My husband’s grandpa was an incredible carpenter, and one valuable piece of woodworking advice he passed to Mark was, “measure twice; cut once.” In other words, you’d better make sure you’ve checked your math before you make that cut and you can’t turn back.
I like to measure–I have an odd habit of counting the slices that drop onto the plate as I cut cucumbers; I measure which bite on my plate looks the tastiest and save it for last. I measure how quickly I can fold a load of laundry and put it away (I’ve shaved my time down to 2.5 days). I measure how much time I spent playing Barbies with my three year old without losing my mind. I measure how much food to make so I can have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. It can be incredibly important to measure how much gas it will take to get to church, or how many minutes to walk to the park; but I also have some dangerous measuring habits.
I measure myself against other moms–I have more kids than that one, which means I’m more experienced. I look less put together than that one; she makes homemade birthday gifts.
I measure myself against other writers–she has three books published already; he has 12,000 followers, she masters word play far better than I do.
I measure myself against other wives, other teachers, other real-food-eating moms. Measure, measure, measure.
And, guess what? I find one of two things happens when I measure this way.
One: I find that I am, in my perception at least, doing/being/achieving better than the person to whom I compare myself which leads me to pride & sometimes laziness.
Two: I find that I do not measure up and I feel discouraged and disheartened.
Either way, I do not walk away motivated to run after who God has called me to be.
“We are all unique and needed in this plan. To hide our gifts, or to deny them, or to compare and wish them away is not only taking from yourself; it is taking from God, his church, and a world that needs to see the expression of God you bring.” (Jennie Allen, Restless)
I think Grandpa was right–we should measure twice (or three or four times), but we have to make sure we’re using the right kind of measuring tool. I am to measure myself against who God has designed me to be–this can really only be measured by time in His word and in His presence.
So, let me encourage you, stop measuring yourself against your sister, your neighbor, your best friend, or for goodness sake against someone on Facebook (that’s not real). To hide, deny, or compare your gifts robs you, God, his church, and the world that desperately needs who He made you to be.