Comparison vs. Inspiration

One of the biggest killers of joy in parenthood is the feeling of failure. And one of the biggest causes of this feeling comes from that deadly enemy – comparison.

You know how it is. You go to Jenny’s house for a play date, and get talking. She tells you about how she gets her five children dressed by 7:30 am every day, then they all sit down and have an hour-long Bible study looking up original texts and reading the Greek together. By the time you leave, you are feeling like a complete failure – and you’re not too sure you want to visit Jenny again any time soon.

Looking for inspiration

Search for the inspiration in every situation.

But here is what I want to tell you: God doesn’t want you to take a guilt trip. I’m convinced that people like Jenny are placed in your life to inspire you, not drive you to unhealthy comparisons that leave you helpless and dejected.

In Proverbs 31 we read about that amazing woman – the wife of noble character. Note how it opens by saying “who can find” such a woman. She is rare. It’s quite likely that you, the reader, are not such a model of Godliness as she is – but read on anyway. Why? Not to make you feel like a failure, but so that you can be inspired by what is good, noble and right.

Here are some definitions of being inspired:

  • To be filled with enlivening or exalting emotion
  • To be stimulated to action; motivated
  • To be affected or touched
  • To have something drawn forth; to have something elicited or aroused
  • To have energies or ideals stimulated

Imagine if you left Jenny’s house feeling this way, instead of allowing yourself to feel beaten up by comparison. What a blessing that visit would have been to you – and Jenny too.

Being inspired does not mean that you then have to go home and start your own Greek studies – though this might be just what you want to do. Rather, it means that you see how great it is that Jenny has found a way to bring God into her home that works for her, and you are eager to find something that works for your family, too.

It took me a long time to realise that Bible study with my children did not have to be the same format every day. Now, that might sound obvious to you, but to me it was a revelation!  If you’ve read my post on the phase-eeze you’ll know that I have trouble sticking with something very long-term, but prefer to go through phases of intense focus on one topic at  a time. Whilst I think this tendency needs to be balanced with dedication, I also know that in some way it is a deep part of me, and I must learn to work with it. So the realisation that we could do a different type of Bible study each day was a dream come to true to me! We now have a rota of different study types for each day of the week, and for the first time I’ve found it easy – and JOYFUL – to stick to!

For you, this might look quite different. Maybe you’re an art buff – bring drawing into your Bible time. Maybe you’re a history nut – excite your children with the historical accuracy of the Bible. Maybe you just can’t get up in the morning, but manage to get everyone in one place at bed time – read then! What it looks like in my family is not what it has to look like in yours. It’s okay to “do it your way”! So long as you are seeking the Lord in every choice, you really can’t go wrong.

So next time you are tempted to compare your efforts with someone else, decide instead to look for inspiration.



  1. March 24, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    “So long as you are seeking the Lord in every choice, you really can’t go wrong.”. Beautifully stated! Thanks.

  2. Ashley said,

    March 24, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    I think the other thing about comparison is that every family (just like every person) has strong points and weak points. So we should both be inspired by the strong points of others, and thankful for those things that come easily to our own family.

  3. Shannon said,

    March 24, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    This is a great post! I think that people don’t realize that being inspired is something that (in the beginning) you have to work at and it takes effort. Like you said, its much easier to negatively compare. But once you start looking for it inspiration is everywhere. And once you start seeing it, then you too can become inspiring 🙂 Cheers!

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