Thursday, February 7, 2013

On Comparison

Let's talk about comparison. 

It's a trap that so many of us fall into. So many of us, in fact, that I would almost label it a spiritual epidemic. 

It's contagious, and if left unchecked it flows 
through the bloodstream attacking life. 

Comparison is embedded into American culture. Young girls and boys alike pine over magazines and idolize the figures that cover them. They wonder why they can't look like that or be that talented. 

Aspiring business associates obsess over outcompeting their co-workers. They think that satisfaction will come with success - and that success will come when they are the best of the best. 

I'm sure that even philanthropists would admit that they feel a sense of inadequacy when someone gives a larger contribution to a good cause than they themselves are able to give. 

Comparison is a direct attack on identity

And I am becoming increasingly aware of the negative hold 
that comparison has on my own life. 

Let's take running, for example. This week has been full of strenuous and challenging workouts. And I have made it through them all. I have hit all the times my coach told me to hit. I have surprised myself by how in shape I am. 

But I have not finished one workout completely happy. Why? Because I spent the entirety of those workouts comparing myself to the other girls. Was I ahead? Right on track (even if I didn't go my fastest). Did I get out-kicked? Terrible (even if I did my best). I realize that it's difficult not to compare yourself when you are competing. But that should not be what drives me.

I fall into the comparison trap in other ways too. 
When people have more friends than I do, are nicer than I am... 
heck, even when people seem to be "better" Christians than me!!!

It has taken me years to realize what poisonous thinking this is. 

God never meant for his children to compare themselves amongst each other. He created each one of us unique to his heart. 

Psalm 139:13 says that he "knit [us] together in [our] mother's womb" and his thoughts about us "outnumber the grains of sand on the shore". 

He created us each for a purpose. To worship him and love him in a way that only we can. He doesn't want us to find our identity in our failures or our accomplishments...
He wants us to find our identity in him. In his love. 

That's the cure. 

His love for us is so extravagant and so personal. There is NOTHING any of us could do for him to love us any more or any less. He created me a specific way. With a unique face, and specific talents, and funny quirks, and certain desires. And He loves me

John 15:9 says that we should "abide" in his love. 

To abide: to dwell; to await in expectation. 

Our identity needs to dwell in the love of God. 
Otherwise, we will dwell in comparison. 

We will be fragile and easily broken. 

Comparison is the enemy's tool to distract us from how much God loves us.
 To distract us from the unique call
and mantle that God has placed over each of us. 

I'm sick of being sick. Are you? 

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