For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. ~Galatians 1:10
When I was a teenager, I was often consumed with comparing myself to how others looked. The hallways of my school seemed to teem with beautiful girls–the right clothes (ya know, those skinny zip at the ankle guess jeans?) or the perfect blonde curly hair–if I could only look a little more like them….then I would fit in. The culture of my high school was a little cut-throat at times. When I flew 1000 miles away to college to escape the pressure, I landed myself in a sorority that precipitated this ideal even farther–and I found myself in a great battle with an eating disorder.
Later, when I became a teacher, a career I poured every piece of myself into, I compared myself to other teachers-whose class was the most composed walking down the hall, which teachers had students with highest test scores, etc. As educational consultants, “the experts,” came in and out of our staff development room, teaching us about the latest and greatest, I would sit in admiration of their knowledge and authority. So much so that I became one a few short years later.
Later, when I became a mom, I completely stopped comparing myself to others. Except in a couple of areas…like every one. As I sat in a mess of toys and dried oatmeal, at least two crying kids at all times, feeling defeated by how hard this new role in my life was, I couldn’t hear one more story about moms who just loved playing with their happy and well-behaved children for hours on end on the living room floor. Would my kids rise up and praise me one day? Would others ever ask me for parenting advice? I struggled with insecurity like I had never had before.
These days, I compare myself to other bloggers–we are a dime a dozen right now–what do I possibly have to offer that is anything special? And, since I have started a new YouTube channel for tween and teen girls I am back to comparing myself to other teenage girls (go figure!). Not that I want to be a teenage girl again, but my peers in this new world of media are very successful teen YouTubers with audiences in the millions-and I can’t help comparing myself to their success since at the moment I have an audience of 40.
All of this comparison has brought me to my knees over and over and over again in my life. And God has the same message for me again, today.
His voice is gentle but prodding.
He tells me to look up, not around.
He is to be my audience of one.
Not stats that spike with followers or likes or subscribers. Not admirers of my knowledge as an educator. Not children that act perfectly and grocery store shoppers that nod their heads in approval of my magnificent parenting skills-ha! Not the world that I want to see me as an attractive-ish, fashionable-ish, forty-something. None. Of. That.
When we serve our Creator, we do not disappoint. He subscribes, follows, likes, cheers, listens, and approves of anything we do in His name with a pure and willing heart.
It is the echo of His two clapping hands in an empty room that I long to hear.
He is our audience of One.