For Halloween last year, we decided to invite two of Henry’s friends and their parents to trick-or-treat with us.  It was his first year to go out, and we thought it would be more fun in a group.

He had a blast.  He loves being with his friends, and having them come to his house, go around for candy, and come back to play was pure joy.  We also happen to really like these two sets of parents, so it was fun for us too.

As the kids were playing, a strange thing happened.  I looked around and realized that this stay-at-home-mom was in a room of professional people, all of whom hold multiple degrees, and three of whom have doctoral degrees.  And while I have worked in professional settings, and I do have a college degree, that’s not the world I live in now.

Enter the comparison trap.  Why was I thinking about levels of education and professional lives on Halloween?  I was pulled into one of the oldest and most dangerous games – comparing myself to someone else.  And I felt like I was coming up short.

Here’s the thing: when I compare myself to someone else, I am focusing completely on me.  My level of selfishness is out the roof.  Most importantly, I have taken my eyes off the One who created me, my abilities, and my talents.  I’m telling Him that what He made is not good enough or right enough.

I am one of the fortunate few who has a ticket to Hutchmoot 2013, a conference held in Nashville by Andrew Peterson and friends to discuss the idea of story in song, film, and books.  I am terrified.  I have a sweet friend who encouraged me to go, my husband has made it possible for me to be gone for three days, I have a ticket – and I’m so afraid of looking ignorant, foolish, and uneducated.  I’m afraid that everyone else will be so much better read, studied, knowledgeable.

But I will go, although I will probably shake like a leaf and sit quietly in the far corner.  Because when we compare ourselves to others, we chain ourselves to our fears.  We don’t allow God to work through us because we are afraid to speak, to show hospitality, to reach out, to share love.