If seasons had titles, this one would be “the summer of new roofs.” Hailstorms on consecutive Sundays last spring gave way to early morning hammering across our neighborhood this summer, as home after home received a brand-new roof.
We hadn’t given much thought to the hail or its fallout until we started seeing the “approved” signs dotting most of the yards on our street. Every home, it seemed, had suffered roof damage. Since we hadn’t noticed any interior damage, we hadn’t thought to check. But a quick inspection by an expert proved what the signs had already told us: we needed a new roof too.
As our family settles into this phase of parenting school-age kids, we’re on constant lookout for the comparison trap. We want to help our girls avoid the never-ending cycle of looking at others and wondering why they don’t look like or dress like or achieve like someone else. But our roofing journey reminded me comparison can be positive. If our neighbors hadn’t been on the lookout for warning signs and hadn’t taken corrective action, we probably wouldn’t have either. Our old roof would have continued to deteriorate, increasing the likelihood of major damage when the next storm comes.
It strikes me that godly comparison happens often in the context of Christian community. I’ve long been on the record about coming to the concept of community later in life—it wasn’t part of my church experience growing up, and learning to live transparently in a smaller group of fellow Christians has been a challenge. But it is in the comparisons with those people that I’ve learned what it looks like to live a holy life in everyday circumstances.
It’s in the way they readily pray for one another, or how they speak so graciously or patiently to their children. It’s how they drop everything to rally around someone with an immediate need, adjusting their own busy schedules to make meals, visit the hospital, or babysit for a few hours.
I want to live like that, and I wouldn’t have nearly as clear a picture of that life if I hadn’t seen these believers in our community group living it. They are spurring each other—and me—“toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24).
We live under a new roof because others walked that road before us. We value, far more, the examples of people around us who are trying to live like Jesus.
Meredith Day Flynn is a wife and mother of two living in Springfield. She writes on the intersection of faith, family, and current culture.