Comparison is a subtle trap that will always rob us of our peace, gratitude, joy, and fulfilment. Perhaps “the fastest way to kill something special, is to compare it to something else”. It will always cause us to regret what we aren’t, rather than allow us to enjoy who we are.
Before social media, and the Internet, comparisons were limited to the people we saw everyday, or just those on the movies and TV. Now however social media provides ample opportunity everyday for comparisons. Far too often we can scroll through our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. and be faced with the temptation for comparison.
Unfortunately as we far too often discover the result of comparison is envy, jealousy, insecurity, and discontentment. We use comparisons like a measuring stick, assessing our own worthiness based on others’ victories or failures, beating ourselves, or one another down with it.
“Measuring sticks try to rank some people as big and some people as small — but we aren’t sizes. We are souls. There are no better people or worse people — there are only God-made souls. There is no point trying to size people up, no point trying to compare – because souls defy measuring. (Jenny LaBahn)
When we compare, we’re essentially telling God that what He created when He made us wasn’t good enough, when in actual fact God put a lot of thought and love into creating each one of us.
“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skilfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.”(Psalm 139:13-16)
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”. (Ephesians 2:10)
We were created with intention and purpose, but if we continually compare ourselves to the people around us, we will miss seeing how unique and great we are. We will miss the opportunity to focus on building into our God given strengths, abilities and talents because we are too busy wishing we were living someone else’s life, or feeling “down on ourselves”. We will also miss the chance to be that inspiring person who encourages others.
The goal of our life is not to be better than 50% of the other people on the planet. The goal of our life is to be the person that God created us to be, walking in the path that He has planned and lovingly designed specifically for us.
I recently read a great piece of advice on beating the comparison trap. “Whenever you find you are comparing yourself to someone else, you should go right up to that person and compliment them on the very thing you’re jealous of, or comparing yourself to.”
So next time you feel envious of someone else’s great hair, their skill in some area, their nice car or beautiful home, tell them how amazing you find those things, and build them up! When you find yourself comparing your accomplishments to those of a work colleague, fellow student, family member, or your neighbour, send them a message congratulating them on their achievement. Or take the opportunity next time you see them to tell them in person. When we turn our comparisons into a way to build others up, the devil loses in his “comparison trap”, we are set free and God is glorified.
Let’s not waste time and energy comparing each other, but instead be people who cheer one another on.
Prayer: Lord please help me not to get caught up in the trap of comparing myself to someone else. Let me be a person who focuses instead on being who you have made me to be. And that I will also take every opportunity to cheer others on. In Jesus name Amen.