It seems everywhere I turn lately, whether it’s TV, Facebook, or conversations, I see the word “comparison”, as if the Lord is dangling a warning sign in front of me. I feel it’s His way of showing me just how often it’s tripping His children up, causing discouragement to set in. Nothing takes the wind out of our sails and weakens our faith more than negative comparison does. It leads to doubt and makes us question not only ourselves, but sadly, it makes us question God.
Comparison can sabotage contentment, and sorely reminds me of one of the things I lack-confidence. If you didn’t get it as a child, it’s even harder to come by it as an adult. I’m not talking about a prideful, arrogant confidence that gloats, but rather a humble, holy confidence. Being assured of who you are in Christ, and that together with His help, there is nothing you can’t do.
I find myself caught in the comparison trap quite often. It happens so fast that before I can get a grip, I have already fallen in. For example, the other night I decided to read a book from my favorite author. Not even out of the first chapter, I began to wonder, Lord, she’s awesome at writing. Look at how her words dance on the page. I can’t write like that. You know writing has never been my strong suit. Why is it that, again, you’re asking this of me? I don’t belong on this path. There is no way I compare to her.
We often feel alone in our struggles, until we finally let the walls down and let people in, discovering we actually aren’t alone. My friend and I had a good talk the other night. What started out as a casual “how are you feeling” conversation turned into a deep, meaningful one. As good friends do, we began to share our struggles to feel confident, beautiful, successful, and talented, when compared to someone else.
As we listened to and encouraged each other, she said these sweet words, “I wish you could see yourself the way I see you.” Smiling that night, pondering her words as I slowly drifted off to sleep, I felt the Lord not only agreeing with her words, but echoing them. I was reminded of a simple, but powerful truth.
God doesn’t want comparison to defeat us. Rather, to challenge us, motivating us to achieve our full, God given potential, while at the same time, celebrating other’s attributes and achievements. Comparison should be constructive, not destructive. It should be a tool for building up, not tearing down. Either, we can let comparison be a trap that confines us, or a tool that compels us. Our ability to perceive it, will determine how we receive it.
We, as women, have a need to feel secure. It’s the way God designed us. The problem is, most of the time, we let the world shape our view of security, not Him. And, if you are like me, I tend to rely on my own capabilities for my security and contentment. The fact of the matter is, there is always going to be someone more beautiful, more talented, more successful, and more………you fill in the blank! I’m realizing for the first time, the reason God made us with the need to feel secure, is so that we will let him be the source to fulfill it.
Proverbs 3: 26
For the Lord is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.
Sometimes, negative comparison distorts our view of ourselves, because we are often looking at a distorted view of someone else. We won’t ever see ourselves the way God and others see us, as long as we are in the comparison trap. I remember in school, the teacher warned us to keep our eyes on our own paper, to prevent cheating. In the school of life, it may serve us best to keep our eyes on our own treasures, on our own path, and on the One who owns it all, so as to not cheat ourselves of all God has for us.
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.
We can’t learn and accomplish all that God has specifically for us, if our eyes are constantly on someone else’s path. Furthermore, life has enough twists and turns to make it difficult to see what lies ahead. Just as surely as God goes before us, so does the enemy, setting his traps. We have to be alert and watchful to avoid them. One way to do that, is to use comparison as a tool, so that it doesn’t become a trap.
Here are a few things I do to get back on track.
As soon as I realize I have been caught in the comparison trap, I pray for the Lord to give a way out fast. The longer I stay, the more debilitated I become. 1 Corinthians 10: 13 says that God is faithful and when you are tempted, He will provide a way out so that you can endure.
The majority of times I fall, is because I am focused on the world, instead of my God. I believe the enemy’s lies, instead of God’s truths. So, I refocus on God’s faithfulness. I travel down memory lane with God and recall all He has done for me. Before long, I feel God’s love assisting me back on track. He reminds me that He alone is the source of my every need. With a song of praise in my heart, comes a new pep in my step.
In everything God does, there is purpose. I remind myself of the reasons I feel God has chosen this path for me. I ask Him to reveal new tasks He wants me to do, and the lessons He wants me to learn. Don’t miss the purpose of your path.
My prayer is for us all to see ourselves the way God sees us. What do you do to get back on track after having fallen in the unhealthy comparison trap? I would love to hear your thoughts!