don’t fall for it!
We all do it. Comparison. It’s ugly. It’s damaging to our mindsets and self-esteem, but we still fall victim to it. Why does this happen? Is it because of social media? Well, that surely hasn’t helped the comparison battle, but in reality the problem of comparison is nothing new. It’s been around for way to long. Even the Bible talks about comparison.
In this day and age, everything and anything is compared. Christian leaders are compared, mothers are compared, athletes are compared, student performance is compared (like starting in pre-kindergarten – oh my) , health is compared, body size is compared. You name it – it’s probably been compared.
As a Christian Counselor, I have counseled hundreds of men and women who fall victim to the trap of comparison. It just lands us in the same place – stuck!
It’s so powerful that even the counselor struggles with it.
How comparison trapped me
As I was recently preparing for this article, I sat down at my computer and like most people do, I began to Google. Confession – sometimes I google before I seek the Lord. (Awhhhh ok – I put it out there!) I wanted to know what types of articles were out there about comparison. What where Christian writers saying about this topic? This isn’t a new topic, surely tons of stuff has to be out about it?
I scrolled through and found an article that really jumped out. I began reading and this author was on point – it’s like she was in my brain and we had a previous conversation about these exact things. As I got to the bottom of the article – I realized it was none other than Alli Worthington. My mentor, business coach, and the person I had been discussing my ideas for this article. I just froze.
I didn’t want to continue writing. It was time to change topics, although I knew God had been prompting me to study comparison even deeper. Alli was just too good. She had said it all and what more could I have to offer? She is a published author, a business coach, has an amazing Instagram following, the coolest podcast and I just love her too much.
So, in my mind I was like get a new topic Vera! Forget that I counsel women everyday, went to grad school for way to long, own a business, am a licensed professional, and the Lord specifically told me to study comparison – my brain just wasn’t thinking that way. Not when I fall victim to the comparison trap.
Very quickly, God spoke to me, and said “Vera this is exactly why you will write this article.” I was comparing myself with others while preparing to write a comparison article. Goodness gracious! So, I pushed on.
So….Who is the greatest?
The disciples fell victim to comparison among themselves on several occasions. In Matthew 18:1, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” These disciples just had to know who the best was! Isn’t that just like what we do in our everyday lives?
I love how Jesus responds, in Matthew 18:2-4, “He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Right in that moment Jesus used children as an illustration of faith and humility to God’s authority.
Humility crushes comparison.
Humility is putting oneself under God’s authority and trusting him to guide your life. However, staying stuck in the comparison game makes us totally forget about humility.
I often tell my clients, you need a game plan! Want to get out of the comparison trap? We need a plan to do that. Changing the way you think, behave, and feel doesn’t just happen by chance. It’s through planning and activating that plan that change truly takes place.
The Counselors plan to ending the comparison trap.
- Flip the Script.
Change your thoughts. Renew your mind like Romans 12:2 talks about. If you don’t believe in the power of changing your thoughts, go and check out cognitive neuroscientist, Dr. Caroline Leaf’s years of research proving that when you change the way you think you literally change the cells in your brain! (I am not making this up – real stuff my friends!)
Dr. Caroline Leaf says that every thought you think changes your cells. A thought never dies, but it can be redesigned or restructured. What thoughts are you redesigning? Are you taking comparison thoughts and designing them into something much worse?
In order to redesign your thoughts you must flip the script, by first finding your identity in Christ. Learning what God says about you and actually believing it.
Here is a little example of how I would flip the script. Remember – I didn’t want to write this article? First, I had to remind myself these thoughts are not from God and my feelings of weakness came from comparing my abilities to others.
Next, I used scripture to give my new thought power. My thought was, “Vera you can do this – you are capable and you have something to offer.” I used Psalm 27:1, “the Lord is the strength of my life – whom shall I be afraid?”
- Avoid the ultimate distraction.
Social Media. It really is the ultimate comparison tool. If you find yourself falling victim to this trap, limit your social media use, take a time of fasting from it, or in certain circumstances remove it from your life. Don’t feel guilty for having to set boundaries with social media it may be the very thing that saves you from staying stuck in the comparison trap.
There are countless studies that continue to pop up about the use of social media and it’s overall effect on our mental health. It’s not helping our mental health, so know your limits!
I also know how much I have wasted time on social media and later wished I would have done something more productive.
- Attitude of Gratitude.
An attitude of gratitude is the best antidote to comparison. When you continue to practice the art of thanksgiving it’s really hard to stay in the negative comparison cycle.
If you are at the stage of life in which you are home with your young children and you see all of your friends experiencing life fully through the tiny squares on Instagram – don’t fall victim to that trap. Instead, have an attitude of gratitude for the opportunity to wake up every morning to the children you have prayed for. Focus on the time you have been given to raise your children.
- Show up to the table.
Write that article. Complete that bible study. Join that ministry you been thinking about. Take a leap of faith and dare to do something different. Bring what you have and watch what God will do in your life. All because you stopped comparing and showed up. We are all invited to sit at His table, but we must be willing to come. To stop comparing and just bring what we have.
Let’s join together on this journey. Committing to change the way we think by learning what God says about us and putting that into action. Limiting our use of social media and being wise when we have fallen victim to comparison. Living a life of gratitude – no matter where we are in this journey. The fact is you are on this journey and that and of itself is something to be thankful for.
And last, please show up to the table. God is calling you to His table – not the table of comparison. The table that he has prepared for you in which you learn all about what you were put on this earth for. So, you can show up to that table just like you are today!
You have something to offer, you are created in God’s image, so that means your DNA is from God. Uniquely made to make a mark on this world.