“Look. Look at her. Seriously?? Do you see how perfect she is?”
“Oh my goodness. I would do anything for that body.”
“And her hair! It’s flawless.”
“Can I just have that outfit?? Even though it wouldn’t even be cute on me”
“I wish I looked like her”
“Same. But nope, just plain old me.”
I sat quietly tucked in a corner at Starbucks, listening to these two teenage girls a few tables over as they spoke about a woman of about 25 standing in line waiting to order. I looked at her briefly, took a sip of my white mocha and went back to my reading.
But now something was different. I couldn’t focus.
My eyes drifted to the “perfect woman” waiting on her latte.
She was, in fact, beautiful.
Her clothing without wrinkle. Hair falling perfectly into her shoulders. Makeup perfectly blended. She walked effortlessly in her stilettos and her bag completed the entire ensemble. And then, I became more self-aware of my presence.
On this particular day I was wearing running leggings, a baggy sweatshirt, sneakers, hair in a messy bun, and makeup free skin.
As I went through a mental Venti sized check-off to how I paled in comparison to this mystery woman, the Lord began to speak straight to my heart:
“Psalm 139”, He whispered, “Body and soul, you are marvelously made by Me.”
“Think of My Word. Galatians, 2 Corinthians, Romans …” He continued on “Seek my Truth in the Word. Ask Me how I think about you, about how you’re feeling – what you’re doing right now. Stop comparing yourself to this world, compare to Me. Stop and seek Me.”
The comparison game is one that we’ve all played more than a time of two.
I’m dreadfully guilty of being apart of this one, bad.
The temptation of comparison creeps into our lives in so many ways –
In the media with “Who wore it better?” columns and “fashion police” driven broadcasts.
It has infiltrated my own life with scenarios like the aforementioned:
Does my hair/makeup/outfit look as good as hers?
As well as:
Are my jokes as funny as theirs?
How do I compare to a former significant other?
How do I perform at my job in comparison to my coworker?
How do my musical abilities compare to that musician?
How does my athleticism compare to my teammate?
How does my intelligence compare to theirs?
How does my cooking taste in respect to them?
How does my ability to lead measure up to my predecessor?
Or sadly even,
How does my Christian walk look in reference to that Christian?
How good/bad does my sin look next to theirs?
What does my service look like compared to theirs?
“Stop and seek Me.” God’s voice continued to bid. And so I did.
I opened my Bible and began looking into how God regards comparison.
Instantly my heart broke for the two young girls several tables over.
They were long past the mystery woman, and now talking about boys.
I gazed at them with weary eyes. Do they know how beautiful they are? Do they know that they were uniquely and intricately created by a Heavenly Father who loves them?
“But nope, just plain old me” played over and over in my head.
She’s not plain. She’s gorgeous. She’s precious. She’s His.
We made eye contact and I casually told her that I admired their outfits.
The two smiled and exchanged a smile and we continued about our business.
I’ve heard it said that “comparison is the thief of joy” and I couldn’t agree more. Comparison, when taken too far can foster anxiety, a lack of self love and respect, resentment, idolatry even, and a host of other things not intended for us by God.
When we begin to get caught up in the riptide of comparison, we are swept further and further from Christ. When our focus is on how we compare to someone or something, we aren’t fully devoted to him. Even when our intentions are good, and our comparisons are to other Christians, if our gaze becomes more set on the Christians around us and less on Christ – it can still be harmful. Our identity, satisfaction, and confidence should be in Christ alone. And let me tell you, It’s a very humbling yet empowering thing to realize your worth in Christ.
The God that created the universe, created you and me. Why would we ever need the approval of anyone else? The only one we should compare ourselves to is Him, and for the purpose to become more like Him.
Will we ever completely stop comparing ourselves to the standards of this world, to other people, and other stuff? No, not entirely. But just remember that no matter what, to seek Him first above all else. Because He is sufficient and He is all you need.