The Comparison Bug: A Guest Post by Robyn

Posted by Savannah Barr on

 

As I considered and prayed about what to contribute to Savannah’s blog, I felt God
leading me to write about a topic close to my heart as a woman, a wife and mother, a
teacher, and an artist: COMPARISON. It’s an area I have personally struggled with
and worked through with the Lord, and an issue I see many women wrestling with
alone. But we’re not alone. Paul writes, in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “Blessed be the God
and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all
comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort
those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are
comforted by God.” In no way, have I mastered the struggle of comparison, or
“arrived.” However, I’d like to say I have grown some, and I pray these words will be
a sweet comfort to your soul, if you are struggling with comparison.


According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, to compare, is “to examine the
character or qualities of especially in order to discover resemblances or
differences.” And there is nothing wrong with this. She has blonde hair and I have
brown hair. His car is big and her car is small. My dad is taller than my mom. This is
a SKILL we actually teach children in school – remember learning to use a Venn
diagram? We need to know how to do this to navigate in our world. The problem
occurs, however, when we begin using comparison to give VALUE. Blonde hair is
BETTER THAN brown hair. His big car is NICER than her small car. My mom is WAY
TOO short. Each of these comparisons gives value to something based on a
measuring stick of personal opinion or worldly standards, and this assigning of
value will always be flawed. Our comparison valuing is not based on absolute or
concrete Truth.


But an even deeper problem occurs when we aren’t just comparing and assigning
value to “things out there,” but to ourselves in relation to others. We’re reading a
fashion magazine or scrolling a celebrity website and wishing we were skinnier.
We’re looking on Pinterest and thinking about how terrible our house looks in
comparison to images we’ve pinned. We’re watching that “perfect mom” with her
kids and thinking we should be doing more. I could come up with a bundle of
scenarios along these same lines, whether in “real life” or in our relationship to
technology and social media. We are comparing ourselves to others and then
assigning an arbitrary value, often with very little grace or kindness toward our own
hearts. Have you ever played this comparison valuing game?

 
But an even deeper problem occurs when we aren’t just comparing and assigning
value to “things out there,” but to ourselves in relation to others. We’re reading a
fashion magazine or scrolling a celebrity website and wishing we were skinnier.
We’re looking on Pinterest and thinking about how terrible our house looks in
comparison to images we’ve pinned. We’re watching that “perfect mom” with her
kids and thinking we should be doing more. I could come up with a bundle of
scenarios along these same lines, whether in “real life” or in our relationship to
technology and social media. We are comparing ourselves to others and then
assigning an arbitrary value, often with very little grace or kindness toward our own hearts. Have you ever played this comparison valuing game?


Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and I believe he was
100% correct! When we compare ourselves to others, we lose sight of our own gifts,
purpose, and calling. We stop seeing who God has made us to be. We forget about
our own growth or progress or hard work, because we’ve stopped comparing self to
self, and started comparing self to others. Don’t hear me wrong. I am not saying we
should not want to improve. We definitely want to get better and grow! God calls us
to, “Be holy, as I am holy (1 Peter 1:16),” because excellence brings glory to the
Father and leads others to His heart. But at the core of the issue of comparison, is
MOTIVE. Why are we comparing? Is it to grow as Christ-followers and bring glory to
the Lord, or for some other reason? There are GOOD MODELS out there, and we can
work to emulate them. Maybe your health is declining and a fit friend encourages
you with an exercise program. Good model, and the Lord does want us to take care
of our bodies. Maybe you’ve been struggling to be a patient mom, and you read a
parenting book by an expert who gives you tips to improve. Good model, and the
Lord does want us to parent well. Maybe you see a co-worker finding success with a
particular business strategy, and you begin to implement something similar. Good
model, and the Lord does want us to do our work well. It just goes back to heart
motive and value placing. We can observe good models in relation to ourselves and
seek to improve, without putting ourselves down in the process or developing
negative thinking. This allows us to walk our own journey in the season God has us,
as He has called, and with joy and genuine growth.


I read 2 Corinthians 10 yesterday, and these words leapt off the page: “Not that we
dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending
themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare
themselves with one another, they are without understanding…For it is not the one
who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends
(vv. 12,18).” THE LORD COMMENDS. So why are comparing in the first place? Might
I be so bold as to say we are all ultimately looking to fill a deep need for love and
approval, but are often using the wrong measure? The measuring stick for all things
in life IS based on something absolute and concrete: God. Not personal opinion. Not
worldly values. Not another person or thing. As Christ-followers, our measuring
stick is God’s Word, and we will always measure up because we have been
redeemed and covered by Christ’s work on the cross. Therefore, we should “make it
our aim to please Him (2 Cor. 5:9).” We don’t need to worry about comparing
ourselves to others, if we keep our eyes on the Lord, first and foremost.


Dear sisters, I know this is not easy. There are days I have felt alone and defeated in
a particular area. The comparison bug bites, and I let the poison settle in my heart. I
forget to pray, I don’t put on my armor, I spend little time connecting with the Lord,
and I focus on how I don’t measure up…all pitfalls on the road to true victory! Yet
there have also been more days lately, in which I have felt deep joy in relishing who
God has made me to be, and in using my gifts to serve Him (regardless of what
anyone else is doing). And I look to Him to for ultimate commendation. An amazing
mentor and friend once told me, “Keep your eyes up to God, and then back on your
own work bench.” So much truth in her words, right? If we can fix our eyes on Jesus
and His measure of grace, and less on comparing our value to others, oh, the joy and
purpose to be had! May these Truths settle in your heart today.

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Thank you to the ever-talented and immensely gracious Robyn, of Pink Robyn Decor, for her Christ-led words and contribution of this post. 

Robyn is a Christ-follower, encourager, and small shop owner. You can find more of her grace-led words via Instagram at @pinkrobyndecor.

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