He Before She

December 7, 2015  - By Gretchen Saffles

 Photo by Katherine McBroom

Photo by Katherine McBroom

Each day we walk into a battlefield of comparison. From perfectly posed Instagram pictures to carefully worded Facebook posts, we compare our worst moments to the seemingly “best” moments of others. We scrutinize what our friends and other women are doing through a tiny filter of social media and belittle the work God is doing in our own hearts. Without realizing it, we complain to God that He is doing a mightier work in “her” life, and we neglect our own calling, instead longing to do what “she” is doing. With broken and distracted eyes, we glance at the story God is writing in our neighbor’s life and desire it more than the one He is penning for us.

The other day I was scrolling through social media and realized I had a film reel running through my head with each post I saw. “She is so much more creative than me!” “She can write way better than I ever could.” “She lives such a beautiful life!” “She must have it all together.” The common word in all my complaints and “woe is me” thoughts was “she.” My heart is quick to compare and even faster to forget my own calling when I envy the calling of my sisters in Christ. Social media is often the tapestry the enemy uses to display before me all I should be doing and whisper the lie in my heart that I am not enough.

Trying to be someone we weren’t created to be is like trying to wedge a circle into a square. The pieces don’t fit together, and they never will. If I were to squeeze a circle into the mold of a square, I would make the circle disproportionate and take away from the shape it was made to have. The purpose of that circle would be pointless. That is just what we try to do when we attempt to be “she.” We weren’t meant to be the spitting image of our neighbors. We were meant to be a reflection of our Maker. He has stamped His unique thumbprint on each of our lives with a purpose. Attempting to be someone else will never bring the fulfillment and joy God created us to have in Jesus!

When I look at the women of the Bible, I see an array of women who had different personalities, passions, gifts, and callings. They came from different backgrounds, lived in different places, and God wrote a different story for each one of them. Beginning with Eve, God has created every woman on this planet to reflect His image and to live for His glory. In the creation account in Genesis 1, God painted the final brushstrokes of His masterpiece of this world by creating humanity. Genesis 1:27 tells us “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” The term for “in his own image” is imago Dei, meaning we were created in the likeness of God. We are all fashioned in His image, but we are not all the same. We reflect our Creator by being the unique woman He created us to be.

Two weeks ago I found myself on the beach, sand clinging to my feet as I walked on the shoreline allowing the waves to crash over my legs. My gaze was fixed on the world beneath me. I was determined to find a beautiful shell to take home as a souvenir. As I walked and picked up shell after shell, one thing was evident – no shell is the same. Some had chips, some were colorful, some were flat, and others were curved in a beautiful shape. These shells reflected our Creator and they each had a story to tell. They didn’t fight for attention, they just were how they were made to be. 

The Holy Spirit used those shells to remind me that I will never fulfill His purpose for my life when trying to be like my neighbor. Jesus never told us to copy our sisters, but to imitate Christ our Savior (1 Corinthians 11:1, Ephesians 5:1-2). I don’t want to miss my calling and my life trying to be like “she” instead of “He.” Our sisters and neighbors are also created in His image with a purpose and for His glory. As we surrender our weakness and take up our crosses to follow Jesus like He called us to, we will see a mighty work done for God. It will look different than the person to the right or to the left of us, but as we follow Him faithfully and do the work He has set out for us to do, we will see comparison squashed and start to cheer each other on.

God has called you to do a unique work for His kingdom. He has marked you with His thumbprint to reflect Him in your dreams, your home, and your work. As a woman with passions, desires, and longings, take a step back to evaluate what God has woven into your soul to do for His glory. Don’t focus on the big things, be faithful in the little things He has placed right before you. You weren’t made to do what “she” was made to do. You were made to glorify Jesus in your own unique way.

Life is not about what we do for God or about becoming like someone else. It is about knowing Him and glorifying Him in our bodies, in our minds, in the places He has established us to live. It is a good thing for us to look at all “He” has done for us before we look at all “she” is doing. Fix your gaze on Jesus. Be faithful to do what He has called you to do. Link arms with your neighbor for His glory, and know that you were created to live for Jesus and not to be the likeness of your friends. 

Not I. Not She. But HE. 

“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.” Proverbs 4:25-26

your sister,



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  1. skeesummer@gmail.com says:

    That was beautiful Gretchen, and just remember that your God given path is so very different than any other person that you are comparing yourself to. And thankfully God led me to you, you’re one of the first people in a long time that when you speak and talk about the Lord I get truly excited and inspired to know Him more and more. The way you talk about Him helps me to know Him on a personal level. Thank you for that…..that is you gift, and I’m sure I’m only 1 of very many that you have inspired to grow their relationship 😊

  2. This almost brings tears to my eyes because this is where I am right now. It is sometimes a daily struggle to want to have the perfect home and life that is seemingly portrayed on Instagram. Jesus has blessed me so much though and I have no reason to complain. Thank you for writing this and thank you for being such an inspiration.

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