by Debbie Altman

When we think of “Women at War,” the topic of this month’s blog focus; we think of all the different relationships that we have with women-mothers, daughters, friends, co-workers…and the potential for “war!”  But there is another woman with whom we do battle, and that is ourselves.

Over the years, I have grown passionate about the subject of comparison amongst women, because I see the destructive power it can have in my own life, and in the lives of almost all women.   Let’s see…what do we compare?  Let me count the ways…

We compare our hair, our clothes, our weight, our husbands, our children, our spirituality, our houses, our personalities, our jobs, our parenting, our vacations, our fitness, our skin, our shoes!…the list is endless, and it is exhausting!  So, we walk into any situation, even environments that are supposed to build us up, like church or small groups…and because we are incessantly comparing ourselves, we can walk away feeling “less than” and diminished in our own eyes!  How truly tragic!  Yet I do it to myself all the time.  How about you?  And lets amp this up just a little with “Facebook Envy”  (More opportunity to compare…)  You know…”My husband just surprised me for our anniversary with twelve dozen roses and little chocolates and candles all around our bed, a trip to Malibu, AND my children just made Student of the Year, and, and, and….“  Wow!  While I’m picking up my husband’s dirty clothes from all around the bed, and my son just got suspended from pre-school for biting!  We don’t even need the media’s constant bombardment telling us what the perfect woman is, we manage to do enough damage to ourselves just comparing ourselves to all the women in our own little worlds! 

Over the years, I have learned (and am still learning!) a few things:

1: I have to renew my mind with who Jesus says that I am by reading His Word…and believe it!

God’s Word tells us that we are uniquely and wonderfully made!  He tells us how loved we are! 

Psalm 16:9  “No wonder my heart is glad and I rejoice.  In You I rest secure!”

And one of my favorite verses, “Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields her all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between His shoulders.” Deuteronomy 33:12

2: I have to recognize the gifts that He has given me.

1 Corinthians 12 tells us how He has created us all differently and that we are each important for exactly who we are.  We are not supposed to all be the same!  Phillipians 4:8 tells us to dwell on the good things. Dwell on who you ARE and not what you ARE NOT!  Go ahead, actually count the ways in which you are an amazing person and what you offer to the world!

Do you realize that while you are looking at someone else and wishing that you were more like her in this way or that, she is looking at you and seeing your gifts and thinking the same thing!  It’s really true!

3: I have to recognize and fight the negative thoughts of comparison that the enemy Satan wants to defeat me with.

2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ.  James 4:7 says to “resist the enemy and he will flee!”  This has been a life survival skill that I have had to practice!

When we work from a mentality of God-given security, we are fully capable of thinking another woman is beautiful without concluding that we are ugly!  We can admire another woman’s achievements without feeling like we are a failure.  Where on earth did we come up with the idea that we have to subtract value from ourselves in order to give credit to someone else?

Life is short, and my heart’s cry is that we would not waste any more time comparing ourselves until we’ve stripped ourselves of all the God-given beauty and dignity that we have been given!  We are all at different stages of our life, and we each have different struggles and different attributes.  But we are all on the same path, wanting to look more like Jesus.  We are here to bless one another with who we are, and help each other along.  Each of us in our own beautiful way, portrays a different facet of God’s amazingness!  It is not a competition.  Stop the war with yourself and celebrate who you are!  I am so privileged to know so many incredible women.  You inspire me in a million different ways, and I have learned in Christ, that I am not so bad myself!  God bless you all.  

You are beautiful! What scriptures have helped you through times of comparison? Share your thoughts and comments below! 

Debbie is the wife of Pastor Craig Altman, and together, they founded Grace Family Church 18 years ago.  She is a former RN and mother of a 27 year old married daughter and 26 year old son.  She is also known as “Nona” to her precious granddaughter. Debbie enjoys family, reading, the beach, and is inappropriately competitive at board games.

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  1. Thank you Debbie Altman, for being so real and transparent in this wonderful, valuable blog. It reached deep into my heart and penetrated my soul as I have been on both sides of this torment my entire life. I still struggle with it today as it takes a consistent, conscious effort to rely on and believe in God’s truth, which you have so eloquently defined in your words and scripture references. God’s love does prevail, and we must hold onto it for dear life.

    You are so right in saying: “Do you realize that while you are looking at someone else and wishing that you were more like her in this way or that, she is looking at you and seeing your gifts and thinking the same thing! It’s really true! “

    I personally have been envied and envious to painful degrees, even to the point of losing friends or gaining friends based on which end of the spectrum was considered most. I’ll share a few examples:

    I remember a time a woman told me that once I got married, she felt more comfortable with becoming my friend and being around me with her husband present, because until then, she felt threatened by me because of what I look like. This hurt my feelings deeply, and she could not understand why, thinking that her statement was a compliment to me. On the contrary, it was painful for me to think I was not accepted by her until I was married.

    I recall another time when I was a very young adult and single, my girlfriend (who I was very close with as a teen and who I spent a lot of time with) told me she did not want me to go out with her because I was going to get all the attention from the men. I was devastated and couldn’t understand. I didn’t care at all about the men, I just wanted to be with her, but I was rejected because of what I look like.

    Then there is my current best girl-friend, who I’ve fortunately had in my life for 14 years, which started out very different then where it ended up today. When I met her we were both auditioning to be background singers at a local studio. We both got the job, but it was very uncomfortable to be around her every week. She would stare at me and comment on every aspect of my being whether it was what I looked like, how tiny I am, the range and quality of my voice, my hair, my attitude, etc., etc., I saw her as one of the most intelligent, talented, beautiful, inspirational women I had ever met. Having this big, awesome, deep toned and penetrating voice like a cello, but here she was ignoring her gifts and picking at every single thing about me with envy—until one day I looked her straight in the eyes and asked, “why do hate me so much?” What have I done to cause you this grief?” That moment changed our history, and she began to look at who she is and hone in on her gifts and cultivate them beyond where she would ever have taken them had she continued to look at what she didn’t have. I love her with all my heart and soul and thank God she is in my life.

    I have never seen myself as others have expressed to me. I don’t think we ever do. I have never thought about myself as more than, prettier than, better than, or more gifted and blessed than for any reason… but I have seen myself as less than, not as good as, not pretty enough, not good enough, not as blessed as, etc., etc. I work on this consciously and constantly, praying to my God and leaning on Him, knowing the truth is not what I see, but what He sees. In this, we have victory!

    Thank you again for sharing your heart in this blog!
    God bless you!

  2. I think what you wrote about working from a mentality of God-given security, so that we can be fully capable of thinking another woman is beautiful without concluding that we are ugly, is so spot on!! You are an amazing inspiration to so many women, Debbie. This is not only because of your leadership at GFC, but
    especially because, even as the “Pastor’s wife,”
    you are willing to share your vulnerabilities and relate with us as fellow women trying to “walk the walk.” Beautiful post! Thank you for sharing your wisdom!!

  3. Thank you ladies for your comments! You both did a great job expressing how this subject has affected you, and encourages others to realize how we all struggle with this! Thank you Brandee for your vulnerability as well. It seems that the Lord has truly brought you to a new place of knowing how much you are loved and valued. But I know we are all still fighting the battle! And thank you Jenelle for your sweet words. Bless you both!

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