Uncovering The Comparison Trap
In today's world, comparison can be right at our fingertips. With constant uploads of shared photos and statuses, we are instantly updated on the most recent wedding our second cousin attended... to the dinner our high school teacher just prepared. Anything and everything can just be a click or scroll away. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful that we have advanced technology that is resourceful (and thank God we no longer have to wait for dial-up speed!). But as we live in times where it may be easier to compare ourselves, we should be more proactive in understanding how this can affect us.
Let me be the first to admit! I've totally seen that perfect living room filled with beautiful, minimalistic, expensive items on Pinterest or that good looking group of strangers loving life under a perfect "VSCO" filter, and found myself saying "I want that". As we constantly expose ourselves to the illusion of "perfect" people and things when we check our social media, do we even notice how this may be impacting us?
If our hearts are constantly longing for something that we don't have, what are we accomplishing? When we find ourselves saying "If I only had that kind of relationship... If I only had that exciting career... If I only looked that good..." We end up focusing on what we don't have and fail to recognize what we do have. We place ourselves into a constant cycle of wanting the next best thing. We end up convincing ourselves a lie; that if we just have what others have, we'll have deep joy, purpose, and recognition. But is that really true? When we look to compare ourselves among others to affirm who we are, whether that be popular, loved, beautiful, successful, etc... we end up looking to a false standard to find our worth.
Comparison is just like a bear trap. Although the animal stays alive, the trap ends up wounding the animal and keeping it stuck. As humans, comparison keeps us stuck and fixated on what we don't have, it hinders us from moving forward, and it wounds us- making us feel depressed. If we uncover the trap of comparison before we get stuck by it, we'd save ourselves from wasting time and getting hurt. We'd notice that this trap actually takes our eyes off of who we are in God and what He has for us to do right now with our lives.
I believe that God wants to set us free from the trap of comparison. That He wants to mend any wounds that comparison may have caused us in the past and give us a new sense of identity in Him. He wants us to walk freely and forward into the plans He has to accomplish through us for His kingdom.
Galatians 6:4-5 (MSG)
"Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life."
It is easy to get caught up in what people around us are projecting onto social media, but maybe we should take a look at the overall big picture. Let's take a break from looking at other people's lives and look at our own. Where has God positioned us and what does He want to accomplish right now in this season? Have we even taken the time to truly seek the Lord on this or have we been so caught up in looking at other's lives? Who is in our lives right now that we could be serving and loving? Who can we be sharing the gospel with? What gifts has He given us that we could cultivate and develop more? How can we focus in more on God and run after what He wants to do through us?
Let's take responsibility for what He has put in our hands to steward and steward it well by relying on the strength of the Holy Spirit.Let's live lives that are productive for His Kingdom and His people, instead of wasting time stuck in comparison. I believe that as we find our joy in the Lord and focus on what He has called us to accomplish for His glory, that He will provide the grace and strength needed and we won't need to compare ourselves to find value.
At the cross, God secured our true identity. Instead of looking to people around us to compare where we stand in life, we can look to what Jesus has accomplished on our behalf. We are children of God and can boast in Christ alone. By what Christ has achieved, we no longer have to strive to secure a reputation, we don't have to work in our own strength to secure value, He has freely given this to us. What a gift we don't deserve but now can walk confidently in knowing that we are loved and beautiful because He made us so. Our true worth comes from Him alone, how grateful we should be that this is secure and eternal, unlike the temporary things here on earth.
Let's face it, there will be times where we can't control being exposed to other good things that we may desire to have as our own, but we should be intentional in how we respond. We should live life holding earthly things loosely and holding onto God tightly. As our joy comes from Him, we should be the first to celebrate the good things God is doing in other people's lives instead of becoming bitter about what we don't have.
As you abide in Christ each day, let His word remind you that you belong to Him and you do not have to look at the temporary things here on earth to validate your worth. You no longer have to compare, strive, or prove who you are among the world. You can now boast in Christ and look to Him to accomplish His good work through you, all for His glory alone.