Be sure to read this through to the end.
Last night I had a dream that I was on a TV show where people were watching my family and other families live our normal, everyday lives. We were just doing our thing, raising our kids, and having a good time in life.
But in the dream, I was feeling competitive. I kept checking to see our show’s ratings and, particularly, what people thought of me as a character on this show. It was like the results were posted at the end of each day, and I could see how many people were following, liking, or voting for me, Chelsea, on the show. In my insecurity, I checked what other people were getting for votes as well, to see how I compared with them, you know, to make sure I was keeping up.
Do you know how many votes or likes I had? One. Just one (1) follower. You know how that makes you feel? If you only have one “like” on a photo or something that you post? I felt like that. Sort of dumb and embarrassed. Sort of OK with it, too, because it was what it was.
I frantically checked what another person got, and to my relief, she also had just one “like,” one follower, one vote. For some reason, that made me feel better about myself. She had only 1. Phew.
When I woke up from this dream, it stuck with me all day, as dreams sometimes do.
I do not consider myself a competitive person, and I certainly don’t feel like I should be considered better than anyone else. But I do have a nagging fear of not being able to keep up. I prayed about it, wondering why I would be feeling so insecure and competitive in a silly dream that didn’t really make sense.
And these words came to me in my time of prayer:
God, do I need a comparison detox? What does that mean? Should I fast from something so that I can be purified in my heart? Should I take a break from reading other people’s blogs? Should I take a break from social media and checking in on how my friends are doing?
I decided that maybe I need some time to be creative instead of wasting my time comparing my life with the lives of other people–particularly women in my demographic: American moms in our 30s, trying to keep our kids and houses healthy and in order–and to redefine beauty in an age when we have access to endless beauty that we observe and share on virtual platforms.
I think God was telling me that I need some good old-fashioned spiritual discipline. I need to fast, abstain, and detoxify, purify my heart and mind. I still don’t know exactly what this means or what it will look like, but at least I am sure of one thing: I need to cleanse.
And I think it has something to do with the example set by Jesus at the last supper: the washing of feet. An attitude of “how can I serve others?” instead of “how can I keep up with others?”
Back to my dream: For some reason the number in the dream, the one vote, really stood out to me. Because how pathetic is that? Just one “like” on an entire day of my life? Just one?
I asked God, “Why just one vote, God? Why just one follower? Why just one ‘like’ for me, and the same exact number for my friend?”
And God, because he is so awesome, said, “It’s me. I am your one vote. I am her one vote.”
It was God that “liked” my day. And it was Him who followed my heart, and judged everything about me–everything that really mattered. God cares about each one of us and follows us throughout our day. He is the only judge who matters, and he is not judging the way the world judges.
Suddenly the dream made so much more sense: no one really knew me or cared about me the way He did. And comparing myself to anyone else was a waste of time; at the end of the day, we were all equally loved and celebrated.
Was I OK with that? Was I going to be all right with everyone seeing that I had only 1 vote?
Yes, I’m definitely OK with that.
Should I try my best in all areas of my life? Yes.
Do I have to keep up with everyone else?
Other women have been posting about this topic of comparison as well, which tells me that it’s not just me who feels parched and tired, trying to keep up. Maybe God gave me this dream to help another woman today who needs to hear that she has God on her side, and he loves her, and he hopes that she can find peace and rest in Him, the living water that never runs dry. You don’t need to prove yourself to anyone. Just love others and be eager to serve the poor and needy.