To showcase your abilities you need to compare yourself to someone of lesser quality than you; or if you happen to be the one with “lesser” qualities make sure you throw yourself under the bus before someone else does.
This is the message being broadcast through so many of our comparisons. How do we get to this point? Circumstances and Achievements.
Danger 3: Comparing Circumstances
There are some circumstances you have a say in, which stem from the choices you make. For example, you will deal with heavy traffic every day if you choose to move to a big city.
Then there are other circumstances you have no say in, like the family you’re born into. You will always be related in some way to the problems and triumphs that come with the family you belong to. These are your circumstances, whether chosen or given.
There are differences in everything you see. It would be silly to say nothing is different. You compare and contrast on a regular basis. But when does it become harmful? If I looked at a daisy and a rose and said Well the rose is more delicate and is used more, so the daisy is worthless, you would find that statement – simply stupid.
The rose and the daisy are not the same. You can compare the differences but that doesn’t make one flower beautiful and one not. You may have a favorite type of flower but that doesn’t mean there is only beauty in the flower of your preferred choice. In short, comparing differences is harmful when you become the judge of worth.
If you homeschool, you love your kids. But if you put them in public school…
If you get married young you are reckless, not like the people who wait and get all of their ducks in a row…
I hear comparing all the time in areas like these. Frankly, it often sounds like desperation. A plea for someone to confirm you are worthy of what you are doing.
Be confident in the choices you make if that is the direction God has called you to go. You don’t need permission/approval from your peers to obey God. However, don’t assume that God’s plan for the next person is exactly what you are doing. God works in each life; He’s so personal. He called David to fight and NOT build the temple, Solomon to keep peace and build the temple, Peter to preach to the Jews, and Paul to the Gentiles. God doesn’t call everyone to do the exact same thing, so let’s stop comparing like He does.
(NOTE: I understand when you are making a decision, it is necessary to compare in order to weigh the pros and cons of which direction you are going to take; but the comparing doesn’t need to become a full blown gossip corner when you are with your friends. Don’t pretend like it doesn’t happen.)
“ I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13
Our circumstances, chosen or not, should not lead to a comparison fight between who has the best lot in life. God has called us to be content, not divisive.
Danger 4: Comparing Achievements
Then there’s the whole achievement issue.
My baby is on a perfect sleep schedule, not like Agatha’s baby. Or – I made you this cake but it’s not as good as the one you make so you won’t like it as much. Agatha’s parenting skills have just been brought into question and you’ve thrown yourself under the bus so to speak. Can’t we celebrate achievements without tearing someone down?
Comparisons like this are tearing down one party to build the other one up. Why can’t you just say I’m glad I’ve finally gotten my baby on a sleep schedule, it’s working well for us, or I hope you enjoy the cake I made for you.
When does comparing become dangerous? When we rely on comparing to elevate us at the cost of another’s reputation. Ask yourself: Am I comparing to build my feeling of self-worth? Am I building myself or someone else up at the cost of tearing another person down?
Comparing has its place but make sure you don’t become a slave to the trap of comparing at the expense of others, even if it’s yourself. The constant tearing down of others to convince yourself of your own worth is exhausting and not satisfying.
Don’t fall prey to the trap of comparing circumstances or achievements. Celebrate God’s creativity. He is the one who has given worth. Let’s value that in others and ourselves instead of comparing for the sake of upping the next person.
Consider the children that see us on a daily/weekly basis. God has placed us in their lives to be an example to them. What kind of message are we conveying when we compare achievements? What are we essentially telling them?
- You can’t enjoy things unless they are the best. This promotes: ungratefulness & haughtiness.
- To showcase your abilities you need to compare yourself to someone of lesser quality than you. This promotes: unkindness & prideful attitudes.
- If you happen to be the one with “lesser” quality make sure you throw yourself under the bus before someone else does. This promotes: deprecation of self worth & fear.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Let us promote power, love and a sound mind. And for goodness sake let’s stop fueling fear, haughtiness, and unkindness through our comparisons.