It is almost as if I have been groomed to compare.
I remember the school bell ringing. I was the first to run outside. My chest constricted with excitement as I dreamed of what this hour held. I couldn’t throw my book bag down quick enough. As I plopped myself on the ground, and pulled open my Care Bears lunch box, my mind dreamed of the possibilities. Pudding? Peanut butter crackers? Chocolate Milk? Oreos? Eager anticipation and hopefulness was a daily ritual. I relished in the anticipation of “what could be”.
But, I am not sure why I did this when I knew exactly what my lunch box held – a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with side of banana. My usual.
I continued in my daily habit – right setting eyes on my lunch – I would peer from lunch box to lunch box surveying their goods. What did they get? Pudding? Oreos? Brownies? I wonder if a banana is trade-able? How does my food look in comparison to theirs? Do they think that I am lame because I have nothing to trade? Am I am weird because I can’t take part in the trading game called “food”? Who notices that I eat the same thing everyday?
I couldn’t stop comparing. But, what I was really asking is, “Do I measure up?”
Underneath the peanut butter and jelly sandwich sitting in my lunch box, my questions were much deeper. I wanted confirmation of my self worth in order to satiate the deepest depths of my soul.
I was looking to see if others counted me less valuable because I didn’t have what they had. I was looking for worth. I was looking to be valued as a contributor. I was looking to be appreciated. I was looking to feel special.
Even today, these feelings don’t go away. Even if we aren’t comparing ourselves to others, don’t we all desire to feel valuable, worthy, appreciated, admired, acknowledged? These desires are not intrinsically wrong.
But, God has more for us than jealous eyes that constantly size up the quality of the lunch box sitting next to us. He wants us to see more. Live greater. Discover life in a richer sense. He wants us to live abundantly in the identity that he has uniquely given us – not in one set by the standard of “others”.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139:13-14)
We may know he knows us in our mind. But, do we know it in our hearts? Let’s journey together to battle through the pitfall of comparing ourselves to others so that we can live a life of joy, contentment and peace.
God has something incredible in store for you, despite what others are doing or saying! You were created for amazing, incredible, awe-inspiring works – in Him. Keep your eyes on Him – not others – and he will show you the exact way you should walk so that you find areas of joy and fulfillment.
For we are his workmanship,created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
I can’t wait to dive deeper into comparing in this 3 Part Series. Stay tuned for Part II: 3 Ways Comparing is Bad for Us and Part III: 3 Tips to Stop Comparing Once and For All. God has something far greater for us when we end comparing ourselves to others.