In case you’re just joining me, I’m in the middle of a series on comparison. In the past two posts (first one here, second one here), we’ve established who that girl is and why we should just say “Goodbye” to her. I would encourage you to take a quick skim through those posts to give you the context of what I’m discussing today.
I hope you have realized with me over the past few days the truth about that girl…
That girl doesn’t really exist.
She is not found in the face of our fellow believer.
She is not found in the face of our classmate.
She is not found in the face of our coworker.
She is not found in the face of our family member…or neighbor…or friend.
She is not found in the face of the actress…or singer…or talk-show host.
The only place she can be found is in our own minds.
She is a figment of every lie we’ve ever heard…and ever told ourselves.
She is an illusion created by our failure to find our enoughness in God. In His residence in us. In His work through us. In His opinion of us.
She is a hallucination sprouted from our worldly perspective that says “strong = strong,” rather than having God’s perspective which says, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me…When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-12).
So our comparison habit isn’t really about that girl at all. It’s all in our minds.
And that means saying Goodbye to her is really about our minds.
Many people mistakenly believe that they “can’t help what they think.” As believers in Jesus Christ, “new creations” in Him, nothing could be further from the truth. Not only can we control our thoughts, but if we are to be victorious and effective followers of Christ, we MUST! Here are some critical aspects of changing our minds.
1.)Know the truth. The ultimate source of truth is God’s Word, and so we are wise to make it our manual in every aspect of life. “Knowing the truth” isn’t the same as knowing about the truth. Nor is it equivalent to knowing some of the truth.
The kind of truth-knowing that makes a difference in the way we think and act and believe and feel (yes, I said feel!) is the kind that makes its way deep into who we are after long minutes and hours (yes, I said hours!) contemplating it.
It’s the kind that starts to permeate our hard harts…softening them.
And the type that sinks into our souls…mending them.
And the sort that saturates our minds…renewing them.
And as we are softened and mended and renewed, we are purified, and the very essence of who we are begins to change. Through His Word, we are changed by His Spirit to look more like His Son. We are no longer conformed to the world. We are transformed (Romans 12:2).
Yes, knowing the truth is an essential first step. And critical to the second:
2.)Recognize the lies. Volumes could be written on this subject alone. Some lies come from within. Lies that are rooted in not knowing (or not believing) what God says about who I am…about my value and my worth in Him.
Many lies also come from without. Lies that pervade our culture about beauty, productivity, worth, value, contribution. Lies that are whispered in our ears from evil forces working to steal our contentment, kill our peace, and destroy our effectiveness for Christ’s kingdom. Lies that others have told us about who we are. About what we should be doing. About how we should behave. About our worth and our value.
A big deception that underlies most comparison is the idea that someone belongs on a pedestal. Sometimes the lie is that someone else belongs on a pedestal, and I can never measure up to her. And sometimes the lie is that I belong on a pedestal, and no one else can measure up to me. And too often, we feel like someone else is on a pedestal, but I’M the one who really belongs there, so I do my best to beat her down, knock her over, and shove her off.
But as a friend pointed out recently, only One belongs on any pedestal: Jesus Christ. If we are comparing ourselves with others, we are likely putting someone on a pedestal other than THE One who belongs there.
Once we know the truth and recognize the lies, we’re ready to take the next step:
3.)Remind ourselves of the truth. At first glance, this step may not seem all that different from the first one. But knowing the truth and applying the truth are two entirely different things. When we are rooted in Scripture, and are frequently taking time to fill our minds and hearts with His Words, we will recall these essential truths at the time we’re faced with the lies.
Too often, when faced with a lie, we fail to recognize it for the deception that it is. And so, instead of rejecting it, we mentally rehearse it, agree with it, repeat it, and elaborate on it. Before we know it, the lie starts to feel a lot like truth, and it begins to consume our minds.
Instead, whenever we recognize the lie, whether from without or from within, it’s important to immediately counteract that lie by reminding ourselves of the truth. When we do, we stop the lie in its tracks and defeat it and its power over us.
Often the power of the lie is strong. But the lie is never stronger than the truth. Sometimes the lie is persistent. Be persistent with the truth. And it is in this way that the lie is defeated and has no power over us.
This “recall” begins with an intentional remembering. But as His truth becomes part of you, and as you grow more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading in this area, you will be amazed by how He will bring these truths to your mind with no conscious effort on your part.
Renewal of our minds with truth is the crucial first component of overcoming the comparison habit. I have a few more thoughts that may be helpful, and rather than making this post even longer, I’ll continue those in my fourth and final (yes, really final this time!) post on comparison.
An outstanding resource on this topic is Lies Women Believe. I’ve found it to be so insightful; it’s a book I refer to frequently. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend doing so. It will certainly be a source of blessing to your life.
Written by Jennifer Clarke