Last night I was at dinner sitting across from some pretty amazing women of God. I noticed their gentleness and the maturity in their speech. They exuded patience and wisdom. None of which I have very much of. As I sat there comparing myself to them, I had to ask, “How did I end up in this room?”
Do you ever find yourself in the situation when you are comparing yourself to those people you are surrounded by? I am guilty of doing it often.
Somewhere along the way, my self-confidence took a nap, went on vacation or flat out dissolved. I spent several years in circles where I was constantly comparing myself to people based on very shallow things like degrees, jobs, houses, cars, handbags and bank accounts. I found myself basing my self-worth on things that I had or did not have.
I no longer travel in those circles, and my life is much better for it, but I do still struggle with feelings of being inadequate. I often feel like I just don’t measure up.
And that is where I found myself last night, surrounded by women I should aspire to be like, based on character and faith. And I still felt like I came up short. This feeling was all me and not based on anything that any of them did or said. I felt like a child who didn’t know the right answer in class.
It was this morning when I could finally hear the Holy Spirit’s voice over all the others in my head. “God don’t make junk,” my mom used to say. Not to be confused with the voice of the Holy Spirit, but a truth just the same. Those feelings of inadequacy are not from God, but from the enemy. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
WOW! How often have I let comparing myself to others shape my attitude or stop me from doing what God has called me to do? How often have I let comparing lead me down roads and make decisions that were not in God’s plan? How often have I let the thief steal from me? Kill my dreams? Destroy God’s plans? How many times have I missed life to the full?
So often we hear what the world says to us about ourselves long before we hear, and listen to, what God says about us. Why is that? Why do we compare ourselves to others?
We don’t know who we are.
I don’t think confidence in who God made us to be is typically a tool Satan uses against us. Realizing the value God puts on us does not leave a lot of room for what the world wants us to think about ourselves. When I wake up knowing that I am the daughter of the Most High King, a co-Heir to the Kingdom of God and that I am given today to share the love of Christ, my world looks a lot different than it does when I wake up feeling fat, that my hair is a too short and wishing I had my neighbor’s new car.
When I know that God created me for a reason and focus on what HE says about me I can fulfill the purpose he has for me. God gives us the ability to change the world in Matthew 16:18-19, “18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” But if we don’t believe what God says about us we can’t be used for the purpose He has for us.
Sometimes the enemy’s voice is louder.
It is certainly easier to believe! The world feeds us all this stuff about who we should be according to the world. Daily, we are encouraged to compare ourselves to other people. And we find that we don’t measure up because we don’t use the correct words, we didn’t attend the right school, don’t look right, smell right, walk right, or some other reason we are not good enough. But if we are all too busy buying into what the world is selling, we are going to miss what God has already given.
We need to be mindful that we have all been made differently, by HIS design, with our own gifts and attributes. 1 Peter 4:10 says “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. “ If we live in comparison and jealousy of each other, there is a good chance we will be too busy to use our gifts to glorify God. And if we listen to the voice of defeat we may never accomplish what we are really hear to do.
Comparing leads to envy.
Feel free to cast the first stone if you have not been here… you see your friend’s post on Facebook and she has the perfect job in the field you studied in college. It was your dream job before you married and had a house full of kids. She just purchased the most beautiful house with her perfect husband. You are so happy for her! And then you realize she is living your plan. And then you are so jealous of her!
You look around your ratty old house, that you were perfectly content with two hours ago. You see toys strewn all over the place by those kids, which you were in love with 20 minutes ago. Then you hear the door close behind “those kids” dad, who was your soul mate up until you saw that picture your friend posted. And now you just want to go to bed and dwell on how crappy your life is. Maybe even have an ugly cry.
What part of that is God using? What part of that is the enemy using? When we compare what we don’t have with what other people do have, whether it is our perception or the truth, it will lead to envy. And friend, envy will devour all the good you have if you let it.
Proverbs 14:30 says, “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.” Envy makes your bones rot! And in 1 Peter 2:1-2, we learn that we need to “Put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation.” You can’t grow if you are stuck in envy!
So today, let’s make a pact to help each other. Say this with me. “I promise not to compare myself to other women. I promise to place my value on who God says I am and who God created me to be. And’ I praise you, Father, because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.’ (Ps. 139:14) And I promise to help my friend if I see her stuck in the cycle of comparison.”
Now go and remember you are a child of God with a purpose that you could not fulfil if you were anyone or anything but you!