You and I are unique. Completely and utterly – a one of a ‘mould-broken’ kind! So, why are we still in the habit of comparing ourselves to others? I found myself doing it again this week, and in a rather surprising area of my life.
The Dangers of Comparison
We do the usual superficial comparison, of course – our looks (usually against near-perfect models and actors), our clothes and our possessions. This is unhealthy and, taken to the extreme, can lead to issues like eating disorders or compulsive spending. We go a little deeper when we start to compare our achievements and abilities. I often feel a prickle of jealousy at another writer’s style or success. For someone else who is struggling to get their song on the radio, hearing the same old track (inferior to theirs, of course) played for the umpteenth time on ‘94.7 FM’ might just send them through their car roof.
How do I match up?
I guess we do this because we’re asking the question, “How do I match up? Am I okay?” And the answer to the question is, You are far more than okay. You are God’s precious son or daughter!
Designed for a Distinct Relationship
I know all this, yet I still found myself drawn into a comparison in the last few weeks. For me it was a particularly detrimental one – a spiritual comparison, where I started to feel that my relationship with God didn’t quite match up to that of my friend’s.
Here’s the thing. God made us unique: – the way we look and think; what we’re good or bad at, and what we’ll ultimately be able to do with those abilities and gifts. More importantly, God designed us to have a completely distinctive friendship with Him.
To begin with, the way He draws us into that relationship will be different. My happy, Christian upbringing drew me painlessly into His arms. Another might only find Him after turmoil, brokenness and desperation. The way He reveals Himself will be as different as He made each of us to be. I feel His presence when I’m out in nature; others might draw closer to Him in a candle-lit church. How He speaks and what He says will be different for you and me. In “Encounters” twenty different people have an encounter with Jesus, and what He says to each one is exactly what they need to hear at that precise time. Sin no more. Don’t doubt. Follow me. If we spend time with Him, I believe He will say just what we need to hear, too.
Breaking Free of Comparison
So let’s break out of this endless cycle of comparison that can only lead to pride (ooh, I’m so much better than her) or insecurity (aah, she’s so much better than me). Both of those attitudes will derail us from becoming what God wants us to be. Let’s begin to revel in the little things that make us “us” and particularly start enjoying our individual friendship with God.
Do you sometimes fall into comparison and how do you break free of it?