I’ve never had more friends today that I don’t really know, yet these “friends” can still affect me. I scroll through their highlight reels of life on social media, and without much effort at all, I begin to compare. I compare my marriage, my kids, my house decor (or lack thereof), my cooking, my vacations. You get the idea. Comparison is everywhere, and we seem, at some level, to accept it.
Our overly-connected world has ushered in the tendency and temptation for constant comparison. The dark art of comparison not only steals our joy, but is a destroyer of peace. Peace in our hearts and peace in our relationships.
I see this especially in women today, regardless of age, all over the world. We have forgotten our own uniqueness, purpose, and frankly, our identity; and so we turn to the world in curiosity and hope of finding who we are and what we are worth.
I am no stranger to this. Comparison is the tool I used as a fashion model to size up my competition. A life of comparison led me to constantly having to adapt and change in order to please others. For goodness sakes, I was on a TV show that was based on comparison and competition, America’s Next Top Model! I was only as good as my last picture, and so my worth and value had to be re-established day after day.
Comparison, like all vice, is exhausting.
It pits humanity against humanity and makes us turn inward forgetting who we are, whose we are, and our fellow man.
But why do we compare?
There are as many reasons for comparison as we have doubts. We might compare for a sense of community, for validation, insecurity or emptiness. We compare to feel justified or superior. We compare to hide our own wounds, our suffering and to maybe just make sense of our world.
It seems to me, no matter what the reason, the truth is glaring right back at us: we’ve forgotten our identity, and with that, our purpose.
It is easy to lose our sense of purpose if we forget who we are as redeemed children of God and forget to see this same identity in others. We are not each other’s competition. If we dare to call ourselves Christian, we must accept that we are a family and we are His. While we must fight against the temptation to compare and tear down, God did not make us to be at war with one another,
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. — 1 Corinthians 12:27
Have you ever wondered how your life would change if you stopped comparing? Think about all the time you’d save, the worry and anxiety, self doubt or inflated sense of self – all if we began to focus more on our identity and purpose. Ditching comparison creates opportunities for us to truly do something beautiful for God. Below are six ways to shutdown comparison and the benefits that follow.
How to shutdown comparison
Cut out the noise.
We have noise everywhere. Not just audible noise, but the noise circling around in our head. I have a general rule for all noise in my life and this pertains to entertainment, friends, music, reading, and even my own speech: if it does not build up and add life to my life, cut it out. We must guard our hearts, “for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23 NIV).
Acknowledge the fear.
When we catch ourselves comparing, we need to ask where this is coming from. What fear are we carrying around that needs to be addressed. Am I afraid I’m not good enough, smart enough? Comparison is usually done out of a fear of feeling unworthy. If we can acknowledge the fear, we have a better chance at battling and conquering it.
Become more aware of who we are.
Nothing is more transformational than realizing and accepting Christ and his love and plan for us. Scripture and prayer is our source for becoming more aware of our purpose and identity.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. — Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
Our neighbor, the Sephora make up artist, the stranger commenting on your Facebook picture, or a random celebrity do not know God’s plan for you. But God does, and he will surely reveal it to you in his good and perfect time.
What happens if we ditch comparison?
When we ditch comparison, it frees us to contribute to the good in our life, our family and ultimately adds more goodness to our world. It’s a lot easier loving someone when you are not at battle with them in your heart or mind. Seeing our sisters in Christ for who they are, listening to them, being present in their lives, are all ways we can contribute. We are not each others competition, we have been called to lift up and show up.
Our worth and value does not waiver.
The most beautiful aspect of ditching comparison is that it opens the door to a foundation of identity and purpose that will not crumble. When our worth and value are placed in Christ alone, nothing can shake it. Nothing.
Who we are is who He says we are – HIS.
Our worth, value, identity or purpose are not found in God because we say so, but because He says so.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. — John 15:16 ESV
We have been made in the image and likeness of God Almighty, not Chanel, Dolce or Gabanna, or any other influence in the world. We are unique and unrepeatable. Accepting and living out this truth in Christ Jesus offers a type of beauty that is based in wholeness and holiness. The beauty that changes, the beauty that invites others to truth and goodness, is a beauty that radiates within. This type of beauty, that we all have, shines brighter when we ditch comparison and contribute, like the women we’ve been made to be.
Written for Faith.Full by Leah Darrow, author of The Other Side of Beauty.
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Has constant comparison haunted you, too? I find that sometimes I have to take a break from social media if it’s hurting my heart and my soul. How about you? Ditching comparison and remembering who we are in Jesus will only bring us joy and peace! What do you need to do to shut down comparing yourself to others? Come share with us on our blog! We want to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full