In college, a friend of mine would pray for blinders–you know, blinders, the little eye patches that horses wear to keep their eyes from looking behind or beside them. It’s to help horse from becoming distracted or panicked by what they see anywhere but ahead. Blinders force horses to keep their gaze fixed firmly ahead. There’s nowhere else to look. I always thought praying for blinders was silly. But I’m finding myself praying for them. And maybe you should too.
Lately, I’ve been struggling with comparison, confidence, and competitiveness, as a writer, as a woman, as a follower of Christ. I find my gaze drifting to the left, I find my gaze drifting to the right. I find myself looking over my shoulder. And you know what I see there? Other people. With gifts and talents and bodies and faces and relationship statuses of their own. Some of which I find myself comparing myself to. She’s thinner than I am, prettier than I am, better dressed than I am. Some of which I find myself getting competitive with. Her writing is getting more attention, she’s writing more than me.
Not only is this kind of thinking and comparison and competition distracting, it’s downright depressing, and seriously dangerous. It takes my confidence and drives it into the ground. It makes me dislike what I see in the mirror. Hate what I write on the page, and I begin seeing others as a threat, they become a distraction, and I’m left panicked that my life isn’t as it should be. That something went wrong when God created me.
And worse, it means my eyes are no longer fixed ahead. No longer looking at Jesus. No longer focused on the plan and purpose God has laid out before me. Proverbs 4:25 says to look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. The writer of Hebrews tells us to strip away the things that will weigh us down in life and keep us from running the race God has set before us. Comparison is truly the thief of joy. It robs you of your contentment. It trips you up in this glorious race of faith that we’re all running.
And worse yet, it’s insulting to God. When we compare ourselves to others, when we put their life side-by-side with our own and we start pointing at all the things that we like better about their life than ours, we’re telling God that we know better. That He, the creator of the Universe, did something wrong when He made you. Talk about a slap to the face. Talk about pride. Talk about selfishness. Talk about coveting. Talk about entitlement. It’s all sin.
If you’re single and find yourself comparing your lack of a significant other to those that are FB official, pray for blinders. When it happens, it will happen in God’s time.
If you’re struggling with how thin or buff you aren’t or how pretty or handsome you don’t think you are compared to so-and-so-apparent-perfect-person, pray for blinders. God knit you in your mother’s womb. He didn’t make a mistake when He created you.
If you’re feeling competitive toward a fellow brother or sister in Christ, pray for blinders. You’re on your own path that God has laid before you. Focus on yourself and your journey.
There is beauty in having blinders. The thing is, we’re all in different stages of life, on different paths, but we all are racing toward the end together. Don’t allow your eyes to wander. It will only make you trip and stumble. We can’t afford to be distracted. When we do it opens a door to the enemy, it sets you back. Pray that your gaze won’t stray from journey ahead. That it will stay laser focused on Jesus.