Okay, So we have all heard the phrase, "The grass looks greener on the other side." I'm sure you've even had someone tell you that, or maybe you yourself have told someone else that. Well today I want to share with you something personal to my own life. I want to explain how I got caught in what I like to call, "The Comparison Trap." We've all been there once or twice, I just made it my home for a while and I recently MOVED [word play I haven't moved out just yet.] I want to share with you my story on how I dealt with comparing myself to others, losing myself, and then finding my true confidence in God. This should get interesting. Let's take a stroll shall we?
For most of my life I was always involved in some kind of preforming art activity. I LOVED anything that had to do with art. I always wondered as a kid why I was never good in school, why teachers never choose me as their favorite, why I needed a tutor to do basic math, why being organized and clean was so hard for me - I essentially wondered why I never fit in with the other kids at my small private school. Why was art my favorite class? Why was I so good at dancing and not afraid to get on a stage with hundreds of people looking at me? Why did I feel so comfortable to be myself when "myself" wasn't really that cool? To be honest, I tried to change who I was as a kid, and growing up, to fit in with people but I just couldn't. Have you ever been so "YOU" that even if you lie and try to be something else, you can't? Well that was my internal struggle, let's just say.....hmmm..... most of my life.
As I grew up I did find some people that were just like me in the sense they loved art, of all kinds. I had friends in the drama group, the theatre group, the choir, art class, dance class, cheerleading, writing clubs, poetry clubs, and so much more. It was great to have people who loved what I loved. As time went on, you grow up. It may sound morbid but it's reality, time passes and friendships fade. Once college hit it was so hard to find people to connect to again. I would try to "do me" but I never felt like I fit in anywhere. How is a 20 year old dealing with the struggle to "fit in?" Nevertheless, I was dealing with that and decided to "do me" alone because there weren't many people who understood why on my day off I was ripping up jeans, or filming a make up tutorial, or cutting out pictures from a magazine and gluing them to anything in sight.
If I'm being 100% honest with you, "doing me" alone was the worst thing I could have done. I felt alone.... always. I could be in a crowded room and feel like I was the only one there. it brought out this sadness that I can't even explain in words. I tried to mask it with "busy agendas" and more "creative projects" but the more I tried to "do me" and failing to connect to others the more sad I was. It got to a point where what I was creating didn't accurately express who I was anymore. My "art" became fake and dry and bland. I was having a difficult time being original and it seemed as if my "creative juice" was a old cup of lukewarm water just waiting to be poured on some dry plants somewhere.
Not knowing how my sadness was really affecting me I started to compare myself to others around me, mostly the ones doing things I wished I was doing. "Why does she get a college degree so young?" "How come money comes so easy to her?" "How did she get so many subscribers in such a short time, my videos are just as good?" "Why didn't my selfie get 100 likes?" "Why didn't he text me back? Am I annoying, ugly, stupid?" "Why don't I have a cool car" Your insecurities may sound different than mine, but all these questions turn up the comparison volume in our heads. It got to a point where I started seeing what I didn't have as a disability to my dreams.
For example, there's this beautiful girl I follow on Instagram ( no need to say the name, that's not important) and she's a blogger. What's amazing now is that I look to her page for inspiration and motivation but before that wasn't the case. I don't even know this girl and I was upset with her, and many other girls If I might add. She had the best camera, the coolest outfits, the greatest blog set up, all the time in the world to work on her blog, the cutest relationship, the friend sqaud all girls dream about, an adorable puppy, the nicest car, and connections with company and brand deals galore. So to the outside she was basically an angel sent from heaven with the most perfect life ever (not really but that's how it felt.) This comparison grew and grew and all I was spending my time on was stalking her page wondering why I wasn't like that instead of getting out there and doing what God called me to do.
Once I noticed this disgusting, soul sucking habit I was caught in I quickly ran to God (and off of Instagram). I fell to my knees before God not only asking for forgiveness but for healing. Obviously I'm doing all these things and thinking negative thoughts about myself because I am not secure in who God made me. After lots of prayer and time alone with God I did further soul searching (it's what I like to do I'm an ex-pysch major.) I realized the reason why I felt insecure wasn't because I felt like I didn't have what it takes to be what God wants or that my clothes and pictures aren't cool, but that they are. ...... Wait, what? How does that make sense? So, Amanda, you're saying that your insecure because your secure? Huh?
Okay, I can see how that is confusing but let me explain. I think knowing that God has placed certain desires and talents in my life (like I said before, I've loved art ever since I was a kid) that can take me to high places, or places where I had to be with other people who are just as talented and gifted, scared me. The fear of the amazing things God has for me brought in doubt. "What if I fail?" "What if all this hype is just hype?" "What if I am just average? No one remembers just average." Those thoughts are thoughts that I deal with on a daily basis and have to take to God (sometimes a few times a day.) It's something that isn't the strongest point in my mind but the good news is, God is good.
Galations 1:10 says, 10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ."
This verse stuck out to me so much because with my blog and youtube channel I am constantly showing my face, and that's not something I can fake (ask my friends.) So why try to win the approval of man (or in my case girls that I actually look up to) instead of God's? The one thing I have learned from all of this is just because I'm not where I want to be just yet doesn't mean I don't have what it takes to be there. Just because others have accomplished things I want accomplish doesn't mean that I won't see that in my own life. God has placed a special dream inside of me and every step of faith in that dream reveals a little bit more of what God has. I trust in God because He has got me this far. I have confidence now that no man can take. Not because I have a blog or get likes or whatever but because my confidence is found in God.
My happiness is found when I stopped comparing myself / leveling myself up to others and start looking to my God. The confidence I have in myself is not because my hair is red, or I get good grades now (hallelujah, thank you math center), or because I’m good at my job. The confidence I have in myself is because there is a God inside of me who created the stars and the planets. God created time and the idea of money and He created our bodies, and He has a plan for my life. The reason why I am confident is because God saw me when I was struggling, when I was down in the miry clay. He saw me in the valley of the shadow of death and He got low enough to pull me out. He provided, He saved. He healed. He restored. He forgave. He called. He established my path. He gave me a new name. He directed my steps. He comforted me. He handled my situation. If He can do all that, He can do anything. So what do I have to be afraid of? What person do I have to be intimidated by?
You don’t intimidate me anymore. They don’t intimidate me anymore. Numbers on a followers list doesn’t define me. The likes I get/don’t get won't tell me I’m pretty. My GOD does. While unbeknownst to the world, they are searching for affirmation from followers and likes, and subscriptions, and money, and make up, and tinder hook ups, and drake lyrics where I don’t need any of that. Because God. Matthew 6:33 says, "But seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added on to you.." If I seek God's approval first, He will then give me favor with man. If I look to God for my next step, then He will direct my path. So on and so forth, you get it.
I hope opening up about how I struggled with comparison as a creative person helped you in some way. Don't worry about what others are doing, worry about what you are doing - it takes less energy to "do you" than it is to stress over other people, plus you get to be awesome. And like Barney said from How I Met Your Mother (second best television show known to man) "When I get sad, I stop being sad and I'm awesome instead. True story." So I hope you can run to God with your negative thoughts or doubts and let Him heal you and show you your worth. I pray you see just how beautifully awesome you really are. Lastly I hope you know no matter where your walk through the grass takes you that you remember that though we may think the grass is always greener on the other side, it's really only green where you water it. (Stole that from that one Bieber song, thanks JB.)
As Told By,