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What am I Doing Wrong?

What am I Doing Wrong?

Have you ever thought, I’m doing everything I should be doing but not getting what I thought I would get?

I told my husband I was doing Whole30, a thirty-day program comprised of no sugar, no wheat, no dairy, and no fun. I invited him to join, but he said he didn’t want to do it. After seeing all my meals and dedication to this plan, he joined me on day twenty and still cheated here and there. He said he did Whole30; I said it was more like Whole10. At the end of thirty days of stringent dieting and clean eating, I lost five pounds. But get this: Matt hopped on the scale and lost twelve pounds. Let that sink in: the man lost twelve pounds in ten days.

  • There is nothing worse than doing what you’re supposed to do and not getting what you thought you should get.

As trivial as that story might seem to you, it’s wrapped in years of wrestling with weight, eating right, working out, and not getting the results I thought I would. I found myself saying, “I’m doing everything right, so why is everything so wrong?”

Maybe you have been trying to get pregnant with the man you have been married to for years. And all of a sudden, your friend who’s been shacking up with her boyfriend gets knocked up after 2.5 seconds. You’re left wondering, What did I do wrong?

Maybe you’ve been single, sexy, and sanctified for years, abstaining from sexual activity because you want to do relationships the biblical way. You’ve been waiting for the one, the Boaz to your Ruth, when some hot young thing rolls into church wearing little more than a ball of yarn and sits next to your man.a You are praising the Lord with one hand and texting your friend with the other, saying, “I love Jesus, but I will cut somebody.”

Maybe you’ve been doing the most at work. You’re the first to arrive and last to leave. Your projects are pristine and always in ahead of deadline. Your output is solid, your attitude is the best, and they still hired someone else for the promotion you wanted.

You know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t already, you will at some point feel like you are doing everything God asks you to do, when someone else swoops in and snatches up your blessing.

I get it.

When I was twenty-six years old, I was pinching pennies while I was in graduate school.b I served weekly in youth ministry and volunteered at my church. I was single and desperately wanted to be in a relationship, but I could not get a date to save my life. In addition to living at home because I couldn’t afford my own place, I was helping to care for my mom through stage 3 brain cancer. It was an incredibly hard season.

During this time, my twin sister got engaged to the most perfect man in the world whom she’d been dating for six years — with a three-carat diamond. Please hear me: I absolutely love my sister. I was over the moon for her. But if I’m honest, deep down in my heart, I was really sad for me too. I felt deep longing and loss at the same time. I longed for what she had and felt enormous loss as my sister was leaving our birth bond to bond with someone else.

My situation wasn’t exactly like Esau’s — Jasmine didn’t steal from me — but I did still feel robbed. When I compared my life to everyone else’s, it didn’t make sense to me. My friends — who didn’t even love or serve God — were living amazing lives. I, on the other hand, was alone, living at home, and abysmally single.c It felt like everyone was getting married, moving out, moving on, getting pregnant, getting promotions, buying homes, becoming bosses, and I had been forgotten. All the good and all the blessing and all the favor were given to everyone else but me.

There have been moments when I’ve struggled to hold the tension of happiness and sadness. In the struggle, I’ve probably looked as fake as a so-called designer purse bought out of the trunk of a car in a seedy alleyway.

“A new home? How amazing!” “Another vacation? That’s great!” “A promotion? Good for you!”

My pearly whites were on full shine while inside I was breaking, wondering, Why not me? When is it my turn?

  • But when we focus on what we lack and compare that to someone else’s blessing, it’s never going to end well for us.

How to Break Free from Comparison

So how do we get beyond comparison? To find out, let’s take a look at how Esau handled things.

Most people probably don’t know what happened to Esau after Jacob stole his blessing. But let me bring in some history that might help us all get free from the bondage of comparison.

After Esau cried out to his father for a blessing, this is what he received:

Finally, his father, Isaac, said to him, “You will live away from the richness of the earth, and away from the dew of the heaven above. You will live by your sword, and you will serve your brother. But when you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck.” Genesis 27:39–40 NLT

On first glance, this seems like a weak blessing, but reread that last sentence: “When you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck.” Esau had an out! He eventually would be able to shake Jacob’s control over him. But there was a requirement baked into the blessing. Did you catch it? Isaac told Esau that he had to decide to break free. In the same way, I want you to break free from the yoke of comparison. And

if you want to break free, you have to make a conscious choice.


Are you ready to stop comparing? If comparison isn’t gone, it’s because you aren’t ready. If every time they post on social media you cringe, you might not be ready to shake free. If every time their name is mentioned you involuntarily roll your eyes, you’re still stuck in the bondage of comparison. If every time they advance you sigh, then you ain’t ready to let it go, but you’ve got to.

The moment you let that comparison go, it has to let go of you! The yoke is broken.

When you decide what someone else has isn’t going to hold you captive...

When you decide jealousy will not dissuade you...
When you decide comparison will not discourage you... When you decide to break free...
... then you will shake off the yoke and break freaking free.

We usually don’t hear about Esau in Sunday school or in sermons, but we most definitely hear about the exploits of his twin brother, Jacob. We hear about Jacob wrestling with God for a blessing. We hear about Jacob’s name change from deceiver to prince of many (Israel).

But what happened to Esau? After the blessing debacle and subsequent brawl, Rebekah told Jacob he’d better skip town. She knew Esau was livid, and given the chance, he could’ve killed Jacob with his own two hands. If we ended the story there, we might scratch our heads and say, “Wow, Esau got the short end of the stick. He did everything his father asked him to do and still didn’t get the blessing that was his birthright. Of course he’d compare his blessings to Jacob’s. It was all so unfair.”

If we aren’t careful, we can feel that same way about our lives. The script we write internally sounds something like: I’ve been going to church faithfully, giving, tithing, leading, and serving. Why did someone else get what was supposed to go to me? Why did she get the promotion? Why did they have the baby? Why did they get the house? Why did she get the guy?

The list goes on, and you are right there crying with Esau. But that is not the end of his story. And it isn’t the end of yours either.

  1. I mean, he doesn’t know he’s your man yet, but he’s your man. You claimed him.
  2. In full confession, I had a full-ride scholarship for school. I was pinching pennies because I had a convertible BMW I shouldn’t have bought, so I was cleaning offices at night to try to earn extra income. Bless my heart.
  3. If you are happily single, rock on. As someone born in a unit, there was a part of me that longed for a mate. But in no way does my longing for a partner mean I’m not a fan of happy and fulfilling singleness.

Excerpted with permission from Grit Don’t Quit by Bianca Olthoff, copyright Bianca Juárez Olthoff.

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Your Turn

Have you ever wondered why everyone else seems to get what you have been wanting? Or how someone else’s life is going great and yours continues to be hard? How has comparison taken you out at the knees? This isn’t the end of your story because God loves you and is doing good things to your benefit! Come share your thoughts with us. We want to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full