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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?

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  1. When I feel myself go into negative comparison mode, I put the proverbial blinders on and move forward–concentrating only on what’s ahead of me.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but in recent years, I’ve come to think that there is a positive comparison mode–in that mode I learn a little more about who I am–not because I’m better or worse than a person in a certain area, but because I’m different.

    Perhaps that’s malarky, and it’s all bad:).

    • I like that perspective, thanks Lisa. The idea of positive-comparison is an interesting one for me to mull over and apply.

  2. Such a great reminder Joan! A recent experience humbled me so much. We took a trip to poor relatives on my husband’s side who live in a small town. I realised that we so often compare ourselves to those of similar or higher income and seldom are just grateful for what we have, now, today. We all have so much to be grateful for.

    I am trying to do this more, and I find it aligns my thought more to God and negates any need to compare. Being grateful, such a wonderful antidote to jealousy, envy and “not-enoughness”!

    Thanks for your great thoughts that have such a gentle tenderness in turning us back to our maker and our unique relationship with Him.

  3. A passage to ponder: re-worked from 1 Corinthians 13, titled: ‘A covenant of friendship’:

    “To you, my friend, I will exercise patience and kindness.
    I will not be envious of your achievements nor will I boast of mine.
    I will not be proud or rude.
    I will look to your interests and try not to insist on my own.
    I will not be easily angered.
    I will not keep a record of your wrongs, but grant you forgiveness in advance.
    Neither will I delight in your misfortune.
    I will encourage the good in you and will let the rest die of neglect.
    I will rejoice in all truth.
    I will always protect you, always trust you, always hope in you and always persevere with you. My love for you will never fail!”

    This is something I personally try to do in all my relationships. It’s hard sometimes, but certainly possible.

    With love

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