Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Have you ever felt really proud of something you did (big or small), only to feel cut down when comparing it to the accomplishment of another? As a simple example, a friend’s daughter had a picture taken of herself where she felt pretty and confident and decided to share it on social media. After receiving fewer “likes” as compared to others, she felt mortified and removed the picture. All of a sudden something she was proud of was diminished, an accomplishment lessened and a unique quality about herself squandered. Isn’t it so easy to feel this way?
Even if we experience satisfaction, confidence, and joy, comparison sweeps in to minimize it, to tell us it’s not enough, that we’ll never measure up and to stop trying. So, we begin to listen to the lies and self-doubt begins to creep in. Is my house decorated enough? Am I as accomplished as he is? Am I as funny and well-liked as her? And the answer is never “Yes.” And you begin to believe that you’re not measuring up. This is not how we were meant to live. So, what can we do? How can we stop the comparison trap? Galatians has some insights.
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” -Galatians 1:10
“Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others. Assume your own responsibility.” -Galatians 6:4-5
You can’t focus on your purpose while looking at other people.
Satan tries to make us forget that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” as well as “made in God’s image.” The creator of the universe designed our every nuance, quirk and personality trait. And what we may see as a flaw, he looked at and said it was good.
So how do we stop this urge to compare? We must get to the root of our desire for acceptance.
We want others to believe we are smart, funny, thoughtful, perfect. But no human is perfect! The man or woman you’re comparing yourself to? They’re not perfect either. They struggle with insecurities and confidence too. Why at times do we feel pain, bitterness and jealousy at others’ success? It’s a horrible feeling and triggers seeds of insecurities planted by Satan. So how do you stop a seed from growing into a full-on plant and taking root in your heart? You cut off its food source. You don’t feed the lies, you don’t let it thrive, you squash it with truth. And the truth is our imperfections are covered by the grace of His sacrifice. The only solution is to try and find our solace in Christ. So, I challenge you. Where are you drawing comparison? How are you feeding into them? Lasting joy leaves no room for comparison.