We hear so much about the comparison trap these days, that it has almost become cliche to even bring it up. The truth, however, is that the temptation to compare ourselves to others is no small or trite problem. It is a serious issue that affects our daily walk, and we can only successfully battle it through the power and work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
In the age of social media, it has become so easy to compare ourselves to other people, both from a place of pride as well as self-consciousness. On the one hand we compare our accomplishments to others’ lack thereof and pat ourselves on the back. On the other hand we struggle with comparing our shortcomings to others’ seeming “perfection” and end up growing distraught over how we don’t measure up. Neither stance is healthy and both are unbiblical. But what do we do? How do we fight the comparison monster each and every time it attempts to rear its ugly head? Read on for five important little reminders you can daily preach to yourself as you seek to put an end to the comparison game!
1. Remember they actually don’t have it all together.
You know that girl you follow on social media who seems to have the perfect significant other, perfect job, perfect home, perfect complexion, and perfect body? Yeah, that girl actually isn’t quite as perfect as you think, and neither is her life. What she didn’t show you was the mess just outside the frame of her camera, what she didn’t tell you was that she and her significant other had a blow-up fight last night, and what she didn’t let you see was her face without makeup.
How can you know that she actually doesn’t have it all together? Because you don’t, either, and we are all born with the same icky sin nature that messes everything up. That “perfect” girl still loses her temper, gets her feelings hurt and hurts the feelings of others, feels disappointment, and regularly takes issue with one part of her body or another.
2. Remember that a little encouragement goes a long way.
One of the best antidotes to comparison that I have found so far is encouraging the girl to whom I am currently comparing myself. If I am envying or putting another girl down in my mind, doing what I can to reach out and encourage her makes a huge difference. It helps me to remember that we all struggle, we all have aspects of our lives that are hard, and we all could just use a dose of good old encouragement. Taking your eyes off yourself and how you compare to the other girl and instead seeking to be a blessing to her helps so much!
3. Remember that Jesus is our ultimate standard.
The hard truth about comparison is this: it’s a tool of the enemy, plain and simple. The longer he can get us to try to live up to the standard of another fallen human being, the longer he can keep us from fixing our eyes on Christ and seeking to live like Him.
Hear me when I say this, friend: the Lord has never and will never ask you to live up to some arbitrary standard of a fellow human being. He has only ever asked you to be like Him while at the same time providing you with all the help, armor, and wisdom you need in order to do so.
4. Remember that God doesn’t make mistakes.
I don’t know about you, but my biggest struggle with comparison comes when someone else gets an opportunity that I wanted. I have to preach truth to myself in those times, remembering what I know to be reality: my God doesn’t make mistakes. His plan is good, His timing perfect, His wisdom infinite, His big picture clear, and His love for me unconditional. If it would have been good for me to get the opportunity that other girl received, then I would have. But He knew that, for whatever reason, it would not have been beneficial for me to have received that opportunity just then. Because He knows and wants what is ultimately best for me, He didn’t allow that opportunity to come my way. And, you know what? I can be at peace and rest in that!
5. Remember that you have all the help you need.
Another area of struggle for me is when I think someone else has it all together and I then look down at my procrastinator, struggles-with-a-temper, sometimes lazy self and begin to feel hopeless and less-than. It is in moments like that when I have to remind myself that I am never hopeless. I can do all things through the strength of Christ (2 Corinthians 12:9, Philippians 4:13), and He is my help and hope. As I walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-18), those much-desired fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) will begin to arise more and more in my life. And that is all I could ever ask for!
So, take heart, friend! Rest in the Lord and His loving heart for you. Believe that He Who begin a good work in you will carry it on to completion (Philippians 1:6). And stop feeling the need to compare yourself to others.