My husband and I went on a short cruise last week. L.A. to Catalina to Ensenada then home. There is always a wide variety of people on cruises. Young and hip, old and slow, middle aged and boisterously drunk – all kinds.
I’m not usually one to compare myself to other women. However, lifelong self-esteem issues, which I’ve mostly dealt with, tend to resurface in group situations. I will always be shorter than some, taller than some, slimmer than many (it’s a cruise – people like the buffets), and chubbier than some. But on this trip, there were two women who, through absolutely no fault of their own, made me feel like a hairy troll that had just crawled out from a homeless encampment under a bridge.
The first time I felt this, we were walking into a dining room. Another couple was walking ahead of us. This woman was about 5’10”, super slim, except for her bust, which was surgically enhanced. Her waist and hips were slim and proportional, her neck was long and slender, and her posture was exceptional. I felt like a squatty Hobbit, hairy feet and all.
The next woman sat with her husband at a table next to us at breakfast. I was tired after an uncomfortable night on a very broken down mattress. This young woman was of Asian descent, her long hair was a pinkish red, her summer dress was colorful and fit her slim body perfectly. She had some lovely tattoos on her arms, accented by her sleeveless dress. Next to this technicolor dreamboat, I felt like a matronly character from a 1940s black and white movie. I wasn’t wearing sensible shoes, a girdle, and a hairnet, but I may as well have been.
Now I know it’s wrong, self-defeating, and pointless to compare myself with anyone, especially women decades younger than I. And if I really believe that everything God says about me is true, and I do, these comparisons mean absolutely nothing in the eternal big picture. Comparison breeds envy and jealousy, and those are wrong feelings – they are lies that tell me I’ll never be good enough or pretty enough or slim enough. They are lies that feed sinful feelings of inadequacy, and say to God that what He has made me isn’t good enough.
God loves me with an everlasting love. He tells me I am fearfully and wonderfully made. And most incredible of all, He send his Son to carry my sins to the cross, and die there to pay the penalty for those sins.
In the world’s economy, I won’t measure up to these ridiculous standards I sometimes set for myself. In God’s economy, He loves me no matter what I look like. Whether gravity is winning (and gravity ALWAYS wins), or if the only statement my clothes ever make is “Hey, at least we’re clean!”, God loves me very much. And that is all I ever need.