Tuesday, September 20, 2016

How to Fight the Comparison Battle

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel
  • “Why did she get a book contract before me when I’ve been writing longer than she has?”
  • “I sent the retreat committee my topics and video clips, but they chose a much younger speaker with almost no experience.”
  • “Our books were published the same month, yet his already has 300 Amazon reviews and I haven’t even hit fifty yet.”
  • “I don’t understand why I wasn’t asked to return as faculty when John serves at the conference every year.”
  • “I love rooming with my friend Jane at writers’ conferences, but it’s hard when she tells me every night about the editors and publishers who are interested in her projects.”
  • “We have the same publisher, but they spent a fortune on her marketing and I was pretty much left to fend for myself.”
Don’t do it, friend.

Compare.

Because it is simply a dead end.

Personally. Professionally. Spiritually.

God has called you to follow Him, glorify Him and further His kingdom through the unique story you are living and sharing.

And you have this promise: “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3 NIV)

“So, Cindy, if we already have ‘everything we need’ then why do we not see the fruit of our labors—the speaking engagements, the numerous blog followers, and the published books?”

I don’t know. But God knows why. And He also knows how and when He will use you to touch people with your message. Can you trust Him for that?

Because it will be your message, not hers.

A chance to live out the grace you received as a free gift. Paul challenged us with “What do you have that you did not receive?” “Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So what’s the point in all this comparing and competing – you already have all you need.” (1 Corinthians 4.7 MSG)

Grace-filled writers and speakers know this hard lesson. We were created, redeemed, and sustained in order to live our unique story – yes, with all the mess, mistakes, meanderings, miracles and even mundane magnificence.

Those who need to hear/read it will be put in our path by a sovereign God.

Her success does not mean my failure.
There’s enough ministry to go ‘round. Some of it will be very public and some will be virtually unseen. But it’s all worthy, when done in the name of Jesus Christ.

Every time we compare our writing and speaking with someone else, we are in danger of believing the lies of rejection—that our own life and message is not important. I assure you, this is a universal dilemma. Author Lysa Terkeurst’s new book “Uninvited” has spent the past four weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list as a testimony to the hunger for healing in this area.

You are not alone.

My friend Jennifer Dukes Lee assures us that everyone suffers from comparison. “The person you’re measuring your life up against? She is measuring her life against someone else’s. And someone is comparing herself to you! It’s a whole cycle of comparison that doesn’t end until someone says enough is enough.”

Okay, I’ll say it, “Enough is enough!”

Here’s how I fight the comparison battle:
  • Truly believe that I am loved and chosen by God. 
  • Obey what He is calling me to do and be. Write and speak my own passion and message. 
  • Encourage, promote, and lift up that other sister or brother in Christ who is seeking to live their message. I go first. I pray to be a generous and grace-filled person. 
You were not created to be her.

Isn’t that a relief? Now, go forth friend, and seek to become the very best version of yourself, by God’s grace. He has already given you “everything you need.”

TWEETABLES
How to Fight the Comparison Battle in Publishing - @LucindaSMcDowel (Click to Tweet)

Another's #writing success doesn't mean my failure - @LucindaSMcDowel (Click to Tweet)

Lucinda Secrest McDowell, M.T.S., is the author of 12 books, contributing author to 25 books, and has published in more than 50 magazines. Her books and studies include: Dwelling Places and Live These Words. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, she also studied at the Wheaton Graduate School of Communication. A member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA), Lucinda received Mt. Hermon “Writer of the Year” award and blogs monthly for The Write Conversation. Cindy has served on faculty at Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, Florida Christian Writers Conference, Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference and co-directs "reNEW ~ retreat for New England Writing." Lucinda is a storyteller who delights in weaving grace and mercy into ordinary life situations. Known for her ability to convey deep truth in practical and winsome ways, she writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England. She blogs weekly at www.EncouragingWords.net

14 comments:

  1. Cindy, Thank you for this poignant post. I've been jealous of others success. God convicted me. he took me out to the spiritual wood shed and gave me a whoopin. It was a difficult lesson but Now I promote others and the freedom is exhilarating. God taught me that we are all ambassadors, each with a different mission. No one can do my mission and I cannot do theirs. Now, I love watching my brothers and sisters succeed in Christ.

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    1. Thanks Cherrilynn. You are a great encourager to others in the community.

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  2. So much good stuff in this post.I know this, but love being reminded.

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer. I know I need reminding all the time...

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    1. Thanks, Crickett. Glad God used these words today in your life, hopefully to encourage your soul...

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  4. I spoke on this recently, yet I still needed to hear it myself! I love "Her success doesn't mean your failure." I believe the enemy of God uses comparison to not only handicap us mentally, but also to prevent us from living up to the call God has placed on our lives. Thank you for your post!

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    1. Thanks, Marilyn. Everything you said is spot on, but we won't let the enemy have the last word, will we?

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  5. Since I'm only a first time author, I'm just glad when someone buys my book. But, it's good to remind myself for whom I write, for whose glory my talents are to be used. thanks for an encouraging post.

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    1. Thanks Robert and congrats on your first book. Delighted this isn't a challenge for you, but I suspect you can pass it along as needed. Blessings.

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  6. Such a good message!!! Thank you for helping us walk this path in grace. What a blessing!
    Sarah

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    1. Thanks SArah, and I'm so glad you liked it. Have a wonderful week.

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  7. Cindy, thanks for putting this important measure out there for all of us to take to heart, and giving us guidelines for putting it into practice.

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  8. Thanks Cindy. If God wanted us to compare ourselves to others, He would have made us all the same so we would quickly recognize when we weren't. And, as you said, His timing and results are all we should be caring about. Excellent post.

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