Sophie de Witt is a mind reader.
Last week I had a couple of hours spare one afternoon waiting for an appointment. I happened to have borrowed a book called Compared to her… earlier in the week and it was still in my bag. I lazily pulled it out and thought I’d flick through a chapter or two.
Boy was I in for a surprise! Have you ever read something and thought ‘How do they know?’ Well this is what happened. Page after page I found myself thinking ‘this is me! How can she possibly know what’s going on in my head and my heart! I don’t even know this woman!’
Now in the interest of full disclosure she does warn you in the introduction that this may be the case saying ‘in fact, although I don’t know you at all I’m fairly sure that you have CCS. That’s not meant to sound rude! It’s just that I’ve rarely met a woman who doesn’t struggle with it.’ But who reads the introduction?
CCS or Compulsive Comparison Syndrome is comparing myself with others to see if I ‘win’ compared to her or ‘lose’ compared to her. Am I better looking, thinner, more stylish than her? Is my house nicer and more presentable? Did I get a better ATAR or uni results than she did? Am I more competent or more able? Are her children better behaved than mine? Does she have a more attractive, more charming, kinder husband than I do? And Sophie suggests we even do it when it comes to godliness. Do I know my Bible better than she does? Am I more regular at church, serving more, giving more than she is? As I read I found myself realising that I am constantly comparing myself to the other women in my life, some of whom I don’t even know (and who only really exist on the covers of magazines and billboards).
The book suggests that almost all women struggle with CCS and it’s tearing us to shreds. When we make these comparisons it ends one of two ways. We either ‘win’ and feel proud and superior, or we ‘lose’ and feel bitterness, envy, and despair. It’s ruining our relationships with ourselves, each other and most importantly with our Lord.
CCS isn’t a skin-deep problem. It’s caused by our desire to put ‘me’ at the centre of the universe, and at the centre of our hearts. Instead of finding our significance, satisfaction and security in our God we seek to find it in how we compare to those around us.
I’d said a resounding ‘YES!’ to every word of the book so far. This was me, constantly comparing myself with others and either feeling proud or envious. I knew it was because of the sin in my heart and I was feeling guilty and ashamed. And as I turned over the page to the chapter called ‘treatment’ and was about to find out how I could battle my CCS it was time for my appointment and I had to put the book down! Gah!
Luckily I was able to pick it up the next day and find out what I could do to treat my CCS. Or more importantly, what I could ask God to do to help and heal me. I don’t want to give away the ending because I really want you to read this book because it’s just so true and helpful! (N.B. I’m THE slowest reader and it only took me a few hours. And every minute was worth it!)
I think Sophie is onto something here. This book has helped me to spot the effects of CCS in my life, see what causes it, appreciate how the gospel message treats it and discover how I can move beyond it to a life of true contentment. I’m nowhere near recovered from CCS but I’m confident that our God is transforming me into the likeness of his Son. Read this book and join me on the journey of a recovering CCS sufferer! You won’t regret it!