When we first moved to Charlotte in July 1995, we didn’t know anyone. JJ had just graduated from VA Tech 6 weeks earlier, we had a newborn (Joshua) and were both starting new jobs – me at home; him at work. Here I was in a new city, looking for a new church and hoping to find some new friends. I was so lonely and felt so insecure.
Charlotte is a very big, very wealthy and very busy city. There are huge churches, huge neighborhoods and lots of huge houses. Everywhere I went, women looked like they had it all together. I struggled so much with comparison and felt like no one needed a friend except me.
I had only been a Christian for 6 years and was still looking through the world’s lens to define what mattered most in a friendship. I had nothing to give; nothing that would make me “desirable” as a friend. I didn’t know what I was doing as a mom. I needed someone to show me. I didn’t know much about being a wife either. We’d only been married 18 months. I didn’t even have a cute house that would be fun to host a play date.
The mom’s I met in the nursery or at mom’s groups were all married to someone their age or older, so they had a house, nice clothes and more stuff than we did. I felt so discontent in our tiny apartment with minimal furniture. I thought that if women who had it all – in my eyes- knew how much we didn’t have, they wouldn’t want to be my friend. (I know that is crazy but a girl’s gotta be honest.)
Our bedroom furniture was mine from grade school. Our nursery had a consignment store white metal crib and a dresser I bought for $5 from friend. We had one rocking chair and a couch so there wasn’t much seating in the living room. We rarely had friends over and when we did I was embarrassed to show them around. (I’m sorry if my selfishness offends you. Now you know how very imperfect I am…which is a good thing.)
A year after we moved here, a friend told us about a sweet 1250 square foot cottage-like home in their neighborhood. It even had a one-car garage and fenced in backyard. Our first home. I loved it. I just knew I’d be content and finally be able to open my home to friends.
My house was great until God gave me friends with bigger houses. I’ll never forget a mutual friend introducing me to a really fun mom who had a son the same age as Joshua. The boys became buddies and our families started hanging out together. The only problem was that her husband was a professional football player. I never wanted her to see my house because I knew it was probably the size of her garage.
As you can imagine, my relationships with women were pretty “on the surface” in my late twenties and early thirties. It took me years to develop meaningful friendships. I look back now and see how all of that comparison kept me from having or being a good friend.
When we compare how we feel on the inside about our selves with how someone else looks like she has it all together, we will never see the beauty of what we each have to give to each other.
I am so glad God kept bringing women into my life that had much more stuff than I did, and still continues to do so. Through this process He searches my heart to see what I think matters most in a friend and challenges me to give from the riches He has stored, not in my home but in my heart.
Is it just me, or do all women struggle with comparison- whether we compare our homes, our kids, our husbands, our ministries, our abilities, our weight, our wardrobe, our personality, our (you fill in the blank) ______? And doesn’t it hurt our relationships with each other?
Has comparison ever affected how you see yourself as a friend or how you approach those you want or don’t want to be friends with? If so, how?
I’ll be doing my “friend-shippy” give-away this weekend. I plan to print all of the comments from this week and draw a name. So, post your thoughts on comparison and you will be entered. Simply click on the word, “Comments” below and be sure to include your email in case you win.