You might call it the “SuperMom Complex.” You’re at a social event, and you’re introduced to a woman who seemingly breezes through life nursing her newborn, baking cookies in the shape of cherubs, and climbing the corporate ladder, all at the same time. You’ve just been comparison shopping — comparing what seem to be your meager talents to the skills of a SuperMom — and you think of yourself as severely lacking.
I’ve engaged in this comparison shopping ever since elementary school. Lacking any discernible athletic talent, I looked with envy to those girls gifted in basketball, soccer, and cheerleading abilities. I knew I could not compete, so I sulked.
As I grew older, I came face-to-face with the reality I had not inherited by Italian grandmother’s amazing ability in the kitchen. For my parents’ wedding anniversary, I attempted to surprise them by trying to make pancakes. I had no idea such an enterprise required flipping the pancakes over. The odor of burnt breakfast food permeated our two-bedroom apartment for days.
Lately, I’ve felt vastly inferior in the area of artistic expertise. It seems that, virtually every other week, a friend of mine unveils her latest icon. I stare at an artistic rendering worthy of Michelangelo, and I am haunted by the stick figures that I deem too complicated to draw.
In a one-woman marathon race, I would come in dead last. If I had to cook for those stranded on an island, my fellow inhabitants would opt for fasting. And it seems as if I am decorating my home with old grocery store receipts and church bulletins. But all is not lost. In reading a fascinating new book called Go Bravely by Emily Wilson Hussem, I have found that the key to overcoming envy is recognizing my innate dignity as an adopted daughter of God.
The astute Emily recalls the delight she experienced when snorkeling in Hawaii during her honeymoon:
“The fish were painted with colors I had never seen before, the most breathtaking electric blues and hot pinks, with patterns and designs on their bodies that no human could recreate in an artistic rendering.”
Emily goes on to liken the vast variety of aquatic life to the amazing variations in women:
“As I floated through the water and soaked in the beauty, I was overcome with the realization that these fish were so much like every woman God ever created—completely beautiful and unique.”
She notes that the fish are not jealous of one another—they are tranquil.
“…I thought to myself, Imagine if every woman in the world felt free to rest in her brilliant individuality and stunning and unique design like a Hawaiian fish does.”
And therein lies a secret to joy — recognizing the unique beauty one possesses as the child of a heavenly King. There is no need for sadness over the talents one lacks; instead, we should all celebrate our lovely, unique gifts.
As Emily points out — and as the title character in the animated film Finding Dory says — we need to keep on swimming through life, while recognizing the incomparable beauty of all God’s children along the way.
For today’s inspiration: What are the unique talents God has gifted you with, and how can you use them to build up the Kingdom of God?
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Copyright 2018 Maria V. Gallagher