I can’t help but laugh at this 1 minute video. The sermon that Pastor Andy Stanley preaches following this introduction video is even more accurate and truth filled — it is entirely too easy to fall into the comparison trap. While walking through the Heart of a Woman study this past semester, the Lord revealed this same sin in my life. The tendency for my flesh to want to compare my looks, my house, my lifestyle, and even my husband is something I have to actively fight against each day.
Just last week I was at the doctor’s office sitting in the waiting room waiting to be called back. I was looking around at all of the other pregnant women and found myself comparing how I looked to how they looked. I actually was going through in my mind comparing my size, my weight gain, my appearance to the other women in the room. A few minutes went by before I was even able to see what I was doing and realize how crazy that was of me. WHAT WAS I DOING? Why does it even matter? Yet, that is just how ugly my flesh is. I vulnerably share that I fall into this comparison trap way too often. I want to be prettier, smarter, more in shape, whatever it may be. But for what reason? I know the truth — that we are all created in God’s image, that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, that we all are and not one of us the same which makes it impossible to compare to begin with.
There are jokes, movies, and television shows about “Keeping up with the Joneses.” Yet, for me personally, I see that there is truth to these jokes even in the American Christian culture.
I find it interesting that Solomon touched on this topic thousands of years ago. Ecclesiastes says:
And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive. But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun. Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after the wind. The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh. Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind. (Eccl. 4:2-6).
It was true then and it is true today. I love that God’s Word never changes. That He gently reminds us that comparing is striving after the wind. The Lord gently reminded me that the desire to compare myself to other women, other wives, other friends is simply the enemy wanting to distract me from God’s calling on my life. Psalm 57:2 says, “I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purpose for me.” When I look to the left and to the right as a metric for my success, I am not looking above and crying out to the Father for direction. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” How true is that? When I compare myself to others it oftentimes leaves me feeling inadequate, discontent, and unhappy. Yet the Lord calls me to so much more in His perfect plan for me which is different than and unique from God’s plan for anyone else on this earth. How sweet is our God that He cares enough to pave the way for His daughters?
“Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content” (1 Tim. 6:6-8). And may this be my prayer — that I will be content looking to God, the Father, who knows me better than I know myself.
Standing on the Word