When You Find Out You Are a Little Bit of a Narcissist Too

Once in a great while, we have a moment in our life that somewhere deep in our hearts, we know is going to mark every minute and every second that comes after that one.  To the people around us, it may seem just like any other moment in time.

But for you, you know it is different. You know that you are going to be different and that life because of that moment is going to be different.

I am not talking about the death of someone we love or the achievement we worked years to obtain.  I am not even talking about marriage or babies or divorces or promotions.

I am talking about the moment that sneaks up on you out of nowhere but changes you so profoundly that you can recall even decades later exactly where you were sitting and how the room smelled and who was present. 

I have had maybe 6 of these moments in my life.  My first one was when I was only 6 years old, and I can still recount it to you in detail.

Recently I had another one.  It has been about 5 months since it happened, and I have maybe shared it with 3 other people beyond the ones that were present in the moment.   This is unusual because all the other times I have experienced something similar, my first reaction was to tell everyone close to me.  I am usually pretty jealous with the most intimate details of my life, but in these cases, the impact was so deep that I couldn’t help but want to share it with every one important in my life!

This time it’s been a slow burn.  I have been chewing on it, meditating on it, praying about it, and just trying to understand the weight of it.  I don’t want it to just be a moment. I want it to be a transformation, and I want that transformation to happen from the inside out without a lot of fanfare along the way.  I don’t want to talk big.  I want to do the heavy lifting to make it a reality.

Today, though, I want to share a little, teeny part of that experience.  It is very personal, so the details shall remain cloudy.  But, my hope is that maybe, just maybe, it can bring some freedom for fellow friends walking around with the same chains.


It was almost 5 months ago.  We were going through some pretty big changes on all fronts as a family.  We were experiencing changes in our home, changes in our ministry, and even changes in our own perspectives and beliefs.  Again, it wasn’t something we were really talking about.  But it was a season of genuinely seeking God’s will for our future and seeking healing, restoration, and forgiveness in every single area of our lives.  We were good.  Our family was good.  All was good, but we knew that God wanted more of us and for us, and we desperately wanted to be ready to receive whatever that was going to be.

This meant that in some areas we were also asking for some help.  We had been around the block long enough to know that wise counsel and accountability is essential for any Christian truly desiring to grow and mature in their faith.  It was during one of these types of meetings with another couple that the wife suddenly (and quite powerfully if I might add) said, “Sara the root of all of these struggles is comparison.  I am not sure how long it has been going on, but I am guessing for decades.  It is robbing so much from you, and the time has come for it to end.”

I first just stared at her speechless, but she and her husband are powerful intercessors, so they immediately began praying over me.  My husband tucked my hand into his and these 3 individuals spoke, declared, and prayed over me in a way that I had never experienced in my whole life. 

I wept. Then I wept some more.  And finally, there was no where else for all the snot and tears to go, so I composed myself (mostly anyway) and just silently listened and prayed little words in my heart.

There is so much more to this story, but the point of me wanting to share a piece of it today is because as I have processed through the 3 and half decades of my life these last few months, I can see so clearly that in fact the greatest chain I have been wearing, my greatest liability if you will, has been my incessant need to compare myself in EVERY SINGLE area of my life to those around me.

I still have yet to identify exactly how or when it started but my first clear memory of it was from first grade.  My family moved that year, so I was starting a new school and began life in a new neighborhood.  It was the first time I can remember thinking I wasn’t quite up to par…I was still a little too shy and awkward.  I was smart but not the smartest in my class.  I had friends but not very many.  And somewhere around then, deep down I guess I came to terms with always being stuck somewhere in the middle of everything…smart but the smartest, cute but not the prettiest, fast but not the fastest, a good athlete but not the best one, likeable but not the favorite. 

   ( Pictures of me from First Grade)

And the thing about my comparison habit is that it was much more inconspicuous than flat out insecurity or low self esteem.  I was fairly confident in my middle of the road status, so for the most part, I just learned to adapt.  I had great friends.  I was still at the top of my class academically.  I played competitive softball. I was class President.  I was active in my youth group at church.  I even dated some. But deep down, I was constantly sizing up everyone else around me, and in one way or another, I always found myself coming up short. 


(Pictures from High School) 

This didn’t mean I was judging those or criticizing those around me.  Far from it actually.  I was genuinely just making comparative notes about myself next to them.

The thing is, though, I had no idea this was happening.  I was absolutely blind to it.  It was such an integral part of my norm that I was 100% oblivious to it. 

But I can tell you with absolute certainty that for 30 years it was holding me back.  It was stealing from me.  It was more than just a thorn in my side.  It had left me disabled.  I was not functioning at my full capacity.

“Look how beautiful she is! She doesn’t even have to try.  No wonder he likes her and not me.”

“Did you see her homerun last night?  I am always going to just be a solid base hitter…first or second in the lineup.  Faithful but never that exciting.”

“I love theater.  It is such a rush being up there on stage.  But I can’t sing, so I never could be a real stage actress. She has the whole package.”

“She has so many friends.  Everyone loves her.  She makes them laugh and is a good listener.  When she is around guys, they are practically drooling just watching her talk.”

“Chubby.  That is all I will ever be.  I will never have a body that looks like hers.  And she has had 5 kids!”

“My Spanish is horrendous next to hers.  She can speak it so eloquently.  And she drives all over Guatemala!  I have to stay in my 10 kilometer radius, or I get lost.”

“ I love listening to her teach the Bible.  She knows everything.  She never stumbles over her words like I do when I try.”

“What an amazing Mom.  She is so patient and kind and creative!  Oh my goodness I can’t even remember to sign their agendas.  And I am supposed to be a teacher!”

“She is beautiful.  I know she liked my husband at one time.  I bet she would have been a better wife than me.  At the very least she would have been a prettier one.”

“I want to write.  I love writing, but my words never come out as eloquently as hers do.  My words won’t ever have any kind of impact.”

These are just a few of the thoughts that at one time or another have run through my head…and not just once or twice.  They were constantly there, and little by little they were ruining all that was good in my life. 


Because when we are convinced that someone else is always doing it better, we eventually just stop trying.  We start just going through the motions.  Slowly our passion fades.  We get stuck in ruts.  We start fighting with our loved ones over ridiculous things we have invented in our minds.  We become more insecure and jealous.  We stop celebrating others and start lending our tongues to criticism and judgment.  Everything becomes a chore.  We lose our vision for the future and our joy in the present.

Folks it’s an ugly path.  Nevertheless, it was one that I was taking for more years than I would like to admit. 

And now that my eyes have been opened, I can see that it is a path that so many are still walking on right this moment. 

Let me tell you right now before you go any farther that it is a trap.  It is a trap that will rob, steal, and destroy all that you love most in this world.  It is subtle.  It is easy to miss the signs or chalk it up to “girls just being girls.”  But it is shrewd. It won’t stop until you decide you have had enough of it.

Until 5 months ago, I would have told you I was a fairly normal, stable, evolving person.  I was certain I had a good handle on my strengths and weaknesses.  I could see progress and growth in my life.  I could clearly identify low points and high points, but through them all, I could see maturity.  I knew that I was a good mom and wife and even most of the time missionary.  I wasn’t a bad person.  I could look in the mirror and think “Oh I look pretty today.” I was genuine in my relationships and had long ago stopped trying to be something I wasn’t.  I thought for the most part I had accepted who I was and made peace with both the things I liked and didn’t like about myself.

But what I didn’t realize is that a very strong, deep root had taken up residence many decades ago, and until I was willing to see it for what it was, I had no hope of really living my life and my calling to the fullest.  Every relationship was being poisoned in a way by this root, and every opportunity was only half-experienced because of this root.

No more though.  Once I realized it.  Once I called it by its name, then little by little I started digging that sucker up.   

What sweet freedom I am enjoying because of it.  

Oh I still have my moments.  Recently I had a huge setback, but I didn’t let it ruin all the hard work I have done up until now.  And in the end, in that particular instance, I realized how my comparison habit also could be a great hindrance to me being able to see people for who they really are.  I get stuck on that one area of their lives that makes me feel like I could never measure up, and I miss the hurt and pain that lies right there on their surface, begging someone to care. 

Comparison is a form of narcissism.  Plain and Simple. It makes us the center of the narrative  instead of God.  It makes us walk around with glasses that are not only tainted but were never supposed to be worn in the first place.

In the end, I want my story to reflect a God that is big and powerful and amazing and great and awe inspiring and deserving of all the glory and honor.  I want my life to make a difference not just today but for eternity.  I want to be able to celebrate others but also be able to celebrate God’s work in me too!

If God is the Author and Creator, what business do I have taking notes on His work?  What an insane waste of time and energy.  We were meant for more.  We were made for more.   

But it’s not too late.  Even if this has been the chain you have been dragging around for years, you have the keys to take unlock it. 

Choose More.

(Ridiculous Selfie at the beach from a few weeks ago, but it was the first time in a LONG time that I was just rocking my swimsuit without worrying about what the other ladies at the pool looked like or how I may have not measured up to them.  So it was a big moment for me!)

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Some bits and bobbits about this blog...

This blog is mostly just ramblings by yours truly. I talk about my ups and downs being a wife, mother, and missionary in Guatemala. I have a tendency to get off on "soapboxes" as those who love me say but it is my desire that this blog can be a place of encouragement in each of your pilgrimages with Christ. At any moment if this blog becomes more about me than about Christ, than it will be done and over...so please help me stay accountable. To God be all the Glory, Honor, and Power!

Books I am currently reading...

  • Eight Twenty Eight
  • Interrupted
  • The Connected Child
  • This Momentary Marriage
  • Unbroken

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