Comparison isn't a struggle...it's a sin.
Ladies, we’ve all done it. We wake up and put on makeup for the day, actually spend time choosing clothes that don’t double as workout attire, and fix our hair into something other than a ponytail or baseball cap. We feel good. Accomplished. Ready to slay the day.
Then we walk into Target and see that woman: the one we only sort of know from our kids’ school and rec league football games. She looks like she stepped out of an Anthropologie ad except she’s not in a field holding a goat on a velvet sofa. She looks STUNNING for a Tuesday at 10:30 am. All those good thoughts and feelings we had about ourselves before we left the house dissipate, and we suddenly feel the need to hide in an aisle because we now believe we are homely trolls. How did this happen? We went from Suburban Goddess to Fiona the Ogre in 3.2 seconds.
Comparison is a sneaky son of a gun. We’ve all heard the quote “Comparison is the thief of joy.” and it’s true, but it also steals so many other things. It steals our self-confidence, our peace, our contentment, and our security. It’s a nasty little habit and so very hard to break. These days we not only get to compare ourselves to other people in real life; we also get the pleasure of doing it online as well. What a treat.
Recently, I’ve been practicing confession during my prayer life due to an initiative our church started a few weeks ago. During this time, our church is going through a series of devotions teaching us how to pray with adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication, or ACTS. The more I sit in confession the more certain I am that this business of comparison that we do is sin. I never thought of it as sin but rather a struggle. It doesn’t seem like a sin because I’m the only victim. I’m not hurting anyone else when I compare myself to others so I deem it a struggle. And lesbihonest, "struggle" sounds a lot nicer than "sin". But let’s call a spade a spade. What does comparison stir up in my life? Anxiety, envy, ungratefulness, covetousness, and ugly thoughts about the comparable person. These don't exactly sound like attributes of someone who is free in Christ. As a matter of fact they sound like someone living in bondage to their sin. I do it all the time, ya'll. I'm a free person who continues to put the shackles back on my hands and feet because I forget who I am.
His Word tells me “I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” (Ps. 139:14 ESV)
What else does it say?
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Gen. 1:27 ESV)
“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Gen. 1:31 ESV)
Wonderful…image bearer of God…good.
These things are true of the people He created. Notice He did not call His creation beautiful, or skinny, or put together. He simply called her good and wonderful. I think we have a hard time believing those things about ourselves so we try to make up for it by looking good and wonderful on the outside. We forget these bodies we’ve got are temporary. Yes, we should take care of them because God gave them to us, but in the end they will pass away. Wouldn't it be something if we worked as hard on our insides as we do on our outsides? Spending as much time in the Word as we do picking out the perfect outfit for whatever event we might be attending. Taking hard looks at our souls, rather than staring disappointedly at the imperfections in our faces would be a far better use of our time. We are God's beloved. I forget sometimes that He looks at me like I look at my kids and He wouldn't change a single thing.
Comparison is a lose/lose situation. Before we let the world tell us who we are, let’s make sure we’re lining it up with who God says we are. Being the One that created us makes Him the expert on all things “us” and unless we start believing the things God says about us are true, we will chase an illusion the rest of our lives. We have got to begin believing that what God thinks of us is more important than what the world thinks of us. This is the only way to peace and contentment in our lives. So the next time you find yourself comparing your outer shell to the lady in aisle 5, tell that little voice “Get behind me, Satan!” and compliment that lady as you walk by. It’s amazing the goodness we can give away when we’re secure in who we are.