The Comparison Trap

 

    Recently God has been pressing upon my heart the need to release myself from the life-stealing habit of comparison.  I’m embarrassed to even admit it, but I did it all of the time!  I’d see someone and thoughts popped into my head about their age, hair color, outfit, size, kids, spouse… nothing was off limits.  They may be better than me in some areas, and lacking compared to me in others.  At least, that was my opinion, but the truth is that I have no idea who they person are, what they are capable of, or even what kind of day they may have had causing them to act a certain manner in that moment.  I wouldn't even given them a chance to defend themselves against my silent attack.  Whew, it’s a little hard to put that out there for you all to read, but it is the truth.  I am now happy to share that I am in recovery from this unfair and self-debilitating nasty little habit.  That may seem overboard to some of youth call it “recovery,” but it feels right on to say it.  Comparison is self-destructive.  I had to change, and I had to do it immediately.  When God speaks I have learned that you obey, and you do it NOW.  When I first read the words from Pastor and Author Mark Batterson, “Delayed obedience is just simply disobedience," I was immediately convicted to quit putting off till tomorrow what I could do today.  

    I began to realize that by comparing and judging others, I was not only being unfair to them, but also to myself.  Everything I felt about them would only make my own thoughts and actions much worse.  The comparisons I put toward others were nothing close to what I say and think about myself.  So how did I stop? How can you stop? The first step was recognizing that I was doing it.  There are things that happen in our minds so automatically that we don’t even recognize them.  Comparison and judgement have been set to autopilot.  We have been conditioned to compare ourselves to others since our earliest years.  Doctors begin measuring us on a scale, telling our parents what “percentile” we rank under at our very 1st visits to see them.  God does not rank you, you are ALL worthy of his love.

    The world has made a list of things, lifestyles, and appearances we should have or should be like.  Satan uses this to shine a light on others who have the things we don’t, stirring up feelings of envy and discontentment.  We have fallen into his trap, but God’s Word can shine a light into this darkness to rescue us.  Hallelujah!  His word clearly tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).  We are His great creation, made exactly to his specifications.  If we say we believe His word then we must live like it.  I know when I am feeling confident and full of love for myself, the comparison game my mind likes to play is shut down.  I choose to believe God’s truth in Psalm 139:14.  There is no need to compare myself to another, because I am never going to match up, nor am I supposed to.  I no longer want to be someone else’s version of perfect.  Chances are they are trying to chase someone else’s perfect!  I have a new goal, to reach God’s perfect, and He is at work in me now and every day.  He will finish!  

    Scripture also tells us in James 3:16, “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.”  The Message version says it this way, “Whenever you’re trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart and everyone ends up at the others’ throats.”  Both of these versions paint a picture of disaster.  God’s word is ALIVE!  We must make a habit of getting into the word, so that the word gets into us.  Every time I recognize the comparisons beginning, I am able to stop and replace the thoughts with scripture.  The more I practice, the less I have to.  The truth of God takes over my thoughts and I can begin to love others more naturally, without thought.

    

    Give this a fighting chance in your own life.  When you begin to pour your love on others, rather than measuring them up, the love you begin to feel for yourself starts to multiply, which in turn circles back around to others because you are a happier, healthier version of yourself.