By Rachel Van Hook
The green numbers on the microwave clock told me it was 5:36 p.m. In the playroom behind me, a Gotham city had been constructed, complete with Bat Cave, a Mr. Freeze something or other, and a Joker Fun House. The dog was on the couch contrary to the No Dogs On the Couch Rule, chewing up his fifteenth Frisbee. The sweetest pair of eight-year-old hands was helping me mix up some post-dinner brownies. And a couple of puzzle masters were hard at work on a PAW Patrol scene.
My husband walked in the door to ear-piercing squeals of delight followed by lots of leg hugs and cries of, “Daddy, look at me!”
When dinner was ready, the finest of paper products laid out in a tidy circle around our poor kitchen table (born long before I was), I gathered the chef, city builder, Barbie hair brusher, and puzzle finishers to the table to eat. Just then, a knock sounded at the door. My friend had arrived to pick me up for a meeting.
Now, let me tell you about my friend. Sisters, she is a genuine friend-til-the-end friend. Our families hang out together often. Our husbands are on staff at the same church. If I have absolutely anything at all to pray about, she is quickly on her knees with me. We have so many great things in common.
But we also differ in many ways.
I find myself envying this dear friend of mine often. She keeps a clean house with minimal junk and excess. She can cook the most amazing meal on any given night without leaving behind a speck of messy evidence that she cooked at all. She is a behind-the-scenes powerhouse. Her kiddos are homeschooled and normal! She is talented in so many ways. And she is absolutely beautiful inside and out.
So let’s just chat for a minute about the way my heart started pounding that night. I knew she was coming, but as soon as I heard that knock, the sometimes unstoppable thoughts began. Maybe some of them sound familiar to you.
Look at this mess! She will think we’re pigs! What will she think about what I’m feeding my kids? Oh my word, she’s going to buy us some cleaning wipes and dishwasher soap to clean up this awful sty.
She walked in as my husband served everyone their random dinner of fried chicken, corn salsa, Cajun corn muffins, and Kool-Aid. Then she chitchatted with my family while I gathered my wallet and powdered my nose. I closed my bedroom door behind me sneakily, as if she were considering running behind me to check if I’d made my bed.
I can’t explain it, y’all.
I know my friend doesn’t think those ridiculous things about me, my family, my kitchen, or my dinner menu. I know she loves me for who I am! By George, I know she would still be my friend even if she knew my bed wasn’t made! As a matter of fact, her first words to me as we walked down my front steps were, “I sure do love your family!”
And you know what? She really meant that.
Listen, I try my best to control the comparison beast that rises from deep within me. But people, sometimes I just can’t! Even with my own dear friends, comparison is and always will be a constant battle.
There will forever be women in our lives who do things different from the way we do them. There will always be women who seem to have it all together compared to us. They will be more beautiful. Their kids will be better behaved. Their husbands will have better beards. And their bodies will seemingly never age.
Here’s the thing: We cannot escape those who have what we want, but we can escape our desire to have what they have.
I’m here today to propose we put something I call the Girlfriend Pact into effect. I want to be the first to stand before women everywhere and apologize for my feelings of envy and inadequacy. You did absolutely nothing to make me feel that way. My feelings of insecurity are between God and me.
I also would love for us to promise each other that, regardless of where we are in life and what our kitchens, marriages, parenting, styles, bodies, dinner choices, or beds look like, we will allow Christ to help us exchange insecurity in ourselves for confidence in who he created us to be.
So the next time a friend or even stranger comes knocking at my door, I’m going to break out the old Girlfriend Pact and allow myself to breathe in confidence that who and what I am are exactly what God meant for me to be!
Will you join the Girlfriend Pact?
Rachel Van Hook was born and raised in the Casey Jones capital city of Jackson, Tennessee. She’s mom to three girly girls, married to her church camp sweetie, and passionate about . . . well, according to her husband, she’s just passionate! Rachel blogs at racheljvanhook.com.