music.
Isaiah 45:9 (NIV) Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’?
Thank you to Tina Gaskins for helping me finish this post.