We are a few months into our adoption process, and boy is it a process. Many things involve huge stacks of paper and long interviews but I think this process is the most rewarding of them all. Just the thought of holding our little girl puts a smile on my face and brings tears to my eyes. I love adoption. Everything about it. Well… almost everything.
Somewhere in the world there is a mother and a father that are letting go of their child so that our family could welcome her in. Somewhere in the world there is a woman who stuck it out through 9 months of pregnancy and the pain of labor for her. Somewhere in the world there is a man who willingly or unwillingly will come to the conclusion that he cannot father her. Somewhere in the world there are birth parents for our daughter that together created her, and honestly it’s a little hard to stomach.
There will always be a piece of our daughter that wants that connection; there will always be questions that I may not be able to answer.
In one of our first classes we were going over the basics of adoption and I heard something that has stuck with me these past few months. The instructor said that they encourage bio families to “meet the adoptive families in order for both sides to de-monster-ize the other”. (Yea, I’m not even sure that’s a word and judging by the squiggly red line under it, my computer isn’t either). Such an interesting thought! Spending time with someone who may be built up in your head as a monster to make them human again. Seriously, I love this.
I can recall many times in my own life when I have made judgments of a person that I had never even had a conversation with. We do it all the time. We assume that a person is “stuck up” when they don’t talk to us but just maybe they are an introvert and have a hard time opening up to people. We assume that a person is “full of themselves” when they are constantly looking in a mirror but just maybe they are so self-conscious that they have to keep tugging at their clothes and making sure their hair is just right. We assume that people have “everything” but just maybe they are trying to hide the fact that they are secretly battling depression or anxiety and put on a happy face for show. We assume a lot. (These are just a few of the assumptions that were made of me as a teen.)
Junior high and high school are hard. We are trying to figure out who we are, what we believe, and what we are here for in the midst of everyone else trying to do the same. Every time we turn around we see another absurdly beautiful or outrageously athletic girl that causes us to question our own place on the “totem pole”. Where do we line up, we wonder. Not knowing that this game of constant comparison is not only killing our own self esteem but making enemies of complete strangers at the same time.
I mean seriously, I hate looking at the Victoria’s Secret models. No one looks like that. But in reality I don’t even know them. I just know that I don’t like how I feel about myself when I see one which is not a reflection of them, but it is one of me. They are not the enemy. They are simply prompters of our own thoughts and emotions toward ourselves.
Unfortunately it doesn't take much for our feelings to get involved.
Whether it is the girl you've never spoken to, the friend you haven't spoken to in weeks, or the friend you talk with all the time that has life seemingly "all figured out"- if you think you are safe from making them out to be the enemy then just think back to the last time that same girl has posted something on her Instagram that made you feel inferior. The place she visited, the clothes she bought, the figure she rocks, or the things she gets to do. It doesn't feel too great, right?
Something happens inside of our hearts every time we compare our lives with the lives of others and we grow more bitter and more cold toward them. We make them out to be the monster and ourselves to be the victim. But it's been long enough, girls, it's been long enough.
So here is my challenge for you… Find someone on your campus (or in your youth group) that you have been intimidated by or isolated from. Someone who may make you feel inferior or at odds with them- and invite them to coffee. Yea I know it sounds crazy but the truth is that when we spend time with people it really does de-monster-ize them. They are no longer the big bad wolf but a fellow classmate or church goer with similar struggles or thoughts. And not only will we make a new friend in the process, but we will be refusing to play the comparison game and argot (yep that’s a word- it means “because of this”) build a little confidence of our own.
So be a friend and if you’re going to fight, fight the urge to compare! You are beautiful!
Hebrews 12:14-15 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.