With so many questions swirling during this season of crisis, you’ve probably asked yourself this: What is everyone else doing right now?
You and your husband have had to completely shift from what you were doing three months ago and are now operating in a completely different world. Online church is no longer a great idea, it’s now your life.
As a pastor’s wife, you have taken on roles you never expected, including camera operator, sound technician, social media expert, and possibly makeup artist. You know that one area of your home that needs to be relatively clean for the upcoming recording, and you’ve found the spot where you can put the kids so they’re (mostly?) quiet.
However, if you’re like me, you’ve also found yourself looking around “church world” and wondering how everyone else is fairing. Maybe you’re asking yourself these questions:
- What are other churches doing?
- Are we doing it right?
- Are other churches doing this whole online thing better than us?
- Why do others seem to be having greater success?
Or, in darker moments, maybe you’re asking questions like:
- Why can’t our online look/experience/lighting/content be as good as theirs
- Why can’t we have more influence/impact/views/engagement?
- Why don’t our finances/giving look like that other church?
- Why can’t we be more wildly successful, like that other church
Comparison is a sneaky game and never appears wrong at the onset. Comparison initially walks in the room with a seemingly innocuous assignment: “Let’s look for ways we can get better”. However, comparison quickly turns and opens the door for his two best friends: panic and discouragement. Panic stirs us up and rushes us towards overwhelming fear, while discouragement slows us down, blankets us with hopelessness, and renders us ineffective.
In those moments when I’ve been tossed in the throws of comparison, I find myself either running scared that we aren’t doing enough, or shutting down and convinced that nothing is ever going to work.
Neither place is where God wants us. Neither place is from Him.
Comparison steals every good thing from us. Comparison takes away our ability to see God’s path and His provision, and instead whispers, “You’re not good enough”.
On those days when I find myself in the middle of the crippling game of comparison, I have three questions that always bring me back from the edge:
1. What do I have in my hand?
This question shreds the excess and refocuses me back on the beauty and richness of my own life:
- Who are the people I currently have in my life?
- What resources do I have? Finances, home, car, church, ministry, job and more.
- How has God wired me with my own gifts, talents, calling?
2. What can I do TODAY with what’s in my hand?
When I remember I’ve only been promised today, it reminds me of my opportunity to live this one and only life, and to do so with much intentionality and love.
3. Do I trust God with my future path?
Even though others may seem to have more ease or success, God is my way maker. As I trust Him with my whole heart, ease up on leaning on my own understanding, acknowledge Him every step of the way, He has promised to make my path straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
These are unprecedented times, and we have an incredible opportunity to advance the Gospel in unparalleled ways. As you and your husband lead and serve the people in your lives, guard against the destructive game called comparison, and trust that God Himself has positioned you in exactly the right place, for His purposes, for His glory, to accomplish infinitely more than you can ask or imagine!
“I am a mama in the middle of raising four kids, both biological and adopted. As a devout rule follower, I married a man who’s much more interested in adventure than staying within the lines, which has resulted in a lot of great stories of my own. As a pastor’s wife and women’s director, I do a lot of church stuff. But at the end of the day, I don’t want to “do church” well. I want to be the Church well.”
Julie is married to Joel and they have 4 great kids. They live in Westminster, CO, where they serve at Harbor Church, a thriving church plant.