Things are meant to be compared. We compare fruit to determine which pieces are the best to purchase. We compare prices on similar items to get the best deal. We compare qualities of an item to decide what we need most for the money we have available to spend.
What we should never compare is people. Whether others compare us to someone else, or more regrettably, when we give ourselves permission to compare ourselves with others.
I’ve walked through this life comparing myself to others. Especially those who seem to have it all together, who are popular, are influencers, are stylish. It’s so easy to see them as enough, as worthy and to find myself lacking in some or all ways.
Some of my friends live interesting, exciting lives, and sometimes mine feels rather vanilla. No chocolate chip accolades for the ways I minister to or help other people. No minty flavor for being the life of a party, the perfect encourager.
I’m just a mom who gets her kids up and off to school (often with a battle of one sort or another). Who sometimes cleans her house. A woman who writes with the time she’s given in a day. It’s a very internal life. I have no published books to laud as my cookie dough, adding the texture of praiseworthiness, nothing for others to affirm.
When I get together with friends sometimes, I fall into the trap of feeling like I’m less-than. And then my eyes begin to focus on all the ways I’m less-than.
Comparing myself to others always leads to a hurting heart. If I let it go long enough, I become blind to ways I can help or encourage others. I’ve fallen into the lie that I have nothing to offer.
The challenge I’m taking up is to focus on my Maker. To remember Jesus is in me. Because this is true, I have exactly what He wants me to offer others.
What I offer to people will look different than what my friends have to offer. He’s gifted each person uniquely, because He knows the plans He has for each of us. The plans God has for my life will look different than what He’s got in mind for yours. And that’s good.
What isn’t good is when I look at what He’s doing with your life and wonder why He’s not doing that same amazing work with mine. And then to focus on you rather than on the truth that Jesus is in me. He makes me enough.
I hinder His work when I compare myself with those around me. I show discontentment with where He has me.
In this moment, God has me learning how to be the wife and mom He intends me to be. He’s given me a story to write. He’s given me people to pray for. It feels like a small life. But, I believe God’s using these lessons to give me what I need for His plans to become reality one day.
If I can keep my eyes on Him in each moment, and trust that His plan is the best one for me, then I can walk in His joy. I can serve when He allows me to. I can love well. I can grow to be comfortable with who He has me to be right now.
I don’t have to compare myself with others and come up short. I can cling to the truth that I am enough with Jesus in me. Enough for all He wants to do in and through me.
When my eyes are focused on how big Jesus is, there’s no room in my visual scope for comparing myself to others. What peace there is in this! Growing in this skill will require a life long disciplining of my thoughts. I’m determined to grow.
What about you? How do you keep yourself from falling into the trap of comparison? What work is God doing in your life right now? For grins, what’s your favorite flavor of ice-cream?
P.S. To read a great post about this topic, check out Dave Hamlin’s, “To Catch a Thief.”