One of my deficiencies as a mother is hair. I have two daughters, each with long, flowing heads of hair that beg to be fashioned into braids and buns and all sorts of things I’m terrible at creating.
So when my teen asked me to French braid her hair last week—before she left for a youth group outing to a water park—well, I took it as a personal challenge. Mom can DO this.
My daughter perched on a stool in the kitchen while I slowly, meticulously attempted to weave her ginger locks into two passable braids. It took both of us—four arms, some trial and error and a lot of patience—but in the end I managed to produce a couple of braids that actually turned out quite lovely.
When I dropped my daughter off at her youth group bus, I saw that half the girls milling around the parking lot were also in braids—but not just the regular French braid style, the REVERSE Dutch weave. Fancier, cuter, and apparently the unspoken uniform of youth group young ladies.
And my normal French braids? The ones I’d been so proud of just moments before? They suddenly paled in comparison, and I realized once again my deficiencies with hair.
Ugh! Isn’t that exactly what happens when we look side to side, comparing ourselves to others? When we stack our own talents or accomplishments against another person’s, one of two things happens: we either think we’re better, or we think we’re worse.
Yet neither is true in God’s sight.
From His perspective, we’re all unique, one-of-a-kind children designed to do what He created us to do. We won’t be good at everything; we’ll be good at the right things for us, according to God. His plan for each of us is different and good.
And the same goes for our children. How easy is it to compare our kids to other kids, wondering if they’re measuring up—in academics, athletics, arts, social circles? If we stand before our children and look them in the eyes, we know without a doubt they’re each a God-given treasure. Trouble comes when we shift our eyes from their faces to their surroundings, evaluating one child’s performance or worth against the crushing weight of the crowd.
So how about we take a stand today? You and me and every parent resting in God’s gentle grace. Instead of looking side to side at our neighbors and comparing ourselves (or our kids) to another, let’s choose to look UP, at our Heavenly Father, who does not call us deficient.
He calls us His own.