My heart dropped and I bit my lip to keep from crying. On the page, in black and white, was all the evidence I needed. Never mind what positive and encouraging things folks had said in the past. Never mind that scripture assures me I was wonderfully and beautifully made.
That one negative comment blazed across my vision in a big red X. Who said that?
Oh, she did.
Her post garnered more likes than my post.
Her picture was perfect.
Her wit sharper.
Her humor funnier.
Her advice bolder, holier, and wiser.
Her story had a better plot, cooler characters, stronger verbs, and a more satisfying ending; and, it was just a tale of her niece’s recital. I don’t even have a niece. How am I supposed to compete against that?
I heard that oh-so-familiar voice slither into my ear … Who do you think you are?
As I cowered at the keyboard, another voice – steady and strong and sure – said, “Kristy, you are my redeemed, my inheritance.”
That’s the voice I leaned into, buried my head in His chest, took a few ragged breaths, scooped faith and perfect love and grace into every available pocket, and then turned back to face the screen before me.
For a brief span of time, I had been pinned down in the battlefield of comparison. Poison darts of self-defeat, an advancing army of past failures, the rocket-bright glare of a thousand blank pages I could never hope to fill on my own, and then the near-fatal wound from Miss Perfect. I faltered when I lost my line of sight on His plan and His purpose for my writing, and my life.
The distraction of comparison is a very similar tactic to the one Satan used in the garden, isn’t it? The slithery voice asks, “Is what God gave you really enough?”
If we, as Christian writers, are to heed the call to write AND to complete the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), we must risk vulnerability on many different fronts: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.; both on our personal pages, and on our author sites. Rest assured, we will receive responses from ‘out there’ (others) and ‘in here’ (our own heads).
Take comfort, dear writers, for here are some practical steps to safeguard our tender innards against a wound on the Comparison Battlefield.
- Pray – Pray for protection. Take up the shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16) so that you may believe that He who began a good work in you will also bring that work to completion (Philippians 1:6) Pray to do nothing but that good work (Ephesians 4:29) so that no matter what social media channel you are on, you will be found to walk worthy of His calling (Ephesians 4:1).
- Decide your intention before you even open an app. Do you intend to encourage others? Do you intend to make an announcement/post? Do you intend to pick a fight, rumble out your rant, and sound off about the latest social stumble? Don’t make God sorry He gave you this word gift. Read Genesis 6:5-8 and determine to find favor in God’s eyes.
- Set a timer for each social media channel. Then, obey the clanging alarm when your time is up.
- Report to your Commanding Officer after every tour. Confess your faults, your fears, and your faith. Give praise where praise is due. Seek direction for your next assignment, or simply get some R&R. A weary soldier is as bad as a foe.
- Find a comrade in arms. The NLT gives us a great picture of how and why to incorporate this principle from Ecclesiastes 4:12: “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”