On choosing inspiration instead of comparison

The Internet saved me this weekend. It was my son’s 6th birthday party. I needed to keep six 6 year olds entertained for two hours. It is possible that after scanning through the recesses of my imagination for ages, I might have discovered one or two fun ideas. But I have no illusions of grandeur about my ability to be fun. Honestly, I’m kind of boring.

Thankfully, there are many people out there who are more entertaining than me. As a result, the kids had a blast. They leapt over “buildings” (cardboard boxes) in a single bound, navigated through “laser beams” (crepe paper) without getting hit, and captured a “villain” (my husband) with a hula hoop.

The party was a success thanks to many people I have never met. I stand here today, grateful for Pinterest.

The Internet fills our lives with possibilities. Yet, the wonder of that often gets lost beneath our own junk.

I could have looked at the perfect cardboard buildings created by another mom and felt pressure to do the same. Comparison could have trapped me into thinking I needed to make my son’s party look the same as the ones those other kids had. But I know that’s not me. There are many, many things I would rather do than cover boxes in brown paper and cut out perfectly square windows. So I didn’t. I let my son color the fronts on buildings until he didn’t want to do it anymore. And the rest? I left blank.

My son had fun. I did, too. And I do not regret leaving those boxes plain. Not in the slightest. I know that if I had, stress would have invaded my spirit.

I am thankful that this time, I got it right. This time, I did not get sucked into the comparison trap. Too often, I have. Too often, I have suffocated under the weight of my own expectations to do everything as good as everyone else. I have failed to recognize that I am not good at everything. I have failed to see comparison for what it is: a thief.

Comparison robs us of the potential we have to inspire each other.

It steals our joy as we notice all the ways we have fallen short. It strips our energy as we waste our efforts trying to be like someone else. Comparison deprives us from reaching our dreams as we hold onto our envy of someone else’s successes.

We can rediscover the wonder of the Internet when we stop. All. The. Comparison. When we see each other the way God sees us: as creatures made in His Image, each filled with a potential and beauty uniquely our own. We are made to bless each other with these gifts we’ve been given. And often, the biggest stumbling block to that happening is our own hearts.

In order to be blessed, we need to receive each other’s gifts as blessings. We must trade comparison for inspiration.

I am blessed … by those who demonstrate the beauty that can lie within a single sentence. … by those who raise difficult faith questions even at risk being hurt by the backlash. … by those who make their homes into works of art. … by those who create music that slows down my soul and stops my breath. … by those who boldly tell stories of their past in hopes of helping others. … by those who turn ideas into movements that make the world a better place. … by those who follow God, even when He leads them through uncomfortable territory. … by those who put together recipes that make my mouth water just by looking at them. … by those who love Jesus and proclaim the Gospel without apology. … by those who write and teach and lead and craft and cook and parent and paint and tell stories and question and risk and rescue and examine and adventure and love, love, love.

Many times, you are better at these things than I am. And that is absolutely okay. Because you are you, and I am me. I can choose to let go of the comparison and hold onto the inspiration. I choose to be blessed by you.

Thank you for being you. Keep being you. Don't hold back from sharing the fullest version of you with the world. And I will try to do the same.