Oh the joys of the comparison game. Throughout my life I don’t remember a time when I didn’t compare myself with other people. I have compared my body, my grades, my physical activity level, my hair, my popularity, my style, my personality, my “success” in ministry, my intellect, my relationship with Josh, my overall life, & so much more with other people throughout my lifetime. I have compared myself to my closest friends and family, my classmates, celebrities, and random strangers.
It was not until ED recovery that I was able to see the destructiveness of comparison in my life. I would constantly complain that it “wasn’t fair” that some people could skip breakfast and I couldn’t. It wasn’t fair that other people could train for a half marathon and I wasn’t allowed to jog a mile. It wasn’t fair that some people were just born “naturally skinny” and “I wasn’t.” I wasn’t a good Christian because I had an eating disorder. I wasn’t a good Christian because I struggled with depression and I saw so many other people who were happy 24/7 (even though we all know that that isn’t true). Nothing seemed fare. We have all heard it, but comparison leads only to jealousy, bitterness, & pride. You either end up feeling worthless, incompetent, & inadequate, or you feel completely prideful and become self-absorbed. In all honesty I have experienced both ends of the spectrum quite frequently. I now know that it really is a complete waste of time and energy because God made us all so differently. Every person has different desires, needs, energy levels, hobbies, intellect, physical appearance, etc. Comparing two people just really doesn’t make sense from a biblical stand-point, yet I am guessing I am not the only person who has struggled with this. In fact, I know I’m not.
I was recently talking with a friend who confessed to me that she seems to struggle with comparison a lot. She said, “I am surrounded by BEAUTIFUL girls all the time now, & I have felt a ton of pressure to look, act, and live just like them.” You are not alone sweet girl. I have a feeling about 99% of people have felt this way at one point or season in their life. I feel like I am surrounded by so many beautiful friends, and I truly am. God’s beauty and glory radiates from my friends from the inside out. They are all so uniquely different in appearance, talent, abilities, dreams, intellect, & more. I absolutely love it. Life would be so boring if we were all the same. The important thing to remember is that just because you see God’s beauty in other people, it doesn’t mean that you yourself are not a beautiful child of God as well. Just because you see ______ in another person doesn’t mean you need to have it. God promises to meet our every need and he made you and I exactly how we were supposed to be made. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made. The creator of the universe created us, & I am not confident that he didn’t mess up.
Let’s take a look at a tangible example:
This is my sweet puppy Maddie May Carr. She is my precious baby girl and she is 9 years old. Maddie is more than just a dog to me because she honestly helped me a lot during recovery this summer. It wouldn’t be too far fetched to consider her to be a therapy dog for me. She is a cuddler, a lover, a friend, & so much more. (Side note…. this summer I sang Jesus loves you to her and she was so happy and wagged her tail the whole time. I then proceeded to ask her if she wanted to accept Jesus as Lord of her life and I am confident that she will be in heaven with me ;)) Alright anyways, I think everyone knows I love my dog and I couldn’t help but brag about her. God made Maddie uniquely. She has some curls behind her ears, she has dark brown eyes, she has a thicker body mass, she is fluffy, clumsy, & cute (had to throw that in there).
Despite her efforts, Maddie could never possibly look like a Pomeranian, a Dalmatian, a Pit bull, a Lab, or any other dog in the world because God made her uniquely! If Maddie tried to be a skinny as a Pomeranian she would be malnourished and die before she reached that point. If she tried to look like a Dalmatian, she would probably get really messy and the paint would matt her fur. If she tried to be a Lab she would need to shave her beautiful, fluffy fur, or at least cut it. If she wanted to look like a Pit Bull she would just fail. Maddie is content with who she is, and I am confident that when she sees another dog she isn’t jealous of it (she actually will just bark until it goes away to protect us.) God shared this sweet analogy one day when I was walking Maddie outside and I thought it was a good idea to share with you guys. I hope it was helpful. I will say it again: no matter how much we want to compare ourselves to other people in any aspect of life, it really, truly doesn’t make sense because created us all so differently.
Each day I am trying to improve my body image more and more by appreciating the beauty that God has blessed me with and the beauty in other people. I’m not perfect, & I still struggle with comparison often. In the world that we live in, I am not sure that I will ever completely get over it. But, I do know that nothing is impossible for my God, & with the help of the Holy Spirit I am slowly learning how to defeat this ugly sin in my life.
A lot of people will tell you that you should just focus on yourself & not worry about other people to avoid comparison. This is true to some extend & makes sense. However, for me, if I spend too much time focusing on myself, I still tend to compare myself to my “old-self” or “future-self” leaving me discouraged and defeated because of the unrealistic expectations I place on myself. For me, the key to fighting comparison is by fixing your eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. When our eyes are on Jesus something as petty as comparison just doesn’t seem as appealing. When we fix our eyes on Jesus, we understand that God created us to do good works that he already prepared for us in advance. When fix our eyes on Jesus, we remember that our life is about HIM and not us.
I will leave you with a quote: “I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God’s thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest and most precious thing in all thinking.” -George MacDonald
I am thought about, born in God’s thought, & made by God in a precious, intricate way. You are thought about, born in God’s thought, & made by God in a precious, intricate way.