We've all done it: compared ourselves to others. Whether we compare our bodies, our families, our jobs, our callings, or where we are on the journey, the temptation can be so subtle we barely recognize it. But it's dangerous ground we would be wise to avoid.
Comparing ourselves to others does a lot of things--none of them good:
It creates pressure - When I read certain writers whose flowing, beautiful words evoke deep passion, sometimes I'm tempted to try to emulate their style. But the pressure to be someone else makes me miserable and in the end I always fail. We don't need the pressure of trying to be something and someone we're not. When we're true to ourselves, there is no pressure.
It leads to frustration - Nothing squelches our ability to fulfill God's specific destiny for our lives like comparison, and that is frustrating. He has equipped us for every good work, but only when we're following His plan for our lives--not when we're trying to be like someone else. When we pursue the Lord and His plan, frustration is alleviated.
It fosters insecurity - And insecure people don't get far. Insecurity prevents us from maturing, because it partners with fear to hold us back. But when we instead strive to know God's unique plan for our lives, we grow in both ability and confidence.
It makes us feel small - We've all experienced a moment when we felt pale and insignificant in the shadow of another. But the truth is we are exactly who God created us to be, and it grieves the Holy Spirit when we think of ourselves as less than all God's word declares. Instead of standing in someone else's shadow and allowing ourselves to feel small, let's dwell under the shadow of the Almighty, confident in our identities and giftings as God's daughters.
It breeds competition - Comparison turns our hearts into scales--we're constantly weighing what others have and we don't. Remember, this is a race to the finish of our own God-given destiny, not a race to beat someone else. We can cheer each other on, pray for one another and remember that we're on the same team!
It robs us of our unique identity - There's no way we can become all God intends for us to be when our eyes are on others. When we keep our focus on the Lord and His plan for us, we can grow and excel in our own individual style.
Every one of us possesses a valuable, God-given destiny. As we choose to trust in God, focus on Him, and obey His direction for our lives, then He is honored. And we are anchored to the One who holds our destiny. This frees us to authentically pursue His calling on our lives, while authentically cheering on our sisters. When we resist the urge to compare ourselves, we avoid dangerous ground and demonstrate the belief that our own callings, however small or grand they may feel, hold value.
Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else. (Galatians 6:4)
Comparison Prayer: Father, help me to clearly perceive and respect my own God-given destiny, resist the urge to compare myself, and avoid the dangerous ground of comparison. When I am tempted to compare, I will instead cooperate with Your Holy Spirit by paying attention to my own work, and I will joyfully cheer on those around me. Thank you for the good plans You have for me. Enable me to honor You and fulfill my God-given destiny without comparing myself to others. In Jesus’s name, Amen.
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