Comparisons are an unavoidable part of life. They start from the moment you’re born.
“Who does she take after?”
“Ooh, she’s got her dad’s nose/mum’s temper.”
And on it goes…
“How old is she? Is she walking yet? At her age, our Jimmy could somersault.”
You try to resist them. You brush them off.
“Ah, she’ll do it in her own time.”
But like dust, they settle. The doubts and the shoulds…
“She should be crawling.”
“She should be talking.”
“We should be worried…”
But what’s the standard for a human being? What’s normal? What’s okay? And according to whom?
What happens if they fall short? Are they a failure? Or somehow worth…less?
If they don’t see the world like other people. If they struggle to make friends. If they’re too quiet or too loud. If they take up space or ask for too much.
If they don’t know how to talk about their feelings. If their words come out as wounds. If they’re scared by things that others find easy.
If they’re uncomfortable to be around. If they’re not what you expected.
If whatever you try, they won’t be fixed.
What then? Do you shout or plead? Do you blame yourself? Do you put them somewhere where you can’t see them or try to take them back?
Do you talk to them; or about them? And if so, what do you say?
“If you only tried harder.”
“Why can’t you sort yourself out?”
“I don’t know what we did wrong.”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“I love you; exactly as you are.”
We can’t smooth out the lines in other people. We can’t fix them or change them or make them happy or “normal.” We can want them to be a million different wonderful things – but it’s not what they need.
They need to know that it’s okay to struggle. They need to know that there’s not one shape for “good.” They need to know they’re loved and there’s a place where they fit. Not when they’re successful or smart or pretty or sexy or normal. Right now; exactly as they are.
We love, because He loved us first.
(1 John 4:19).