Conquering Comparison

Comparison shopping might be a great way to save money, but making comparisons between ourselves and others is a great way to find discouragement. A great deal of the sadness and shame we feel in life comes from making comparisons.

Bob makes more money and does less work than I do.
Susie has a metabolism that keeps her thin.
The Millers went to Europe… again.
Eunice’s kids are married and having kids of their own.
Pastor John’s church is bigger than mine.
Frank just got a new car.

 

The list of things we use for comparisons could go on and on. For almost all of us, the comparisons put us down. We see ourselves as inferior and the facts support our thinking. The fact that Susie is thin brings shame and discouragement to Mary, who sees herself as heavy. The fact that Bob makes good money is a discouragement to Sam, who struggles to meet the needs of his family. Many good people suffer as they compare themselves with others.

But comparisons kill. They kill your joy in the Lord’s provision. They kill your happiness in the circumstances of your life. They kill your ability to see the blessings around you. They kill your heart.

We were taught to compare. Our parents compared us with other children. Our teachers compared us with other students. We thought, at least, that our future spouse compared us with other interested parties. Our work is compared with the work of others. Our spirituality is even compared to the saints of our local church and of church history.

AND WE NEVER MEASURE UP! We never did and we have come to believe that we never will. It makes us angry and sad and discouraged.

But how do we get out of this? How do you conquer comparisons? Frankly, it isn’t easy. It requires a change of thinking. How do you change your thinking when you are wrong? By telling yourself the truth. So let me share some truth.

The only one you hurt when you compare yourself negatively to others is you.

  1. You don’t know the whole truth about anyone else and your comparison may be unfounded.
  2. Often the thing you point to as superior is not as much a blessing as you think.
  3. The Lord has provided for you and you see that when you take your eyes off others.
  4. The same Lord who blesses you can bless others according to His will for them.
  5. There will be a day of judgment and you will not be the judge.
  6. God is God. He is the only one wise enough to know who needs what and when.
  7. If the Lord is the source of all good things, then no one is really better than another.
  8. The Lord accepts you and loves you and never sees you as inferior.
  9. It doesn’t matter how others see you or how you see yourself, it only matters how God sees you.

Two things happen when we compare. First, our sense of justice is piqued when we feel angry about a comparison. We begin to find reasons why others don’t deserve the blessings we would like to enjoy. We watch for them to fail or fall. That sets us up as antagonists against our friends and our family members. We get hurt and sometimes we hurt them.

Second, we begin to accept negative thoughts about ourselves. We see ourselves as inferior, perhaps less deserving. We come up with reasons why we don’t deserve the blessings we would like to enjoy. We set ourselves up for more failure and discouragement.

But the truth is that we are not able to judge others and should resist being in that position. Instead, we should rejoice when others are blessed, knowing that God loves them too. And the truth is that we cannot even judge ourselves. Is it because we are evil that God withholds certain things from us—or is it because He loves us? Choose to believe His love.

These are just some brief thoughts I have been having about comparisons lately. I am sure there is much more to write. What are your thoughts?

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Conquering Comparison

  1. LoyaltoJesus

    This is so beautiful. I will share this with my youngest son, he is always comparing himself to others and it destroys all his joy and peace. It makes me so sad as he is an absolutely fabulous kid

  2. Allie

    Thank you. Great article.

  3. Kitkat

    The N in my life was constantly and destructively comparing herself to everyone else. Constantly trying to measure up. Looking down on others because they didn’t have what she had, and yet at the same time, she was always complaining she was useless, had no talent, her husband and family never measured up, etc… This she did to the extreme. She could not accept what talents she actually possessed, because she was constantly coveting what others had. In her mind, what she had was never good enough, and never would be good enough. So this led her into this perpetual roller coaster way of thinking, “I’m the best thing in the world!” to the, “I can’t do anything and I hate myself and everyone else because they have more than me.” Blah, blah, blah… I think of what the Apostle Paul wrote, that the Church is a body. Not everyone can be an eye, because then where would the hearing be, and if the whole body were hearing, where would the smelling be? In our society we are bombarded with images of things we think we should have, be like or look like, and none of these things are of God. Because it builds a false image of who we think we should be. And it is nothing like who we are in Christ. If we are all the same, then the body cannot function. Covetousness is born out of insecurity, rather than accepting ourselves for who we are and what we have been given, And this is played out in the media, instead of cultivating our own gifts and working on our own lives, it becomes a deadly assault on our self esteem. I love your line, “The only one you hurt when you compare yourself negatively to others is you.” It is so true. If there could be one thing that I would like for Christians to understand, it would be to know who we are in Christ. He is the great anchor for our souls and our self esteem. In Him we accept our selves for who we are, not some fictitious person in our heads. Christ accepted us warts and all, and He is our self esteem, it is a place of great grace, strength, honor and integrity. And He will continue to build in us the image of Christ. And we need to remember that He who began a good work in us will continue it until the day of Jesus Christ, and that is our great hope.

  4. UnForsaken

    Beautiful!

    I’ve been struggling more with this in my N enabling mother lately. She does everything so subconsciously. She can see this in movies, others sometimes, but never herself. Perhaps because she has been a naive doormat for so long, most of what I could tactfully say is too shocking for her denial. I have to pray and not say, because she is a pipeline to Ns.

    The holidays seem to bring out this kind of discontent. She would normally do anything to avoid confrontation, but recently felt compelled to tell me I wasn’t measuring up . Fortunately, this usually happens when the N is acting up and she begins to feel insecure. It’s predictable enough to begin Praying for courage and the right loving words in advance, but any words can be a mistake when there is no logic and such a deep feeling of injustice. She is so confused as to what she wants, so unaware she is blaming the wrong people. But this time it came to a good end, hopefully making her feel more loved.

    “Choose to believe His love”. Yes, I Loved these thoughts, Dave! We may always feel inadequate, but there is no need, as He Is Our Adequacy ❤

    Recently read the statement " Take your power", about living life. This reminded me of the old saying, " Take Joy" . To me it means something like "Make Happiness", because you can't expect it to happen to you. You have to look for it, but it Is there. You have to build on it so you have more to give. Sometimes you have to start from scratch, but it's always worth it. And His love is a great place to start.

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