I had a wonderful meeting today with a LONG time friend from church. She was sharing her awesome mission trip (our post on Deborah House, a home in Romania for girls who have faced significant trauma). We were catching up. We talked about so many things we were jumping around in the conversation. There was one point in the conversation that became a time to confess and apply God’s Word.
We both confessed comparing ourselves to each other and feeling like we don’t measure up. We laughed and acknowledged that at our age we’ve become aware it’s not just us that compares, but it is evident in many people. We just do it naturally. Why? Why do we feel like if I’m not like you, there must be something inadequate in me? God made it perfectly clear (previous post) that each one of us was made for a purpose and created by Him.
He didn’t have an off day when He made you, and a better day when He made someone else.
We label people. God calls you HIS. We say things like poor, middle class, wealth, pretty, ugly, smart, not so smart, extrovert, introvert, thinker, feeler, learning disabled, damaged, abused etc….the list is endless! Then we attach meaning to these words and rank them. I almost feel silly typing this post, but it’s so rampant I had to remind us to just STOP!
So, according to Simon Cowell your voice is better for the shower. Maybe you love to dance, but never had a day of lessons. You apply for a job and someone else gets it. You got bronze and your friend got gold. Your past is filled with trauma and struggles and some of your friends didn’t experience those things and you feel different. All these examples are extreme to drive the point home.
Once you get your mind off God’s beautiful way He created YOU and His plan for you, we start comparing, and then the big green monster of jealousy comes.
Instead of filling our minds with God’s Truth, we listen to the world saying we don’t measure up. When I feel that green monster knocking on my door, I purposefully call it what it is in my mind and say STOP! Then I, on purpose, look at that person as a child of God (just like me) who God is working His plan in. God has a plan for each of us and each of us has to do our part. If I try to do your part then I can’t do my part. Then all of a sudden when I get tired of trying to be like you, I switch to someone else and try to be like them, and a vicious, never-ending, never measure up, poor self-esteem life happens. Rick Warren in his book The Purpose Driven Life says, “Those who follow the crowd usually get lost in it. I don’t know all the keys to success, but one key to failure is to try to please everyone. Being controlled by the opinions of others is a guaranteed way to miss God’s purposes for your life. Jesus said, ‘No one can serve two masters’. We create unused potential, unnecessary stress, and an unfulfilled life.”
Comparison is rooted in fears of trying to measure up and feelings of failure or self hate. It is very closely related to approval addiction (a previous post) in which we strive so hard to please everyone by constantly comparing ourselves and measuring our life by someone elses’ standards. The sad part about comparing ourselves to others is that we never get the benefit of healthy, Christian relationships, and we are constantly mentally beating ourselves up. The most significant issue of comparing ourselves to others is that we don’t spend time developing our God-given talents because we are so busy comparing.
Mentoring relationships are healthy. It’s when you walk in a room and look around measuring, adding it up, and waiting for someone to say in some way “You measure up tonight! Good job!” then that’s when you know you are involved in the comparison game.
Your measuring stick is God’s redeeming love for you, and HE ADORES YOU! He sees you through the finished work of Jesus Christ – no blemish and beautiful!
“Let everyone be sure to do his very best, for then he will have the personal satisfaction of work done well and won’t need to compare himself with someone else.” (Galatians 6:4 LB)
And, on days when you fall short of your best you serve a Savior whose mercies are new every morning! (His GRACE is amazing!)
Pursue Him and watch your life become what He intended YOU to be. He doesn’t want you to be anyone else.
I’m so glad my sweet friend Melinda is all she is in Christ and all the things she will become! I can learn from her, but when I start comparing myself to her, then I miss out on my potential, and we both miss out on a more healthy, Christian friendship.
New International Version (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.