01 August, 2013

Fighting toxic comparison

Here's a good post, it caught my attention because it began in the context of envying another missionary's language ability. I'm tempted to say, "I've been there", with regards to envy but that is past tense and not a complete truth. This is a constant battle: not to envy other people for the way God made them and resent the way He made me.
On our recent holiday. We're a great team, this half isn't
anywhere near so good when we're apart.

Right now I'm fighting frustration at how badly I cope with my husband being away (he's in Hong Kong for six days). I have friends all around whose husbands are away for weeks at a time, yet I (and my kids) seem to struggle to cope. Possibly my friends are not telling me all the ugliness that happens at their homes at these times, but I can tell you there's been ugliness here this week. Particularly at meals. I don't think we've made it through one meal without one boy storming out of a meal or being sent out (and that is the same boy every meal). And that's not telling you how ugly I've been in the face of my boys' disobedience, defiance, selfishness etc.

I hate it that I hate these times, that I don't cope well. That's when envy can come in. I don't envy the fact that others have husbands who are away for long periods. I envy their apparent ability to cope.

This quote from the above mentioned blog post is what I've personally found the most helpful:
5. Pray for acceptance of who I am and how I am gifted, or not. So much of my envy comes from insecurity and inability to accept who I am, how I’m wired, my strengths and my weaknesses.  As I work through accepting how God made me, the circumstances where he has placed me, envy is squashed. I learn more about trust and faith.

12 comments:

Judie said...

I think it's likely that they other mothers have just learned to cope over time. The main reason you have trouble is that you're just not used to being the only one.
I'm sure they had their struggles at first, and probably still do, but they've learned most of the danger signs and are usually able to nip problems in the bud before they get too big.

Deb said...

I was about to say much the same as Judie - when it's not a regular absence, you don't build up the same coping skill-set as when you have to do it longer term or more frequently.

But as I read Judie's comment another thought struck me too. Because it's only occasionally, the boys don't build that skill set either. So it remains unsettling to them each time. And more so because they are immature (I mean that in comparison to a grown-up not as a statement of their personalities relative to their peers).

That does NOT mean the solution is for your hubby to go away more regularly! :P I have been known to suggest to mine when he returns from a work trip that he never, ever, ever go away again. :)

Hope the days even out as you go along and that God supplies your needs for patience and endurance.

emingus said...

I totally understand. I was pea-green with envy when comparing myself with a certain other Christian poet who garnered 3 million YouTube views in one night! Comparison is a horrible foe. I wrote a poem about accepting where you are, when you are called YOUR Big Break about how I (a homeschooling mom of five) was asking God if He didn't think I was as talented to get such a "big break" and wondering if because I was woman somehow I was exempt from being used for his kingdom. (Imagine being jealous for not being a man! Goodness...how far I can fall sometimes?) Comparison seems to be a constant companion when you are not trusting God.

Wendy said...

Welcome emingus! I agree, it's a horrible foe. But I also think that comparison can be a companion even when you are trusting God, but this side of heaven our trust in God is never perfect and there is no point in beating ourselves up about it.

Wendy said...

Thanks for your encouragement Deb and Judie. I agree, I wish that knowledge helped more, though.

Wendy said...

Thanks for your encouragement Deb and Judie. I agree, I wish that knowledge helped more, though.

Hillary said...

Hello there!
I guess it's about time to reveal myself as a reader of your blog :) I'm Hillary... a fellow missionary in Japan and I've really been enjoying your posts.
I'd really like to read the article you mentioned, but the link doesn't seem to work... is it just my computer?
Thanks!
-Hillary :)

Hillary said...

I got it to work this morning so... either thank you if you fixed it... or ignore my previous comment if it was just my computer! :)

Wendy said...

Hillary, it must have just been your computer. I've done nothing. Glad it's working now. Where do you work in Japan?

Hillary said...

glad it worked because I really enjoyed it!
We're in Yamaguchi-ken (furthest south you can go on Honshu)with an organization called Christar :)

Ken Rolph said...

Jan goes overseas regularly with school tours. This year it was 3 weeks in Turkey and Britain. Our kids are grown up, so it was just me and the dog. You do get used to it over time, so long as you learn to cope with the effects.

In my case it is a certain paranoia that grows by the second week. What if I died while she was away? Who would feed the dog? It is usually arranged for me to get regular visits from the grandkids to remind me that I am still alive.

We were married in 1971 and have spent odd weeks apart ever since. Makes us want to get back together.

Wendy said...

Thanks Ken. Stories of marriages like that are worth savouring!