My freshman year playing high school soccer, we had four captains. All seniors, they were the ultimate, the best, the elite.
One in particular stood out to me, Jessica*.
Jessica was eternally gorgeous, perfectly cut and highlighted hair; straight, white teeth like pristine porcelain; at least a size 00. Is 000 a thing? If so, she for sure was.
My older sister was also a senior, so I had known Jessica from afar growing up and knew she came from a family who had more financial means than most. You never saw her without Abercrombie or Banana Republic flanking her lean, fast, midfielder legs. I remember thinking then, “Man, what would it be like to be her?” Beautiful clothes, beautiful home, beautiful body, face, hair, reputation…
But I also knew, her parents were divorced. Her adolescent siblings were split (by choice) between their parents’ homes. “Well, I wouldn’t want that…”
Thinking back on that half a lifetime later, I realize I still battle in this comparison war. I don’t have Instagram or Pinterest to blame, but myself and my choice to dwell on pictures of lives I don’t fully know.
Do you fight this battle too? Does “what would it be like to be her” wage assault in your soul?
Let me offer you this, my friend: a magic wand. As I stand before you and pass you this magic wand, before your fingers spin around the gnarly wood, thoughts are going at the speed of light of the first things you’d want to change… your love handles, your cellulite, your shame, your anger, your mismatched home décor, your mismatched life.
With this wand in your hand, you begin to use it…
Body: Instagram influencer perfection
Makeup: Kylie Jenner’s a fan & her next cosmetics collection is YOUR NAME HERE x Kylie
Car: Shiny & new
House: Magonlia’ed and Joanna Gaines’ed from shiplap to open floor plan to subway tile
Memory: On Point
Anxiety: Rest. In. Peace.
As the feeling of these changes envelop you, you rest in them and they sink in. Are you happy? You have expecto patronum ‘ed away all the dementors of discomfort, shame, guilt, your body weighing too much, your worth weighing too little… are you truly content?
You swished and flicked your wand and spoke evanesco so the health-killing, peace-stealing, joy-destroying aspects of your life vanished… are you happy NOW?
My guess, dear friend, is no. We know our world is not peace-driven. We know our families are not picture perfect. We know that what others see on the outside is not what goes down on the inside.
Grace, amazing grace, is what we need for ourselves in these moments. The grace we breathe is the only magic we need, and purposeful thoughts are our nonverbal, heavenward meditations.
Truth when circumstances scream falsehood.
Nobility when we feel poor in spirit.
Righteousness when the road is winding, dark, cold and treacherous.
Purity when our soul feels muddy and heart feels unclean.
Loveliness when we strive to look like Julia Roberts but feel like the Wicked Witch of the West.
Admiration when we are downtrodden and in the pit of despair.
Let comparison die, grace is as simple as the swish and flick of a wand, and the true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable thoughts and actions be your mind’s joy. You do not need magic, I promise. You just need the grace of Jesus.
Italic spell words from the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling