A friend of mine sent me a devotional she received from Proverbs 31 Ministries with an encouraging note today. It was a devotional written by Lysa TerKeurst that started out this way…
“Comparisons stink. They do.
Just when I think I've gotten to a good place in some area of my life, along comes someone or something that seems better in comparison. And my confidence shrinks back, takes the hand of doubt, and starts ransacking the peace right out of my heart and mind.
I know deep down that God can and will use everything for good in my life, even my areas of vulnerability. But honest to goodness, it's hard on a girl's heart.”
It is hard on a girl’s heart. If it’s not our bodies we are comparing, it’s our marriages, our jobs, our kids, our houses, our friends, our fitness, and the overall “fun” we are having in our life. It’s always been this way, but I think social media exacerbates the problem. We look on sites like Facebook and we “see” people with passionate marriages, successful kids, great jobs, lots of friends, running weekly marathons, and seemingly having the time of their lives. Then it starts…the comparison. We compare this façade (which is all it is) to our actual, real lives and things that seemed “ok”, now don’t seem so great. Although making comparisons is very normal, as it is often how we gauge our progress and how we figure out the bar in the first place, it is rarely helpful.
Most of our comparing is based on an observation, nothing more. We do not have all the information we need to make an accurate comparison. If we did, we would most likely find that what we observe to be far from the truth. When you compare, you will most likely fall short in your own mind because there is always someone or something “better” than you in any given area. You will always find someone who is fitter, prettier, busier, smarter… but don’t mistake this for happier. Comparing teaches us a “you versus me” mentality that leads people, especially women, to be pitted against each other rather than being supportive and nurturing. Comparison leads to low self esteem, depression and does nothing but damage relationships, especially your relationship with yourself. When we are full of love for ourselves, we have no need to compare.
So from me to you (and from me to me)…if you must compare, don’t compare yourself to others, compare yourself to the person you were yesterday. Be the best YOU can be. Your unique look, one-of-a-kind personality, and distinctive heart distinguish you from all the others and that’s how God intended it to be. So much precious time is wasted comparing ourselves to others. We all have different strengths and weaknesses and it’s only when you accept everything you are – and aren’t - that you will feel successful. Everyone’s journey is unique. Theodore Roosevelt said it best when he said “Comparison is the thief of joy.” So right now…right this very minute…I challenge you to commit to taking your joy back. There is no such thing as perfection. Quit asking what’s “wrong” with me and start focusing on what’s “right” with you, because I know there is plenty. Roosevelt also said "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." So simple, yet so profound. For me,that’s the very best any of us can do, wouldn't you agree?