Michelle and I met through Facebook and have become prayer partners.
She is an amazing woman of integrity and joy who practices what she preaches, even as she battles cancer. She knows what it is for Satan to steal your joy and to get it back again through the strength and power of the hope that only Jesus Christ offers.
Michelle is honest, sincere, and real as this blog post reveals. I can’t wait to hear how it resonates with you.
Comparison is something I’ve wrestled with my entire life–from childhood until now. In all areas of my life–educations, athletics, appearance, and writing. It’s held me back, fed my insecurities, and even eroded my own joy. But Michelle’s wise and encouraging words gave me hope as she leveled the playing field for everyone, negating the need to compare.
Author, speaker, and board-certified clinical neuropsychologist, Dr. Michelle Bengtson knows pain and despair firsthand and combines her professional expertise and personal experience with her faith to address issues surrounding medical and mental disorders, both for those who suffer and for those who care for them. She offers sound practical tools, affirms worth, and encourages faith. Dr. Michelle Bengtson offers hope as a key to unlock joy and relief—even in the middle of the storm. She is the author of the award-winning “Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression” and the award-winning “Hope Prevails Bible Study.” She blogs regularly on her own site: http://www.DrMichelleBengtson.com
I sat with my back pinned against the back of the upright chair, legs crossed, assessing my choice of attire for the evening from the boots to the pants to the lace blouse, and finished off with the jewelry—never leave home without it.
Was my choice appropriate for the evening? It seemed to blend in sufficiently with Executive Ellen’s and Powerhouse Pam’s attire. I didn’t mean to, but I was in comparison mode. Oh how I hated that—I always ended up on the short end of the stick.
I spent the evening planning an upcoming event with other area ministry leaders, honored to be included but secretly wondering how I made the guest list.
It wasn’t so much what I wore on the outside that I was comparing with the others, if I was honest with myself. These were high-powered ministry women with years of successful ministry behind them that were more impressive than most ministry leaders I personally knew. Their impact for the kingdom was mighty. They each knew their call and they confidently lived and breathed it each day for decades.
As I sat listening to their suggestions for the event, and adding my thoughts when warranted, I fought to ignore another deafening voice. One that sought to mock me at every turn.
“Why are you even here? You don’t belong here.” “What have you done for the Kingdom of God that even comes close to comparing to these other women?” “Maybe God doesn’t trust you as much as He trusts these women to impact the Kingdom of Heaven.”
By the time the evening was over, I couldn’t get to my car fast enough. Thankful that dark skies fell early during these months, tears cascaded down my cheeks and no one could see them through my windows.
What had I done in my life that had any real significance for the Kingdom of Heaven? I wasn’t preaching revivals or teaching on a weekly radio or television program. I hadn’t even devoted my life to teaching children’s Sunday School (for which children should have been grateful! At least I knew where I wasn’t gifted!)
I’m not even sure how I saw through my tears to drive home that night, but by the time I arrived in my garage, I turned off the ignition, sat in the solitude of my parked car and wept.
Could it be true, Lord? That you don’t trust me to have a significant impact for the Kingdom? Just the thought of it grieved my heart.
All I wanted was for others to see Jesus in me. To want to know Him. For me to one day hear the Father say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
The evening left me feeling useless. Minimized. De-valued. Unworthy.
A friend later asked about my evening and without going into too much detail (how could I? It was too embarrassing to admit my limited value), I shared my concerns of my seemingly limited contribution to God’s kingdom. She encouraged me to pray and ask God what He thought. Before I could stop myself, I admitted that I was afraid of His answer.
“Why?” she asked. “You know your Father adores you…”
“Because it’d break my heart to hear Him say I’ve disappointed Him or could have done more but didn’t.”
What she said next was golden, and just the reminder I needed to defeat the negativity that swirled around in my head discoloring my view not only of myself but of God: “It is not His nature or character to criticize you. He only encourages, exhorts, and builds you up.”
Still, these thoughts stemming from my comparison game plagued me for days. I cried, I prayed, I searched the Scripture. I needed resolution.
As I sought out the Lord for answers, He whispered to my heart, “The enemy likes to tell you who you aren’t, and always in the negative, but I delight in telling you who you are, and always in the positive.”
Tears flowed as I let those words seep into my heart. I had been listening to the negative lies of the enemy: You’re useless. You’re not trustworthy. God doesn’t value you as much as the others. Your purpose isn’t as important.
No wonder I felt discouraged.
Do you ever feel that way too?
I knew the only way to combat those negative lies, was with God’s truth. What does God say about me, and you?
I am His child (John 1:12).
I am His beloved daughter (Galatians 3:26).
I am deeply cherished and loved (Romans 5:8).
I am completely forgiven (1 John 1:9).
I have been made new (2 Corinthians 5:17).
I have been bought with a price and I belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
I am free from any condemning charges against me (Romans 8:1-2, 31-34).
I have been established, anointed and sealed by God (2 Corinthians 1:21-22).
I am God’s work of art, created for good works (Ephesians 2:10).
I am the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-14).
I have been chosen and appointed by God to bear fruit (John 15:16).
I am God’s coworker (2 Corinthians 6:1).
Later in the week the Lord whispered to my heart that the value of anything is determined by what anyone is willing to pay for it. God was willing to pay for me with the cost of His very own son’s life. And He didn’t pay any more for any of those other women in the room whom I deemed more valuable or more worthy or more important to Him or the kingdom than I was. He paid the same price for each of us.
4 thoughts on “Follow Friday!! Michelle Bengtson”
Jeanne, I think most people struggle with this (whether they will admit it or not). The very best thing we can do is know who we are and whose we are, by being in the Word and knowing exactly what God says. And it behooves us to surround ourselves with those who will speak life into us, and who we can encourage with truth. (And I too love spending some time drinking in Ephesians). Thanks so much for your consistent support.
I am studying and writing on Ephesians too. The richness of chapter one—WHOSE we are and WHO we are in Christ blows me away. “A gift so no one can boast”.
This is what I LOVE LOVE LOVE about these Follow Friday posts! Edification. Encouragement. Others being blessed. It fills my heart with so much joy! 🧡
Michelle and Cheyenne,
This topic is close to my heart because I also struggle with the comparison trap. I think as women we are prone to it. So my remedy has been dwelling in Ephesians chapter one and speaking its truth, to myself and to others whom I minister to. And, we need to remind one another of our worth. And that’s what your message did for me today. Thanks for that!!