This is my fourth and final post (for now 🙂 ) on the topic of the comparison habit. If you’re just joining me, I would encourage you to take a look at the first three posts (first here, second here, and third here), which introduce the concept of how to stop comparing yourself to others.
I spent a significant amount of time in my last post discussing the importance of renewing our minds. This process is so essential to our success in “kicking the comparison habit.” And as the Holy Spirit renews our minds through our time in God’s Word, these aspects I’ll discuss today will occur almost effortlessly as we begin to have the mind of Christ, Who “made Himself of no reputation” (Philippians 2:1-11).
One key to keeping comparison at bay is to practice contentment. So often, comparison is preceded by discontentment. And then comparison breeds more discontentment. Once it starts, it’s a vicious cycle that draws us further and further into the pit. We can stop the cycle before it even begins by learning to be content.
What does contentment look like, anyway?
Contentment is giving thanks instead of giving criticism.
Contentment is genuinely praising another’s abilities…without belittling my own.
Contentment is realizing that every part of the body of Christ is significant and has a specific purpose.
Contentment is understanding that no matter how much or how little I have by the world’s standards, anything I have is so much more than I truly deserve — which is a cross.
As we renew our minds and practice contentment, we’ll begin to see a most welcome change in perspective. Our gaze will be drawn UP to our God and Savior who loves us.
The more time we spend looking UP to the God who loves us,
who created us,
who redeemed us,
who equips us,
who delights in us,
who intercedes for us,
who sings over us,
who lives in us,
and works through us,
the less time we’ll spend self-consciously looking around at others.
We won’t need to make sure we’re okay. Because what He thinks is all that matters.
We won’t need to make sure we’re accepted. Because what He thinks is all that matters.
We won’t have to wonder if we’re as good as someone else. Because what He thinks is all that matters.
We won’t have to wonder…because we’ll know that as we abide in Him, He will grow us into the best we can be — and that will bring us so much joy and fulfillment, that instead of looking around to see how much someone else has in her cup, we will realize that ours is already running over.
Finally, we women of God need to be real with each other. As we develop and deepen relationships built around an atmosphere of genuineness, we will begin to see each other as we really are: sisters in Christ. Comrades fighting against a common enemy. Fellow servants of the Most High God.
We will begin to appreciate the differences we have as we see how much stronger the bride of Christ is because this one’s strengths support my weakness. And my strengths support hers. My skills and talents are used to bless her in this area. And hers bless me in that one.
It’s not very comfortable to consider being the first one to be real, is it? To let someone see “the real you,” flaws and all, without first seeing “the real them.” But if I had to guess, I would say that nine times out of ten, once one person makes the first move to be genuine in a relationship, the others will soon feel comfortable enough to do the same. Will YOU be the courageous one to take that first step?
I have been so blessed as I’ve spent time before the Lord pondering my tendency to compare myself with others. It has been sobering to realize the many areas of my life that can be inhibited and even damaged by this habit. But it has also been liberating to consider the ways this behavior simply doesn’t make sense, and to begin to see that I can choose differently. It will take effort; it will require grace; it will take some time to develop new habits. But when I realize that this is what God wants for me, I am free to claim the promise that with Him, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).
How about you? Has the “comparison” series changed your perspective? Do you have other suggestions to share? Please take a moment and leave your comment below.
Written by Jennifer Clarke