If “comparison is the thief of joy,” as Teddy Roosevelt said, why is it that we still compare? To be honest, when I think back comparison is something I have struggled with my entire life. I absolutely know these thoughts don’t serve me, yet I compare myself to others all the time. I often feel lesser than so many people for a variety of reasons. I know some of this has to do with what our culture says is so called acceptable, popular, beautiful… but not what God says is true.
I grew up in a loving, supportive, Christian household, had lots of friends, succeeded in many things I tried, yet I still dealt with comparison. Here are a few stories in my life where I’ve found myself in the so called comparison game. I know we all have our own experiences in life that have molded us into who we are. I’m sharing my stories in hopes you can also address your own. When I make myself aware of my own sin and change my posture in how I am in relationship with God, so much more in my life changes for the better.
Let’s start at the very beginning for me when I recall comparison in my mind and heart. In elementary school one of my favorite classes was gym. I loved it, BUT when the gym teacher would roll out a large cart of balls. I knew it was dodge-ball time. I was athletic and loved sports, but this game intimidated me greatly. Teams would get picked, and I’m sure you can probably see where this is going, I would always be one of the last to get picked. Throwing balls wasn’t a problem for me, but having fast hard balls come at me was not my thing at all. I know full well if I was picking teams, I wouldn’t have picked myself either. I couldn’t blame the kids, yet feelings of embarrassment would come over me. Internal dialogue would set in with bad self-talk and comparing myself to everyone else, not feeling like I fit in with my peers.
In High School I was one of the so-called popular kids. Reading the term ‘popular kids’ makes me want to cringe. What this season of life looked like for me included having lots of friends, was active in sports, involved in band, choir and theater, was polite and tried hard in class resulting in teachers liked me, you name it I was involved. I enjoyed keeping busy and loved being around others. I was on prom court, homecoming queen and all around had a great time in High School. Reading this it seems like I had it all, but you know what I had the need to please. I had poor internal self-talk and self-esteem issues about how I looked, what I had, friends I had, who was or wasn’t talking to me that day/week, insecurities that I yet wasn’t enough. I look at this time in life and it honestly was a great time, yet I’m so sad to say I still compared myself and couldn’t just be happy for what I had. Unfortunately, some things never change.
In college I joined a sorority because it was what the cool kids were doing. In some respects this was a great decision and for other reasons not so much. Some of my most cherished friendships I met because of this decision, so for that I’m forever grateful. However, the comparison game during this season of life for me grew to an unhealthy level. For me it looked like heavy drinking and partying. Not spending much time with lifelong High School friends, in fear I’d miss out on something that weekend if I left town. Before the term FOMO existed, let me tell you FOMO was alive and well in my heart. I spent a lot of money on credit cards to buy popular clothing, heaven for bid I repeat an outfit at a frat party. This debt carried into my post college days that I then had to pay off. My need to fit in, feel important and enough resulted in huge debt. My need to fit in was so great that my morals didn’t seem to matter much during this season of life. I allowed this need to take over my life instead of staying true to my morals, values and what I knew God wanted for me.
You would think as an adult my struggle with the comparison game has gotten better, but unfortunately at times it is at an all-time high. I feel lesser than so many others because I don’t have a fancy job that makes a lot of money. I feel like something is wrong with me or that people don’t like me when I notice I wasn’t included in a gathering. I feel not as smart, pretty or in shape as other Mom’s. I don’t have all the right clothes, car or home. I’m not as good of a Mom because my kids don’t behave all the time. You get the point; the list goes on and on… Although I know intellectually these things are not true, I still struggle with poor internal dialogue stemming from my sinful nature to compare.
I’ve been an interior designer for over ten years. With this career comparison is everywhere. I’m always seeing the trendy new things coming out and beautiful homes around me, yet to me my home feels not as nice as everyone else’s. I don’t even invite people over because I desire so badly to impress people with my home. I feel it needs to look designed, and yet it isn’t so then embarrassment sets in.
After thinking about this, it occurred to me to ask myself, what am I really comparing to. We have a home, heat, water, electricity, food, furniture, clothes, games, toys, music, love, we really have more than we ever would need. Yet it hasn’t been enough for me to allow people into our home for fear of judgement. How sad is that. The trade-off I am choosing it isolate myself for fear of being judged, rather than getting in relationship and community with others. I allow my pride to get in the way, missing out on deeper connections with others.
I’m allowing these thoughts to weigh me down. To address this I need to mute the voice in my head that says I’m lesser than. Just because I don’t have what others have, look the same way or have the same talents, doesn’t mean the person I’ve become and talents I’ve been gifted with aren’t important or enough. God has made us all to be our own unique individual creation. He has a purpose for each-and-every one of us. This may sound cliché, but not until recently did I really believe it in my core. That is why I’m saying it to YOU today, because this may be the one time you need to hear it for it to click and stick.
YOU ARE ENOUGH!!!
You are how God made you to be. He loves you just as you are. He will not leave you nor forsake you. Do not be so hard on yourself. Remember that you are not the judge, God is, and he’s telling you that you are just how He created you to be.
Stop being on this hamster wheel of life, running and running and running yourself to exhaustion to still now feel enough. Just because my talents may not be like others doesn’t discredit the talents I have. Just because I don’t look like everyone else, doesn’t mean I’m not beautiful to God.
I NEED TO ALWAYS REMEMBER, WHO I AM AND WHO’S I AM!
After thinking about this I know I am a compassionate loving person that enjoys encouraging others. I am creative, innovative and curious. I like to include and help others. I enjoy trying new things, but also enjoy a comfortable and simple life. I love wearing comfy/casual clothes. Playing sports makes me feel alive and young. Watching a concert invigorates my soul. I cherish time with friends, but also find solitude being alone. I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend. And most importantly I AM GOD’S DAUGHTER, LOVED, FORGIVEN, KNOWN AND PERFECT IN HIS SIGHT, JUST AS HE CREATED ME TO BE.
We weren’t meant to be anyone else. We were born into this body and soul to be who God created. Now our job is to ignore that voice in our head and dig deep to DISCOVER THE YOU GOD CREATED. Embrace it, stay the course, keep focused on Gods will and desires for your life. He will not lead you astray, so follow His lead.
These verses I find to be a blessing to the soul. Meditate and memorize these
for when you lose sight of who and who’s you are.
Psalm 139:13-14 – For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful; I know that full well.
Galatians 6:4-5 – Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.
Psalm 23:1 – The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
These questions may help you shift your perspective and realize who and who’s you are!
What are your gifts?
Who in your core are you?
What in your core do you enjoy doing?
Who in your core do you know you want to be for God?
If no one else heard these answers but you and God, would they be the same or change?
Share this with God. HE loves you. HE loves being there with you always. HE wants you to know that you are always enough, so do that today!