I wish I could tell you that I have never compared myself with someone else, or that I’ve always had a pure heart and genuine motives. I wish I could tell you that I was always an encourager who celebrated the successes of others in ministry.
I really wish I could.
But truth be told, I have struggled a time or two with getting hung up in the comparison trap. And truly, it’s never been about not wanting to see someone else do well; deep down, it was more that their “doing well” somehow meant that I wasn’t. Weird thinking, I know.
I believe that most of us have been enticed by the temptation to compare. My first comparative thought was when I was in grade school. Georgee was a popular, cute, petite, curly-haired blonde who the teachers loved and the boys adored. I, on the other had, was awkwardly tall and gangly with long skinny legs and stringy hair. Those early thoughts of who I saw myself as, created hurt in my heart, shaped my mind and led me to believe that the world of success was only for “certain” girls.
Fast-forward. I have struggled with comparison off-and-on ever since.
Comparison is this internal measuring tape that we carry in our back pocket. We use it to measure our deficiencies against the best qualities that we see in others, and we fall short. Or we pull it out to measure our successes against the weaknesses of someone else, and we fly high.
Neither of these is how God wants us to see ourselves.
If we allow it residence, comparison will occupy and fill that space in our minds with thoughts that limit our potential and hold us back; it’s almost as if we lock ourselves into a way of thinking that is contrary to how God has designed us. We are literally caught in the comparison trap.
So let’s take a look at some truths about comparison and how we can become free from its ugly grip:
#1 - BE GRATEFUL - GOD MADE YOU FABULOUS
There is one and only one of you in all of time, and that, my friend, is pretty special! Your expression is unique, and you have something that no one else has... your mind, your voice, your talents, your abilities, your vision, your story, and the list goes on.
But instead of looking at everything God has made each of us to be, we can get laser-focused on the achievements and talents of someone else. That can lead into hating ourselves for everything we are not, instead of loving ourselves for everything we are. We become jealous and bitter and withdrawn and eventually stop what we started because we doubt our self-worth and think we aren’t good enough.
And here’s what I know...you can’t stop your expression! If you do, the world will be without something fabulous that God intended for it to have, and that’s you.
So remind yourself of how God adoringly made you as a unique creation filled with wonder and awe. He approached even the smallest detail with excellence; His works (you) are wonderful. (Psalm 139:14)
God made you to be you, and we need you to do what only you can do. You are truly like no other person ever created since time began, and you are incomparable.
#2 - BE ENCOURAGING - GOD MADE OTHERS FABULOUS TOO
I love this quote...“A flower doesn’t compare itself with the flowers around it. It just blooms.” This is God’s ultimate design for us. To be like the flower that can bloom and thrive and be beautiful alongside other flowers that are blooming and thriving and being beautiful also. Doesn’t that speak volumes?
You see, God created all of us in His image with distinct differences and unique talents and giftings, yet we work alongside one another to function as the one body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12). We lock arms with one another and admire the accomplishments and achievements that each other contributes. God has designed us to work together, cheer each other on and believe in each other. This is a healthy component and necessary part of functioning well within the body of Christ.
Here is what is not healthy: If you are tempted to intentionally withhold encouragement from someone who is doing well. Okay, just press pause for a minute, and take an honest look to make sure you are not internally comparing. Remind yourself that someone else’s doing well will not take away from your doing well. And it most certainly doesn’t mean that you are not gifted or talented.
Just because she is good at writing, doesn’t mean that you are not. Just because she sings like an angel, doesn’t mean that you sound hideous. Just because she is talented and gifted and has a great marriage and has a church that is thriving DOES NOT MEAN that you have a life that is lesser than that!
It just means that you are two different people. Truly, that’s all it means.
So decide to celebrate with those who you admire, and celebrate big! First Thessalonians 5:11 says it best, “...encourage one another and build each other up.”
#3 - BE FOCUSED - GOD HAS EQUIPPED YOU
Lastly, be focused on your own dreams and ambitions. When we compare, we are giving more attention to another person’s achievements more than we are on our own.
So ask yourself this, what and who am I focusing on? What are my goals? What do I want my future to look like? What kind of relationships am I aspiring to have? How has God equipped me to move ahead? And does what I striving for fall under what God has for me?
Remember, you have not been called to be like someone else. You have been called to be like Jesus. So stop comparing your life to another’s, and start focusing your thoughts on Jesus.
And make sure that you are doing your very best, for then you will have the personal satisfaction of work well done and won’t need to compare yourself with someone else. (Galatians 6:4)
This resource written by Linda Seidler for Leading and Loving It