“She’s so pretty. I wish I had hair like hers so all the boys will like me too.”
“Gah, she’s so skinny. I better get to the gym.”
“How am I ever going to get a promotion? I am not as talented as those other candidates.”
“Why does he always text her? Will I even be good enough for that?”
This is a look into my mind. I try to beat these thoughts down with a bat every time they surface, yet I still daily struggle with comparison. I am never good enough. I am never smart enough. I am never pretty enough. I am never enough.
I realized early on in my life that this was an issue, but the outward appearance of the effects of comparison came out as anger, jealousy, and self-deprivation. I was an athlete. I played softball and honestly, I was pretty good. I was on traveling teams, competing for titles, regional championships, and I thought I was unstoppable. Until I got benched for the first time in…ever. I sat there, not saying a word, only comparing myself with the pitcher that got to start before me.
“Was my fast ball not as fast as hers?”
“Did coach like her better than me?”
“How can I be like her?”
This started the downward spiral of how comparison has daily affected my life.
When it wasn’t softball anymore, it was other things. I would compare myself to my friends who were dating, engaged, or married. I would compare myself to people in my classes and my grades to theirs. I would compare myself to women in the church and the ministry we were involved in. The list goes on. Many times these comparisons would turn into jealousy and I do not handle jealousy well. It was a lot of me closing off to people. It was a lot of stuffing my feelings down further and further inside me. It was a lot of not choosing to believe Truth. It was me choosing to not believe God is who He says He is and not believing that God created me perfectly in His sight.
Coming to the realization that comparison was being the thief to all joy set before me was (and is) a long road. This road is one with lots of tears. It’s one of lots of heartache. It’s one of a lot of yelling at me and Satan. I’ve lost close friends of mine because of it, and I’ve had to attempt to repair many other relationships because of the weightiness of my sin.
A close friend of mine recently sent me a passage out of Galatians 6:4-5 in The Message version of the Bible. It said “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others…Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”
This was the first time I had read this Galatians passage in The Message, but it really spoke to me. God is telling us that we were created for a purpose, we get to live in the image of the Lord and He’s allowing us to come into our own without comparing ourselves to others.
These words mean freedom to me. It means that I live under the Truth that God is the almighty Creator and I am His beautiful, wonderful creation. I don’t have to compare myself to others to figure out how to feel better about myself. I get to look in scripture and in Gospel community and toward God to show me my beauty and worth.
Seeking out this Truth is a daily task that needs to be done. It’s hard and frankly, I fail a lot at turning to God instead of turning to comparison. But I’m finding the more the Lord is sanctifying me, it does get easier (like lifting a 100 pound weight to lifting a 90 pound weight-still hard, but easier). Each time I choose to seek out Truth, I feel that much freer to live as God created me in Christ. This is a freedom worth fighting for.