As I walked out of the bathroom stall, my eyes landed on her Louis Vuitton bag. The attractive stranger was ‘put together’ with her smart suit and polished nails. Her luscious hair hung perfectly around her face. We exchanged nods under our masks. I was too busy letting my mind examine her sleek figure and confident walk to exchange the polite words somehow stuck in my throat. I pictured her traveling to an important executive board where all would watch her impressive delivery.
Then with a certain uncontrolled action, I began to play the comparison game as we both stood in front of the mirror washing our hands somewhere on a long road headed to our separate destinations. But this comparison game almost stopped me in my tracks that day. Why? Only minutes before, I had felt confident and excited with a good hair-day and well-prepared notes tucked carefully in my consignment-store bag. I had a speaking engagement, and felt at the top of my game – until suddenly, I wasn’t. Somehow, through the silent interchange, I placed myself in last place, now feeling less-than and lacking. Head tucked, I quietly exited the bathroom heading back to my car.
Ladies, do you ever look at another woman with a measuring stick? Do you possess the same jealous eyes wishing to look like someone else or have what another person owns? Do you envy the girl who seems positively perfect even in the bathroom?
My story happened just a few weeks ago, but there is a similar storyline in the Old Testament. No, not in a bathroom, but yes, a woman wanting something another lady possessed.
It is an intriguing story. You see, a tall, dark, and handsome man (well, I envision him this way) named Jacob fell in love with a young shepherdess named Rachel. (Genesis 29:18) Jacob agreed to work seven years to marry this girl of his dreams. After years of hard labor and much daydreaming, finally, the moment came for their wedding ceremony. (Genesis 29:19-20) Jacob must have thought everything was falling into place, for he was to marry this girl ‘lovely in form.’ There was much celebration, feasting, dancing, music, and perhaps much wine. Can you imagine his excitement?
However, on the wedding night, his soon-to-be father-in-law made a quick switch giving Jacob Rachel’s older sister, named Leah instead. SERIOUSLY??? I have always wondered about this! I don’t know if the bedroom tent was utterly black with darkness or the wedding veil covered her face, but somehow, Jacob ended up sleeping with Leah.
The next morning, he marched back to his father-in-law, demanding his Rachel. Jacob loved Rachel more than anything in the world, so he agreed to work another seven years for his true bride. (Genesis 29:21-30)
Can you see where this story will unfold?
Leah and Rachel – two sisters now playing the comparison game. Leah, who wanted to be loved by her husband, began to be jealous that Jacob loved Rachel instead. Rachel, who wanted children began to be jealous of Leah, who had many children, while she was barren. Leah was called the ‘weak-eyed’ one, compared to Rachel, who was noted for her beauty and form. This jealously turned messy and ugly, leaving them both desperate and distressed.
Leah even let the jealousy turn to bitterness. As she produced more children, she hoped that, “Maybe now my husband will finally love me. Maybe now he will finally see me.” (Genesis 29:32-34) Within time, God does redeem Leah, with her last son named Judah. This would be the tribe of which our Messiah would be born. After years of torment, Rachel finally had two sons, Joseph and Benjamin. Jacob loved them deeply. (Genesis 30:30-34; Genesis 35:18) We are left to wonder if Rachel’s heart ever healed, for she dies in childbirth.
Friends, no matter the year, place or space, the comparison game has no winners. It leaves all who play its evil tactics feeling less than and lacking. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the theft of all joy.”
Funny thing, that day as I walked out of the restroom, my bathroom acquaintance trailed behind me into the parking lot as well. My husband, already in our car, watched us both walk across the lot. As I slipped into my seat, he asked, “Did you see that woman checking you out. I bet she thinks you have it all together.” I began to giggle as I shared my story.
Ladies, what if we cheered each other on instead of playing the comparison game? What if we believed just how beautiful we indeed are? What if we knew on our best days that we are loved with His everlasting love? What if we believed on our worst of worst days that we are still loved with that same ever-lasting loved?
My friend, you have been created for your beautiful assignment! There is no need to compare or wish for anyone else’s place or position. Next time you look at that girl in the mirror in the bathroom, tell yourself that you are best at being you. It is time for us both to receive it and believe it. Walk in this today, for it is the truth that sets us free!
(Featured picture from Canva)