As I begin to start my first ever blog series, “The Comparison Series,” I thought that I would like to start out with why I chose to write about this particular subject. (And just in case you missed last week’s post and would like to catch up, click here).
A few months ago I was really struggling. I was dissatisfied with my life and I couldn’t figure out why. I had a supportive family, my relationship with God was growing stronger, and school was going pretty good. It boggled me. Everything just seemed so disappointing.
Life was going pretty good for me, yet everything just seemed so disappointing.
The moment that it first hit me was when I was in English class. My friend was looking down at her arms and then looked over at mine. Now, this might sound super ridiculous but my friend commented that she had “way too much arm hair compared to me”. I looked over at her, seeing her face darkened by this piece of information and I quickly assured her that she looks perfect. For some reason that day, probably thanks to God, I realized for the first time how comparison affects you. Just in that simple moment of the day, my friend showed me just how quickly we let the perceptions of ourselves and others take hold. I could visually see the hurt in my friend’s eyes when I looked over at her. That’s the day everything changed.
When I saw the pain that comparison causes, I decided that that would be the day when everything needed to change.
From that day on, I decided that I would stop comparing myself to others. Did it stop instantaneously? No. I still compared. But, little by little as I prayed to God to help me with this problem, I was able to minimize it. Do I still compare? Yes. I compare and I get downtrodden. But I am growing. Notice the subtitle on my header; “Growing in Christ One Day At A Time”. I’m not perfect and God doesn’t expect us to be. But with His help, I am working through this problem- and you can too!
So, let’s get started growing in Him!
I thought that I would start out by getting to the root of why we actually compare ourselves to others. Comparisons make us miserable and have lasting negative impacts, yet we still choose to make comparisons. Why?
I’m going to answer this question by giving some personal examples within my life that I think answer it perfectly. In reality though, any story of comparison has a common thread in it. Take a moment to see if you can figure it out.
If you’re stumped- don’t worry! It will become clear to you soon! ☺
Example 1: A few years ago my friend Maude and I were chatting about how school was going for us, as we both attend different schools. She revealed to me what she said was one of her darkest secrets. I was shocked. Maude was starving herself to lose weight. She said that she wanted to be pretty and skinny like the other girls.
Maude cared more about how she looked than anything else.
Example 2: I love blogging. I love sharing with you guys my innermost thoughts and sharing with you the love of Christ. I have been blogging for a little over a year and I love it. But sometimes I look around at other Christian bloggers and I feel that I just am not as inspirational. I can’t help but feel like I don’t have as much knowledge and wisdom in me to serve God in this manner as many others do.
I don’t think that I’m good enough sometimes.
Example 3: My sister is in dance. She loves to dance, and she is quite good! Her teacher has been encouraging her students to “stretch stretch stretch!” so that they can do the splits. All of the little dancers were very excited to try, but soon they realized that it is not that easy! Eventually, one dancer after one dancer could fully split their legs in half… that is, except for my sister. She was envious. She wanted her dance teacher to praise her for getting those splits. She wanted to be just like her friends.
My sister wanted her teacher to give her praise, praise that she has continued to work months and months for.
Now that you’ve read through all of those examples, do you know the source of all comparison is? If you’re still not sure, take a look at the bold sentences below each example. There is something unique about a few letters (they are italicized!). Then give it a thought.
Do you notice a trend?
Who is Maude concerned with in the example?
Who am I (Laura) concerned with in the example?
Who is my sister concerned with in the example?
The answer to all three questions is; herself. Each girl is outwardly focused on herself. Not others. Not friends. Not family. Not her neighbors. Herself. Each girl is focused on herself, whether is be looks, ranking, or ability.
We compare because we have made ourselves our own personal idol.
That’s the problem.
We compare because we are focused on ourselves. Self-focus makes us our own idols. When you compare you are thinking about how you rank up according to others. You. You. You. When we compare ourselves to others, we are only thinking about how we look.
We compare because we have made ourselves our own idols of our hearts. As hard as it may be to hear, this should scare you. God wants Him to be the focus of our hearts and of our lives. Just take a look at His guidebook, the Bible. When the Israelites carved idols, was God pleased? Absolutely not! He was angry! He didn’t want His children to love or worship anything other than Him! You know why? Because only God can give you satisfaction!
Can fake, carved idols bring you salvation? Grace? Happiness? Eternal love? No! That’s why comparison hurts us! And that’s why God doesn’t want us to worship idols.
Idols cannot bring true joy. That’s why God doesn’t want us to worship them!
We need to stop focusing ourselves and focus more on Christ. We want to be Christ-centered Christians, right? Not me-centered, with Christ circling around the outside!
I encourage you to pray and ask God to help you if you struggle with comparison. Ask God for the strength to stop comparing and start living for Him. It might not be instantaneous, but God will guide you through it all so be patient and trust in Him.
I will be praying for you! But, I also ask that you pray for me as well, because I too am still growing. ☺
Please continue to join me next week as I talk more about the dangers of comparison. In case you missed last week’s post, click here.
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
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