Comparison is the thief of joy! Don’t let the discontentment trap rob you of God’s calling for your life. Learn Biblical truths to set you free!
We have this really posh mall near our home. They’ve seating areas with couches too fancy to sit on, perched between stores that feel too sterile and uninviting to enter. I’m too shy to breach the entrance but, oh, how I love to window shop.
Each time we go to the mall I pull out my cutest clothes. I do my hair and spend an extra couple of minutes on my makeup. I walk out the door feeling pretty good. That is– until I walk into the mall.
There I see so many women far more beautiful and fashionable than I. There are more $200 jeans and perfectly made-up faces than I can count. And… I start to feel like a troll.
I’m not having fun anymore.
Comparison is the thief of joy. It takes what is perfectly wonderful and makes it less-than.
It’s always a losing game and it has to stop.
I’ve since decided not to waste my precious time and energy stuck in a cycle of self-defeating behavior. And, my life is so much better because of it.
In this post, I’ll show you how to break free from the comparison trap with the Bible, so that you can be free to do all that God has called you to do.
COMPARISONS ARE EVERYWHERE
I often long for a simpler time. A time when we were living in small communities and knew one another well. We’d see one another at the local store or while gathering water. You and I’d chat about our families and feel refreshed in our friendship.
I may entertain a few comparisons on my walk home, but there’s not too much to fuel the fire of “not good enough.”
Contrast that daily interaction with how we live in the 21st century. Potential comparisons are everywhere now.
Social media, advertisements, and magazines all boast perfectly coiffed models and organized homes. Now we don’t just compare ourselves to our neighbor, we compare ourselves to the entire world. A photo-shopped, food-styled, professionally organized world.
Even your friends are posting their best photos from a reel of 20. We’re living in a very unreal world and comparisons are completely unfair.
Again… Comparing ourselves with fabricated images is completely unfair, so why on earth do we do it?
THE PURPOSE OF COMPARISON
I do it and I know you do too. You go to a friend’s house and notice how clean or dirty, organized or disheveled, peaceful or “let me lock myself in the bathroom” it is.
We compare our hair, our car, and how different we look in on our driver’s license.
It’s an impulse that often feels involuntary.
Comparisons serve as a measuring stick.
You and I are wired by God to seek holiness. We’re looking for the answer to a question that echoes within our human condition– “Am I good enough?” We all want to measure up, but we can only measure what we quantify.
So, we create standards using those around us. What is the definition of Christian beauty, success, a fit body, or a happy life?
We choose the standard AND the measurement from the world around us. But the Bible says that this is not wise.
Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. 2 Corinthians 10:12 ESV
Every one of us is fallen and steeped in our sinful nature. We will fall. Whether you come out ahead or behind the one you’re comparing yourself to, you’re both far from God’s standard of holiness.
THE COMPARISON TRAP
When we view someone else as the standard, we are using a very short measuring stick. It’s not to say that what your best friend is doing isn’t marvelous, it’s just not what YOU were called to do.
When we keep our eyes on others, we maintain a horizontal focus when are created for a vertical gaze. We can get so busy looking around us that we completely miss our God-given direction.
And I am sure you can agree that comparison is the thief of joy. As it is said, “compare and despair.” Isn’t that the truth? By occupying our mind with all the ways we “aren’t,” we completely miss all the ways we “are.”
Oddly, the same person we find ourselves coming up short to is likely comparing themselves to someone else– and they’re not making the cut either. It’s a trap we all can fall into. A trap that keeps us from our incredible purpose.
COMPARISONS AND THE BIBLE
God created you with a mind, a soul, and a spirit perfectly suited for that which you were called. Your talents, likes, dislikes, and quirks are individually and beautifully you! They were woven together to form a fabric so intricately unique it cannot be compared with another (Psalm 139:13-16).
As we admire each stitch in a hand-crafted garment, greater is the thoughtfulness of your Creator.
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To compare any part of your being with another is like comparing a pair of running shoes to a pair of flip-flops. Both have completely different appearances and purposes. For one to take on the traits of the other would be a complete disservice to its original design.
MOVING PAST COMPARISONS
So how do you break past this ingrained habit that has become your pastime? You first move past comparing yourself to others by choosing your measuring stick.
If you take a moment and think about it, really think about it, measuring yourself by human’s standards is truly selling yourself short. Instead, seek God for His guidance for you. Not your friend, your coworker, or your workout partner. No one. Decide that you are more than just another stat and excitedly look for His calling on your life!
When faced with opportunities to fall back into old patterns (yes, they will come!), try to catch yourself as soon as you can.
Notice the thoughts but don’t fight them. Appreciate your desire to be better and redirect that desire to God. Ask Him what He thinks about this comparison. Inquire what He has for you and direct that energy into His purpose for your life.
Then, enjoy having your very own mission. You’re like James Bond, only cuter. Embrace this charge that no one else has. It’s uniquely you because you were made for it.
WHEN COMPARISION IS THE THIEF OF JOY, NO MORE
If you struggle with comparisons then you are not alone. Pretty much anyone who is breathing will fall into the comparison trap. We’re surrounded by messages that constantly tell us that we don’t measure up… But you don’t have to listen!
You and I, we can recognize that comparisons keep us stuck. They keep our eyes horizontal when everything we need in this life is vertical. When we look at God’s plans for our lives we won’t be bogged down by our limited human understanding.
We can be used in the exact way we were designed to be.
Ditch comparisons, say “sayonara” to the thief of joy, and move on to greater things!
Brandice Lardner is a Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, Author, and Jesus Girl whose mission in life is to help women ditch the diet mentality and find peace with food and their bodies so that they are better equipped to do the great things God has called them to do.