What is Comparison
Comparison. That thing we do where we look at our life and someone else’s life and judge ourselves based on what we have/don’t have compared to that person… that thing where we judge ourselves as inadequate because we don’t look like, have, or act like someone else we may admire in a certain area. As people, we compare seasons, relationships, possessions, roles, statuses, and so on. But do we really know the negative consequences it has on our walk with God and how God really feels about it?
What Does Comparison Do?
Comparison hinders you from truly enjoying your season and where God has you, it will prevent you from learning what God wants you to learn in the place that He has you in because you’re constantly looking at others. It hinders you from accomplishing the work that God has called you to do because you think it should be done like how this person does it or you should look like that person. Having this mindset will even have you trying to do things that God NEVER called you to do or be someone He NEVER created you to be. Too many people build ministries off what they think it should look like (based off what they’ve seen from the person they’re comparing themselves to) instead of what God told them it should be.
It’s hard to fully enjoy others when you’re comparing yourself to them. In fact, comparison prevents you from being happy for others and will eventually lead to jealousy and envy (that’s a topic for a whole other day). It’s even harder to enjoy yourself when you don’t think you’re “as good as” so and so — you miss out on your God given uniqueness. You also miss out on the special gifts and anointing that God has placed on your life because you just don’t think you’re good enough…pretty enough…smart enough…anointed enough, and so on.
Plain and simple, comparison is a distraction, a distraction from what God is doing with Y-O-U. When God was creating you, He didn’t compare you to the sister next to you, behind you, or in front of you. He made you wonderfully and uniquely; He took His time crafting you externally and filling you internally to be who you are today.
For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
Psalm 139 :13-14
(I recommend reading the whole chapter and really meditating on it)
Causes of Comparison
Heart issues don’t just come out of nowhere; yes, we were born with a sinful nature but heart issues usually have a root cause. As for comparison, one of the biggest causes of it is plain old insecurity – that feeling in you that has you not confident about yourself or your abilities. Insecurity that you aren’t loved by God, insecurity that you’re not special, insecurity in your looks, insecurity that God won’t use you, etc. – any insecurity is a doorway to comparison in one area or another. Even just being insecure about your season or what God is doing in your life can have you comparing yourself to other people.
Another cause for comparison is a lack of trust in God. When you don’t trust God with your life it’s easy for your eyes to wander to what He is doing in other people’s lives. You must trust and understand that God strategically orchestrates EVERY season of your life for a purpose and for your good. When you’re in a valley season and it seems as if God has forsaken you or you’re not sure what He is doing with your life, trust Him; don’t fall into the trap of comparing your life to other people’s lives. The Bible tells us that when we are troubled in our heart and in need of help to look up at God, not over at the people around us:
I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
I recommend reading all of Psalm 121 if you’re in a valley season, it’s very comforting and reassuring. Ask God to increase your trust in Him. Remind yourself of the promises written in His word. God has your life, you can trust and rest in Him.
I heard a pastor give a great example of comparison in the Bible using the story of David and King Saul. In 1 Samuel 18 when the men were coming back from battle and the people greeted them with singing and dancing,
the women sang as they danced, and said:
“Saul has slain his thousands,
And David his ten thousands.” (vs.7)
Instantly King Saul compared himself with David, became jealous, and began to resent him from that day forth. King Saul was discontent with how God used him (compared to how David was used), he wanted to be used in that battle the way David was used or greater. Discontentment is another cause of comparison. When we aren’t content with where God has us, it’s easy to look around and want what God has given someone else. Be content where God has you. When you find yourself getting discontent focus your attention on God all the more and remember to be grateful with where He has you.
Another cause for comparison is a lack of understanding God’s love for you. I personally dealt with this a lot earlier in my walk. I used to think God didn’t love me as much as He loved the sister in Christ next to me. I used to think that these people were more Spirt-filled and anointed than me simply because God didn’t love me as much as He loved them, so God filled them more. I thought that God used them more because He loved them more. I felt like a second-class citizen when it came to God’s love. I failed to understand that it wasn’t that God loved them more, I was simply not where they were, I was still in a place of getting rooted in Christ; He had me hidden as He was cleaning me and preparing me. Oftentimes, we misjudge where God has us. We compare our 2nd grade season to someone else’s 11th grade season. When I began to understand and believe that God loved me just as much as He loved them, those thoughts of comparison went away and I could truly rest in His love for me – it was so freeing to be fully assured in His love for me.
How to Overcome Comparison
The first step to getting free from any issue is to acknowledge that you have that issue. Until you acknowledge that you have comparison in your heart then you can never begin to address it and actively deal with it. Once you acknowledge it between you and God, ask Him to show you the root of it — when did it first begin, what was that trigger moment in your life that caused that seed to be planted in you?
For King Saul it began when the people acknowledged David’s greater victory (1 Samuel 18:6-9). Maybe your root issue began as a child when another sibling or classmate was praised or noticed more than you? Maybe it began in grade school when one of your peers had things that your family couldn’t afford and you were made fun of for not having the latest things? Ask God to show you when and how your issue began. Ask Him to show you the root of it. Maybe for you it was because your parents constantly compared you to other children? Whatever the root of it is, allow God to take you back there and uproot that lie. Until the initial seed of that lie is dug up and removed, it will continue to grow fruits of comparison, insecurity, worthlessness, shame, jealousy, self-hatred, and so on. The seed of Christ can’t do what it’s meant to do in you if there’s another seed inside of you producing things contrary to Him. It may hurt for you to go back to those moments because it may expose hidden wounds in you that have been in you for years, but I can tell you from experience, the freedom and victory you will gain from uncovering those wounds is so much greater than the pain you feel now.
Other things that have helped me overcome comparison is learning to appreciate myself and others for who we are, how we are, and how God made us. We are all like the different colors in the rainbow or different flowers in a field. We are all uniquely beautiful in how God made us. God enjoys each of us just as He has made us. The color yellow is beautiful, its unique in itself and it’s a beautiful sight to see. The color purple is also beautiful and unique in itself; one cannot cancel out the other. The color yellow is needed to bridge the gap between orange and green, neither colors can be replaced. The same is true with us, in God’s eyes we cannot be replaced and we are needed in the body of Christ; we all play a special role, have a special place that we fit in, and collectively (and individually) before God are a sight to behold! There is no room for comparison before God. Appreciate yourself fully and appreciate others fully. (Read 1 Corinthians 12 for further understanding on the importance of each member in the body of Christ).
Then ask God to give you the gift of contentment. Contentment with who God made you to be and how He made you to be. Whether you are short, tall, light or dark skinned, have long or short hair, talk fast or slow, and so on – having overall contentment with how God created you will begin to crush comparison. The features and traits that God gave you are beautiful to Him, and until you view them that way as well, you will continue to compare yourself with those who have traits that you prefer. Enjoy yourself for how God made you. The same goes for being content in your season and with the things that God has given you. This comes with trusting Him; trusting that He knows what is best for you and has your best interest at heart. When you don’t believe that God has your best interest at heart, it’s hard to stay still where He has you; you’ll constantly think that it’s better for you to be somewhere other than where He has you. God knows what He’s doing with your life, trust Him and be still. A passage that always encourages me when it comes to what God is doing in my life is Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (read it when you get a chance). God has a special and specific time for everything that He does in your life.
It is completely possible to overcome anything through Christ and that includes comparison. So as you allow God to free you and He removes the areas that you compare, replace that mindset of comparison with a mindset of gratitude. Instead of comparing, be grateful for what God has set before you. Go from having an attitude of comparison to an attitude of gratitude!
- Thank you to everyone who has ever read a blog post, shared a post, followed, liked, or personally sent me an encouraging message about this blog! All of your support is truly appreciated! Every single one of you have helped me to continue to post as the Lord leads me. The end of this year marks 2 full years since this blog began (yayy!) and I am so excited to see what 2017 brings for this blog!
- I’ve been getting a lot (A LOT) of emails from a lot of you with questions and seeking advice on godly relationships. I haven’t been able to answer them all right away, please be patient with me as I get to all of them. I am not ignoring your emails, lol; I will answer them in time.
- In 2017 I aim to post much more than I do now! This is something I know the Lord is really pressing on me to be more consistent with. So please pray with me as I seek the Lord for topics and balancing life so that I can post more regularly.