Compared to Her: Book Review

comptoherThis morn­ing in my face­book feed a num­ber of col­leagues from med­ical school and my pre­vi­ous work­place were cel­e­brat­ing their suc­cess­ful pass­ing of their General Practice exams. Instead of my first reac­tion being one of cel­e­bra­tion with them, I suf­fered the effects of Compulsive Comparison Syndrome — I looked up at them and thought: “how won­der­ful their life is, if only I hadn’t tak­en a year off last year I could be in their shoes, their lives are so much eas­i­er because they’ve passed their exams, I’m nev­er going to pass my exams, I don’t even know when I will sit them.”

I’ve dis­cussed before how impor­tant it is for me to ensure my iden­ti­ty is ground­ed in Christ rather than the exter­nal out­work­ings of my life. Well, this book by Sophie de Witt both con­firms and expands on this as an ongo­ing issue in the lives of women. In par­tic­u­lar she dis­cuss­es our ten­den­cy as women to con­tin­u­al­ly com­pare our­selves to oth­ers around us — whether that is to make our­selves feel bet­ter about our­selves “at least my house isn’t as messy as hers” or in a way that makes us feel dis­sat­is­fied and dis­con­tent with our own sit­u­a­tion “if only I had what she had, then I’d be hap­py”

This is a short book and an easy read, it doesn’t use the most elo­quent lan­guage or have exten­sive ref­er­ences, but it speaks to the heart and expos­es our (my) com­pul­sive com­par­i­son mak­ing for what it real­ly is — sin.

The beau­ty of this book is that it doesn’t just leave the read­er even worse off than it found her, rather, de Witt explores the under­ly­ing caus­es of our ongo­ing com­par­isons, and how we can be free from them — name­ly through the free­ing gospel of Christ, find­ing our iden­ti­ty in Him rather than in com­par­ing our­selves to those around us.

I’d hap­pi­ly give this book to any woman to read, I am sure (espe­cial­ly after read­ing) that I am not the only one who strug­gles with this. Although unashamed­ly a Christian book, it would be very suit­able to give to women who are not Christians, and I think I might even encour­age my hus­band to read it, just so that he has more of an insight into how my mind works at times!

So today I can cel­e­brate gen­uine­ly with my friends who have passed the mile­stone I have yet to face, because my val­ue and worth is not depen­dent on com­par­ing myself to them, my worth is found in Christ, what He has done for me and who He has made me to be.

If you would like to read anoth­er excel­lent review of this book (in fact the very rea­son I thought to read it in the first place) have a look at Wendy’s blog here.

I died to sin upon the cross
I’m bound to Jesus in his death
The old is gone, and now I must
Rely on him for every breath
With every foot­step that I tread
What mys­ter­ies he has in store
I can­not know what lies ahead
But know that he has gone before.
-This Life I live, by Michael Morrow

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