Read: Genesis 30: 1-24
Every time I read this Scripture, my heart breaks. The envy and jealousy between Rachel and Leah tears their relationship apart, and their striving forces them to make decisions that create even more bitterness between the sisters. The way they try to outdo one another and find worth in what they can do (providing children) instead of who they are (God’s children) always makes me do a bit of self-evaluation.
We might not be competing with one another in the same way as Rachel and Leah, but it’s still something to be aware of. Are there areas in our lives where we’re so distracted by competing that we’ve lost sight of God’s plan? I’d like to think that these two women started from a place of good intentions, desiring the growth of their families, the joy of doing something bigger than themselves.
It starts like that with me, too. From a place of good intentions I’ll look to see what someone else is doing so that I can be inspired, or learn, or encourage them. But without self-control and understanding my own limitations, I can easily find myself trapped in a cycle of comparison and discouragement…and then I look for other people or courses or ideas to learn from or be inspired by, and I see more ways that I’m not doing enough, or struggling where they’re succeeding, and I’m back to comparing and discouragement. And in that place, I start striving to make things happen on my own, without pausing to consider whether my actions are in line with God’s plan – or if they’ll affect someone else negatively.
I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that you aren’t currently competing with a sibling over the number of children you have, but maybe there IS something that has started to sneak in and distract from your holy hustle. Is it social media? Comparing your work to something a friend is doing? Or maybe you’ve started to feel less than because your schedule doesn’t allow you to volunteer in your children’s classroom as much as another mom. Whatever it is that has you lining up your value and worth against some worldly measuring stick, ask God to help you set new boundaries to protect your heart and mind so you can focus on Him – and His will for your life.
Some questions to consider:
- What role do comparison and envy play in this story – and others throughout Scripture?
- What role have they played in your own holy hustle journey?
- Take a few moments to list different types of work you do, and then see if you can identify any areas where good intentions have turned into comparison. Ask God to help you stand firm and stay focused when facing those challenges.