I’ve been doing two things fun this week, as I finish off a million projects. I’ve been reading Why Her, the newest book from Nicki Koziarz, which the good people from NetGalley and B&H Publishing Group sent to me to review. And I’ve been watching The Bachelor, as Arie flip flops his way to the altar.
The two are not unrelated.
Why Her? is a book about fighting the comparison game, through a study of the story of Rachel and Leah. If you think that the story of Rachel and Leah is not relevant today, you have clearly not been watching this season of The Bachelor. In the story of Rachel and Leah, through an act of deception, both sisters are married to the same guy (hello, sister wives.) As Arie learned over the last week on The Bachelor, professing your love to two women is a terrible idea. And getting engaged when you cannot make up your mind who you love most, is an even worse idea. People have literally taken out billboards telling Arie what a terrible guy he is.
In both The Bachelor, and The Bible, the women play the comparison game.
In the case of the Bible, the sisters are miserable: Rachel is jealous of Leah’s fertility. Leah is jealous of Rachel’s beauty and her status as Jacob’s favourite wife. Chaos ensures.
On The Bachelor, the women are pitted against each other through a series of competitions for one man’s heart and a four carat ring. So the comparison game is inevitable. When Lauren B. was not proposed to by Arie, she wondered what she had done wrong. And when Arie dumped Becca on television (!), she questioned her own actions. I was literally yelling at the TV, “Oh honey, hush. Just because some commitment-phobic man-child in a cardigan cannot make up his mind does not mean there is anything wrong with you!” (I am emotionally invested in this show.)
But how often do you slip into the comparison game? I do it all the time. Living in Stepford means there are a lot of people living picture perfect lives. It’s easy to see the cars and the trips and the hair (why does everyone have such good hair here?) and think, Why Her? Why Not Me? And that’s what Koziarz’s book is about. Even while reading the book, I had Why Her moments. Why has Koziarz published TWO books? Why does she get to live on a farm? (I’m obsessed with farm life.) I checked her out on Instagram and even her cows are adorable. I mean, talk about unfair!
And then, she writes about getting a donkey at a tag sale. A donkey! I LOVE donkeys. So I imagined her sitting there, in a bucolic paradise, with her donkeys, while I sat reading her book at the dealership getting the oil changed in my car. While I imagined her sitting in her Cracker Barrel-esque rocking chair listening to the birds tweet, I sat in a vinyl chair in the service bay listening to the zzzt zzzt of the air tools. Totally unfair!
But as she reminds us time and time again: God is not about fair.
Koziarz’s book is filled with practical tips to overcome the comparison game and focus on “the blessings, gifts, and favor of God on our own lives.”
And, thankfully, she is open and honest. She talks about how she sometimes has big house envy and that her farm often smells. She talks about how the comparison game – as a woman, wife, and mom – has played with her emotions in the past. And she offers great scripturally-sound advice on how to deal with it. By focusing on God’s plans for her life, she’s learned to be less concerned with what is going on in the lives of others. And she’s gotten to the point where, “When I do feel a “Why her” rising within me, I’ve learned to step back, cheer others on, and see the beautiful in others while realizing there’s probably some ugly in there too – just like in me.”
And this is what was so beautiful on The Bachelor last night. We saw a great display of sisterhood as Becca’s friends (all former competitors) rallied around her in her time of sadness. And then they cheered her on as she dried her tears, put on her gown, and took her place as next season’s Bachelorette, intent on finding the relationship meant for her. And they even hoped the best for Arie’s pick Lauren B. since she’d done nothing wrong. As Koziarz writes, “Life is not a beauty contest or a power play, it’s the discovery of living out our unique role in God’s purpose.” (Not that one’s purpose is necessarily to be on The Bachelor – if The Good Place writers are correct, simply watching, The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, or Bachelor in Paradise is enough to exclude one from heaven.)
If you struggle with comparing yourself with other women, Why Her? is a great, practical guide to getting your focus where it belongs, and start crafting the beautiful life that you and only you were meant to live.