“Why is she more blessed than I am?”
“How come she has more friends than me?”
“Why is she married while I’m still single?”
“Why can’t my body look like hers?”
These are some of the questions I struggled with in my teens and early twenties. The more I started growing as a young woman, the more I compared my looks, grades, social status, personality, talents, abilities, and even my spiritual walk with Christ with others. Perhaps you can relate to some of these or maybe all of them. As women, it’s tempting to compare ourselves with one another. Whether it’s measuring ourselves next to someone’s social media post or picture, or someone’s position or possession in real life, there’s always something we want from someone to fill those gaping holes of longing in our hearts and soul.
Comparison gives birth to envy and jealousy.
Society has a way of telling us we’re not “good enough.” Culture pressures us to be or look a certain way and if we fail to meet those standards, our worth feels diminished and insecurity develops in all aspects of our lives. When the seeds of insecurity takes root in our mind, it sprouts these ugly weeds of envy and jealousy that tangles our emotions and logic. Envy is an emotion often confused with jealousy. It’s wanting what someone else has in terms of success, qualities, position, and possessions. Jealousy on the other hand fears losing what we already have to someone in regards to love and affection from others.
Comparison destroys relationships.
Through the lens of envy and jealousy, comparison can negatively impact how we view others in the church and thus create more competition than community. There is nothing more poisonous to the church than competition against one another.
"That's the way we sinners are wired. Compare. Compare. Compare. We crave to know how we stack up in comparison to others. There is some kind of high if we can just find someone less effective than we are. Ouch. To this day, I recall the little note posted by my Resident Assistant in Elliot Hall my senior year at Wheaton: "To love is to stop comparing." What is that to you, Piper? Follow me."-John Piper
James 3:16, Proverbs 14:30, 1 Corinthians 3:3
When we constantly compare ourselves to others, we ultimately rob ourselves of fulfillment, gratitude, and joy.
What more would the enemy want than to destroy unity in the body of Christ by getting us preoccupied with measuring ourselves next to each other so that we could remain unfruitful in witnessing to others? The best way to combat the sin of comparison is to keep our eyes focused on Jesus.
Pray. The first step towards moving in the right direction involves identifying the root. Is it fame? Acceptance? Respect? Be specific. If you're not exactly sure, ask Him to reveal it to you. Understand that when you're chasing after acceptance or fame or whatever to satisfy you, you're saying that you don't trust God to fully satisfy your heart's desires. This greatly dishonors and dissatisfies Him. Think about it. God knows you more intimately than anyone(Psalm 139). He knows your needs and desires better than anyone and only wants to give you the best but you go and throw it back at His face scorning the hand He offers. How would you feel if someone did that to you? Confess the underlying issue to God and be completely honest about it. Honesty bridges the gap of real intimacy with God, allowing Him to restore you and really move in your life. Ask Him to help you realize how wrong it is and turn away from whatever's vying your attention and devotion from Him.
Praise. Psalm 100:4 says, "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name." Praising directs our focus off ourselves and our circumstances onto God by setting our thoughts on Him and adoring Him for who He is (Colossians 3:2, Philippians 4:8, Psalm 23). Allowing ourselves to meditate on His goodness, kindness, and faithfulness through reading the Word of God daily replenishes our heart, soul, and spirit. (Matthew 5:6)
Rehearse your Christ-won identity. The moment you receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior through faith in Him alone, you become a child of God. As daughters of God, you are chosen, adopted, redeemed, renewed, forgiven, beloved, sealed by His Spirit, seated at the right hand of God, have inherited every spiritual blessing(Read Ephesians), and obtained a new identity(2 Corinthians 5:17). Girls, what more could you ask for? You are richly blessed beyond measure! Everything else pales in comparison.
A woman who is truly confident knows she won't find her worth in expensive clothing, a boyfriend, accomplishments, popularity, opinions, and her body type. Real confidence exists in a woman when she has been exposed to the deep, enriching, and intoxicating fragrance of God's grace penetrating the very depths of her soul, whispering hope, love, mercy, freedom, and joy in her heart. She knows with full assurance she belongs to Christ, knows who she is in Him, and walks it out daily. Boldly and unashamed.
Confident women celebrate and encourage one another. Confident women also embrace their unique God-given role. They don't pride themselves with their gifts and talents, instead they receive satisfaction in bringing out potential and inspiration in others through them. These women are strong because they trust in their Lord and Savior. They get their strength from Him. (Nehemiah 8:10)
Don't try to overcome the issue by your own strength. You can't. Only God can change you from within. It may take some time. For me, the transformation occurred very slowly. But during the slow, progressive stages God was showing His goodness towards me by humbling me, teaching me, deepening my longing for Him, and made the deliverance all the more sweeter when it came. So be patient and keep seeking Him earnestly through His Word, praying your heart out to Him, praising Him, and rehearsing your Christ-won identity. God will reward your faithfulness towards Him. Some encouraging Scriptures to meditate on and pray over: (Psalm 51:10, Mark 9:24, Psalm 42:1-2, 1 Peter 5:7, Matthew 7:7-8).
Know this, only God alone can fully satisfy the deepest longings of your heart. God knows what your needs are better than yourself.(Isaiah 55:8-9) After all, He made you in your mother's womb(Psalm 139). You can have complete confidence knowing that God will supply your desires more abundantly than you can ask for. In the meantime, just trust Him. He will never let you down. That's a promise. (John 6:35)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. -Proverbs 3:5-6