10 Things to Remember About the Comparison Game

Being back in the states has resurrected some of my old securities.  I find myself wanting to buy some new clothes that I will only wear for a few months.  Then I beat myself up that I can only run 3 miles because most of my friends are running four.  Instead of being thankful I can run at all.  It’s not like I am immune to this game living overseas.  Overseas I compare myself to others who have amazing but different ministries than I have.  It is like I want to measure up to some invisible standard in my head.  I am too easily distracted from who God wants me to be and what He wants me to be doing.  One day I am judging those around me.  The next day I feel like I don’t measure up to those around me.  Neither judging others nor comparing myself to others is healthy.  Neither is part of the calling God has for me.  I am learning from the Psalms how important it is to be grounded in who God is and to be thankful for what He does for me.  When my eyes are on God and what He is doing, I don’t have time to compare myself to others.  Instead when I look at those around me I am more likely to see things I can I learn from them or ways to encourage them.  So here are some things I want to remember when I am tempted to play the comparison game.

1.  Comparing myself to others never makes me feel good.  I might feel good about myself for a moment but it is usually short lived.   

“Comparison is the death of joy.” 
― Mark Twain

2.  Satan loves for God’s people to compare themselves to others around them.  If I am  busy playing the comparison game, it will distract me from what God has for me.

3.  No one wins.  Someone will always look more stylish, have better behaved kids, or even keep a cleaner house.  It is an exhausting game mentally and emotionally.  Am I willing to let it take all that energy? 

4. Relationships will always be shallow when the comparison game is being played.  If I am busy comparing myself to others, my true self is hidden.  It also keeps me from seeing who others really are in God’s eyes.

5. Things aren’t always as they seem.  I see only one part of someone else’s life.  I don’t see both the good and the bad.  I think Lysa TerKeurst says it best in her book Unglued.

“I’m not equipped to handle what she has, both good and bad and what she has is always a package deal of both. In other words, I’ve been assigned a load I can handle.” 
― Lysa TerKeurstUnglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions

6. The world misses out on seeing the real you or the real me He made us to be.  When I am busy trying to live up to an imaginary standard or to fit in, I become someone I am not.  The variety and uniqueness God gave each of us makes this world more beautiful and fun. 

7. Comparison can blind me to the sin I need to deal with in my life.

“If my sinfulness appears to me to be in any way smaller or less detestable in comparison with the sins of others, I am still not recognizing my sinfulness at all. … How can I possibly serve another person in unfeigned humility if I seriously regard his sinfulness as worse than my own?” 
― Dietrich BonhoefferLife Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community 

8. When I feel like I don’t measure up, I need to ask myself some questions.  Why am I feeling this way?  Are these feelings revealing an area of sin that I need to deal with?  What standard am I using?  Am I clinging to God’s truth or what the world says?  

9. Have someone in your life that speaks truth and perspective into your life.   My husband does this.  Sometime when I want him to and sometimes when I don’t want him to.  Either way, it is what I need.  I also have friends that I can share my feelings with that won’t judge me but will help me sort through the mess and give me perspective.  When I compare myself to others, my thinking gets all out of sorts.  Thank God for a husband and friends and sometimes even my kids that help put things into perspective.

10.  When I am tempted to play the comparison game, I need to read Psalm 139.  The Psalmist reminds me that God knows me inside and out.  God is always there.  He made me to be exactly how He wanted me to be.  How can I not be good with that?    

In what areas do you struggle with the comparison game?  How do you stop playing the game?