We’ve all done it. We’re in the grocery store with our thrice worn yoga pants, hair up in a “messy-bun,” with remanence of our kid’s breakfast on our shirt, and in walks Miss America. At least that’s what it seems like in our heads. She has her makeup and hair done, and is dressed in the latest trendy fashion. You scurry to the next aisle and you pass that other mother with a baby strapped to her chest, a toddler in front of the cart quietly sitting, and she has two on foot standing closely by her side. You watch as she sifts through her neatly organized coupon book, all the while remembering you cut out a few coupons yourself but, forgetful you, left them on the counter. You quietly walk past this mom of four and immediately start pulling out a mental list of “what ifs.” Oh, that dreaded mental wish list… “What if or I wish I was: skinnier, prettier, taller, smarter, creative, athletic, successful, Godlier, better mom, fashionable, wealthier, disciplined, organized…etc.”
I think regardless of who we are, our tendency to compare ourselves to others comes from a place of insecurity. Comparison reveals a dissatisfaction with who we are and what have. Comparing yourself to another person leaves you feeling one of two ways: superior or inferior. If you feel you are better than another person, right or wrong, you can possibly feel a sense of pride and experience a temporal joy (e.g., making more money, driving a nice car). When we feel inferior, this can lead to envy; jealousy; low self-esteem; and feelings of inadequacy.
For the past year and a half God has really been dealing with me about breaking free from my need to compete and compare myself to others. It’s exhausting trying to fulfill a checklist based off other people’s expectations that give a false sense of happiness, love, and safety. I am determined to ditch my wish list. You with me? Let’s look at how we can do this.
Three Ways to Ditch Your Wish List:
- Remember you are a masterpiece.
When we compare ourselves to others it is like saying to God, “You could have done a better job.” Ouch! Can you imagine how insulting that must be to Him? The truth of the matter is, before you were even a thought in your parents’ minds, the master designer formed His blue prints of you. The Bible says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5). He knew the color of your hair and eyes. He instilled your quirky sense of humor that would bring joy to those around you. He knew the spiritual gifts He gave you would bring glory to Himself.
Each one of us have been “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). We are a “masterpiece” (Ephesians 2:10) uniquely designed by the Creator. Masterpiece, is “a work of outstanding artistry, skill, or workmanship; an artist’s or craftsman’s BEST piece of work.” WOW! Let those words sink in. He considers us His BEST! When God created you He didn’t leave anything out. He isn’t looking down from heaven thinking, “Man, I should have added a dash of this or a pinch of that.” When we feel the temptation to compare ourselves to others, instead of bringing out that wish list, offer a prayer of thanksgiving for the way God created you.
- Accept your limitations and develop your strengths.
So, let’s face the facts! We can’t be good at everything. God has placed within each of us unique passions and gifts both natural and spiritual. When we try to operate in areas that are not within our capabilities it’s like trying to put a square peg in a round hole. It just won’t fit! We can break free from the comparison trap by embracing who we are, instead of trying to be who we are not. We need to identify our strengths, gifts, and abilities, then develop and use them.
1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” Our gifts bring glory to God, but were also given to us to help those around us. How different would the world be if we would all wake up in the morning and say, “I’m going to use the gifts God has given me to reach the lost, and bring healing to this broken world.”
- Cheer them on.
A tough pill to swallow is that there will always be someone gifted in the same areas as you and possibly doing their assignment better than you. Galatians 6:4 says, “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.” When we take our eyes off of everyone else and focus on the work the Lord has called us to do, the need to compare will dissipate. A security will come from knowing that God is satisfied and pleased with us and we won’t need to compare ourselves with others anymore.
So what if that mom of four is able to manage her kids better in public than you can. Ask her how she does it and give her a compliment. Who cares if you can barely boil water without burning the house down. Ask for some cooking lessons from that gluten/dairy free meal making mama! Being able to compliment others outwardly keeps us from complaining inwardly; helping us avoid feelings of envy and jealousy.
A prayer to pray:
Lord, help me to find my security in you rather than comparing myself to others. God, I desire to be who you created me to be and do the good things You planned for me long ago. Help me to look to you when I need affirmation. Father, thank you for making me your masterpiece. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Photo Credit: My sweet friend, Amber Craig, took the beautiful picture featured in my post today. Her Facebook page, Something For The Walls, has this photo and tons of beautiful captures for purchase. Take a minute to check her out and send her some love.
Header Credit: My dear friend, Angette, graphic designer, designed my beautiful header. Have any graphic needs? Check out her page: http://theangette.com/6