“His piece of cake is bigger than mine!”
“She’s smarter, more attractive and will probably get the job over me.”
“Looking at a few ‘questionable’ videos and sites is not having an affair like most people.”
“I wish my husband were more like …”
Comparison seems to be engrained within us from an early age and progresses as we get older—whether we are hungering for a bigger piece of cake, the neighbor’s boat, or comparing our actions to someone else.
Those last three words are where the problem with comparison lie: to someone else.
I would know since I’ve had years of practice comparing myself to others.
I believe the issue reared its’ ugly head most blatantly when I became bulimic in high school. It’s still kind of embarrassing to write about, but I do because God can use it. It’s much easier to write about bulimia through the fictional character, Krystal in my series Beauties from Ashes.
As with other eating disorders, bulimia is psychological and physical. I wasn’t happy with myself inside or out. My story with the eating disorder is unique because God did a miraculous healing when I was nineteen. For this, I will always be grateful.
Although I was not binging and purging, I was still comparing.
Comparison is a pendulum that swings radically. On one side there is dissatisfaction and inferiority. On the other side are pride and superiority. And in our ever-connected world, we have the opportunity to compare ourselves to others at our fingertips constantly.
The Dangers of Comparisons
- It’s Not Fair
We are unique and valuable individuals created by God with characteristics and life events that belong solely to us alone. It isn’t fair to compare our God-given uniqueness to someone else who is nothing like us and never will be.
- It Damages Relationships with Others and God
There are a host of problems that endanger our relationships: jealousy, unrealistic expectations, and taking what we have for granted.
- It Prevents Us from Being Happy
How can we be truly grateful and happy if we are constantly coveting and comparing?
- It is Sin
“But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!” 2 Corinthians 10:12
“You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.” Exodus 20:17
Remember how I told you that although I was not binging and purging, I was still comparing?
I’ve come to realize that comparing makes us sick all the same.
Those who are sick need a doctor. I’m not referring to an MD. I’m talking about the Great Physician: Jesus Christ. He is the only one capable of doing the heart renovation necessary to heal from the disease of comparison.
“Jesus answered them, ‘Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.’”
What to Do About Comparing
- Acknowledge the Problem and Ask God for Help
Prayer: Father, I confess I have sinned against you and others by comparing and coveting. I need you to transform the way I think and help me not conform to the patterns of this world as it says in Romans 12:1-3. Often comparing comes so naturally to me that I don’t realize I’m doing it. Those thoughts are toxic and separate me from you and from being the confident person you call me to be. Please alert me with your Holy Spirit so I can stop, confess and take the thought captive (2 Cor 10:5) through your son, Jesus in whose mighty name I pray, AMEN.
- Rely on God’s Opinion Rather than the Opinion of Others
“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” Galatians 1:10
- Remember Who and Whose You Are
I’m not saying that I don’t still struggle with comparison. But what I am saying is God has helped me grow tremendously as I have surrendered those ugly thoughts to Him. And let me tell you, it’s a daily exercise. However, I no longer feel like a slave to comparison! If I can do it, so can you!
Each of us is valuable to God. In fact, we are precious treasures worth dying for. Below is a printable list of Scriptures that prove your value to God called Who I Am In Christ. Click:who-i-am-in-christ
I pray this post is helpful. Please feel free to share comments & prayers below.
In Christ’s love,
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, there is faith-based help available.
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Beckie — nice post. I sometimes get lost in the shuffle and need to remember your final point :
Remember Who and Whose You Are
Yes, Del. I remind myself these things often.
Yes, Beckie, I think comparison is a human trait with which we all struggle. Like you, God has helped me flee further and further away from its crippling clutches. We are all unique and special in His eyes, and we all have gifts and talents that we should never compare to those of others. Do I struggle still? Oh, yes, but the remedy is asking God’s forgiveness and moving forward in His strength.
Blessings, my friend!
Yes, Martha, like you, I still struggle with comparison. But as my relationship with God has grown, so has my appreciation for how He created me—unique and loved!
Such a good post, Beckie. Comparison is a struggle we all face as flesh and blood. Like you, I’ve also come leaps and bounds with growth in this area. But the lies still creep in from time to time and the enemy makes sure they do. It is hard to admit, yet, I tend to compare myself with others physically, wishing I had a better body or younger, flawless skin like “someone else.” And even in ministry or as a writer the last five years, I’m even tempted to do comparisons in those ways…looking at the career or success or talent of other authors. I’m taking your advice to ask God to help me and rely on my identity in Him. Pastor Andy Stanley said in his podcast series, “The Comparison Trap,” God never compares one of His children to any of His other children.
Karen, Oh, how I relate to the comparisons you have listed! I recognize this “trap” much quicker as my relationship with God has deepened, however. It’s a work in progress to accept my identity in HIM, but I’m finding much more freedom nowadays and it’s amazing. All the glory to God, of course!
Great post Ms. Beckie. Remembering we are uniquely made, fearfully and wonderfully, for His purpose is so important. I just have to be the person God made me to be — quirks, faults, and all. God’s blessings ma’am.
AMEN, J.D.! It’s a work in progress, but I’m finding much more freedom the closer I walk with the Lord. Thanks for the comment, my friend.
Great insights. I don’t think of myself as one who struggles with comparison, but honestly it hangs out on the fringes and tries to pull me in. It always results in discouragement. Is everyone else doing or having better? Probably not, that just another lie of comparison.
Loretta, I agree. Comparison can creep in without us realizing it. This is why I’m so grateful for the Holy Spirit who brings it to my attention.
Thanks for your comment.
Blessings to you and yours!
You’ve made the connection between coveting and comparing. It’s hard for us (me) to admit that we covet what someone else has because we know it is a sin, but STOPPING is only something we can do with God’s help. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and inspiration.
Katherine, Yup. I would go as far as saying that comparing always leads to coveting. Thanks for pointing out the connection. Of course, both of these traits are sin and lead us away from the close relationship with the Lord that He so desires for us. I’m grateful for the Holy Spirit and our God’s great grace.
Thanks for your comment.
Blessings to you and yours!
We are surrounded by the temptation to compare ourselves to others who are prettier, more successful, more famous…the list goes on. Just like any other temptation, I’ve had to learn to call on Jesus every time it rears its ugly head. Too often, I fall into the trap but I’m learning to reach out to Jesus.
Me, too, Sherry. I’m learning to call on Jesus more and more when the Holy Spirit shows me I’ve fallen into the comparison trap.
Thanks for commenting.
Blessings on you and yours!
Well written 🙂