Throughout the seasons of our lives and our journey with God, we will at some point struggle with issues of jealousy, rivalry and comparing ourselves to the people around us. Often, those issues are birthed out of an admiration for another person’s personality, looks, family, success, wealth, clothes, home, friendships etc..and despite our heart being in the right place at first, we can sometimes allow that admiration to transform into ‘the comparison game’ without even realising it. This can often make us angry, bitter and even unauthentic towards a person. It can make us feel trapped, insecure and unsatisfied with our individual plans that God has for us! Comparison is the thief of joy, and as disciples of God- we need to reflect that joy, not destroy it.
Firstly, it’s important that you know that the feelings mentioned above are very normal (because we are human beings), but recognising that we shouldn’t settle for those feelings can set us free. Instead, we can begin to lift people up and encourage them in their successes, whilst still knowing that God has some exciting, unique adventures in store for every person (including you!).
Picture this, you are just about to set off for the biggest race of your life. On the running track, there are many different lanes, and in every lane there is a different person, with different stories, dreams, backgrounds, experiences, families, names and plans. At the finish line, you can see God standing there, cheering everybody on and you are so excited to run towards him, as you know the reward at the end of the race is more than worth it. The whistle goes and you start to run as fast as you possibly can towards the finish line. At first your eyes are fully fixed on God, but as the race goes on, you find yourself wondering how far along the rest of the people in the race are. Your focus quickly begins to shift from God to the people at the side of you. You start to feel angry that some are ahead of you, you are running even faster to move away from the people running at the same pace as you and feel happy that the people behind you are becoming further and further away. Instead of your intention being to run straight for God, your goal changes to competing against the people in the other lanes, and you find yourself wanting to ‘beat’ the other runners. As your vision becomes transfixed on the people at the side of you, your balance becomes wobbly, your vision becomes blurred and you can feel your legs becoming tangled. Then a few moments later, without warning, you find yourself head first on the running track, wondering what on earth has happened.
Sometimes, this is what our lives can look like. We spend so much time comparing ourselves to other people, feeling jealous of what others have that we don’t, that we become blind to our original purpose, which is to run straight for God and his plans for us! The ‘comparison’ game has the perfect strategy to trip us up and make us feel as if the ‘race’ of life is a competition, when in actual fact, God has placed people in our life to journey with us (in the good times and the bad), encourage us, challenge us and teach us!
If we can become excited about encouraging and loving one another, we can begin to celebrate when people succeed, honour each other in authenticity and be the light in the dark places. There is something extremely powerful about disciples who are willing to put other people before themselves and love the race set before them (including the people sharing it with them).
Remember that God has given you EVERYTHING you need, and has not forgot about you.
Keep your eyes focused on him and you will stay on the track.
Some questions to think about to help you recognise signs of the ‘comparison game’…
1) Do you find yourself becoming envious of other people or what they have?
2) Do you delight in other people’s failures?
3) Do you find yourself focusing more on other people’s journey, rather than your own relationship with God?
4) Do you find it hard to celebrate in other people’s successes?
5) Are you thankful for the things God has given you?
And finally, here is a bible verse that will encourage and inspire you.
Philippians 2: 1 – 4 (MSG)
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favour: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
Author: Emma Belfield