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Comparison is the Thief of Bravery

By Abby McDonald

Brave Women Series - Abby's Story

Comparison is one of the biggest thieves of bravery.

And in today’s culture, it has never been easier for us to compare our lives, gifts and spiritual walk to someone else’s. When I sense God calling me to take a step of faith, I often get derailed when I look at another sister and think, “I’m not the person for this task. She could do this better than me.”

This happened a few years ago, when I was given my first opportunity to speak at a writers’ conference. At first, I was thrilled by the invitation and prepared my workshop with enthusiasm about what God would do. I wanted to encourage other writers to pursue their dreams and share the knowledge I’d gleaned in my own journey, and could think of no better way to do so.

Then, I pulled up the list of faculty on the conference website and read some of the bios. I was met by dozens of faces of authors and experts in the field who had decades of experience and long lists of accolades behind their names. Suddenly, instead of being eager to share my gifts, I felt inadequate. I was certain I was not the person the coordinator had in mind when she sent the email.

For the next couple of days, I thought of possible reasons I could give to not attend the conference. While I was able to come up with plenty of possibilities, I also knew backing out was not an option. God was asking me to take a step of courage, and in the end, it wasn’t about me.

When I arrived at the conference center the following fall, I was prepared. My slides were ready to go, and my talk was well rehearsed and timed. But I was still nervous. Fear of failure lurked in the back of my mind as I dined with the attendees and exchanged writing stories.

Even though the fear didn’t go away, I realized something. When I embraced my role as part of a body of believers instead of an individual fighting for her place, bravery came. I was brave because I saw each person around me as an integral part of Christ’s bride, working together to make her complete.