Saying No to Comparison

Comparison is an ugly game that I have played more times than I’d like to remember. I’m not the only one, right? I feel that as women, we are constantly pulled and tempted to compare ourselves to others: magazine cover models, ministry leaders, other creative artists, moms at the school pick-up line…

Last week, Ellen Parker {from the Sweetwater Blog} taught a class on “Saying No to Comparison” on the Influence Network. And I didn’t realize how deeply her words cut to my core {in a good way} until I started journaling about it. An hour later, I looked back at the mess of smeared words and highlighted sentences and realized, I have listened to a lot of lies.

Why do I compare my life to others – or my perception of what I think their life is? I’m afraid I don’t measure up, that I’m failing on some level to reach a standard for the perfect missionary/wife/woman. I’m afraid that others will examine my life and find me lacking. I look at other women and think, how can I get a life like that? A blog, a marriage, a family, a ministry that just looks so perfect and easy, compared to mine? And when other women encourage me, I brush off their words and don’t give it value – unless they happen to be my “comparison idol” of the moment.

Because that’s what comparison really is – making other people my god, my idol, what I worship and pursue. 

But I don’t need to be like ________.

I need to stop thinking, “I want to be like her.”

I need to want to be like Jesus.

I need to be who God created me to be – my own unique reflection of my Savior.

God is calling me to the cross of Christ. The gospel tells me the only comparison that matters is the one Jesus made for me. The cross shows me my life was compared to the perfect holiness of God, and you know what? I didn’t measure up. But the cross also says, Jesus stepped in. His love for me was so great, he took the fall and gave me his perfection. And now, the Father says, you are enough. Your life measures up. And I don’t have to keep working hard or wishing my life was like someone else’s, or boosting my self-esteem by thinking my life appears better than someone else’s.

The gospel crushes my need to compare.

The gospel wipes out my pride and my insecurities.

It simultaneously says, you weren’t enough, but now you are.

A practical {and painful} way I applied this lesson was to write out all my “comparison idols” – people in my life that I routinely use as the measuring stick for how well {I think} I’m doing. I actually wrote down their names and why I felt the need to compare myself to them. And doing so felt like I was being spiritually cleansed of the jealousy and anxiety that comparison brings into my heart.

And God showed me the only one I need to look to for validation is him. Yes, I need to continue examining my life and my heart, but not to compare it with other humans – in order for God to make himself known to me, and to allow him to change me.

So what truths can set me free when I feel the pull to compare?

I am loved by God.

I am made enough by Christ.

I am a unique part of God’s tapestry of humanity – not made to be similar to or compared with any other part.

The blessings and the trials in my life are designed to make me mature and complete – not to be compared with the blessings and trials of others.

And knowing the truth can set me free to rejoice in the blessings and mourn in the sufferings that others experience, with no jealousy, anxiety, or pride in my heart.

So I’m learning to let go of comparison, and cling to Jesus. He is the one who casts out my fear of not being enough and replaces it with his love.

How about you? Do you struggle with comparison? What Scripture and truth has helped you let go and love?

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