“Mirror, mirror on the wall…”
I am sure that you can guess where this is going!
“…who is the fairest of them all?”
Yes, straight from the pages of the Fairy Tale, Snow White. In this tale we find a beautiful woman, a Queen no less, daily asking the question of a magic mirror and on a slippery slope that will destroy her. Her happiness in life is wrapped up, not just in her beauty but how her beauty compares to others. When she is the most beautiful in the land, she is happy, and when she discovers she is not, she does all she can to destroy the more beautiful Snow White.
It’s definitely the stuff of Fairy Tales, and of course ends happily for Snow White, and not so happily for the Queen! But this scenario plays out time and time again in the world today. So if there is anything that we can learn from Snow White, (other than don’t eat the apple!), it is that comparison is destructive.
Comparison is a two sided coin. On the one hand it can leave us feeling proud and superior, while on the other it can leave us feeling insecure, plagued by envy and jealousy. When we place our identity in how we compare to those around us – with our looks, money, profession, in fact in any aspect of life, we will live our lives continually asking the question, “am I the fairest of them all?” When our identity is placed in anything or anyone else other than God we will easily be shaken. We will inevitably spend our lives comparing ourselves to others and our happiness will fluctuate based on how we think we measure up. If we are the “fairest” we will temporarily feel happy, until the situation changes, and it will change…someone comes across our path better, brighter. Our culture is full of making comparisons in our looks, personality, worth, what we have and do not have.
We have a choice as to where we place our security, our confidence. We can place it in how we think we compare to others or in God. God doesn’t compare us to others. His love doesn’t come in a ranked order. When our identity is in God, we will not be shaken and can live secure lives.
I love the words of the song – “My Life is in you Lord.” I think it sums it up perfectly.
My Life is in you Lord,
My Strength is in you Lord,
My hope is in your Lord,
In you, it’s in you”
No need for a magic mirror when you have God!
I’ve taken to watching “The Voice Australia”. The “battles” have started as 2 singers are pitted against other, singing the one song. At the end of it the Judges select one contestants to go through to the next stage. This week, two very different singers were paired for their battle. The first was incredibly extroverted and confident. She had an amazing stage presence and a very clear plan as to how she was going to play her part. She completely dominated the rehearsal. The other singer was more reserved, quiet, with a gorgeous voice. She was however, being unnerved by her competitor and was shaky as to how she could even compete. Joel Madden pulled her aside to give her some advice. He said don’t let your competitor pull you into what she is doing, or for you to try to be like her. You need to remain true to who you are and not to get distracted as to what the other contestant is doing. If you allow yourself to get distracted or try and copy what she is doing you will lose.
Soon it was crunch time. Both girls were on the stage. The first contestant kept to her game plan and dominated the song. Two of the judges commenting that they couldn’t keep their eyes of her. She had energy, she demanded their attention even when it was not her turn to sing. She owned the stage.
The other contestant though, stayed steadfast. She remained herself. She didn’t try to emulate, imitate or copy the other contestant. Her stage presence was serene and controlled. Her dance moves more sultry and slow. Her voice engaging. She did not flinch or react to her competitor.
At the end, despite two of the other judges preferring the first contestant, Joel Madden chose her. And the main reason was that she had remained true to herself, undistracted and undeterred by the other contestant. He valued her strength to be herself.
Comparisons are distractions in disguise. They make you take your eyes of your own strengths, dreams and destiny. If we try to be like someone else, we will at best just be a good copy. But if we stay true to who we are, we will be an original. Christine Caine said this “Don’t chase what is not yours. Save your energy for your purpose.” When we compare ourselves to to others we waste our energy on what would be better spent on our own challenges and opportunities. God has a beautiful plan for each one of us – a creative best that we can accomplish.
Stay true to who you are.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)