August 21, 2018

Get Over the Comparison Trap

Disappointment can leave us feeling hopeless. God never created us to live like that, He created us to live in Him, our confident hope. Confident in who God created us to be, and hopeful in what He created us to do. A major hope killer is comparison. To get over disappointment, we need to overcome the trap of comparison, believing what someone else has is better than who God created us to be. You are full of hope, and hope does not disappoint.

Get out of the comparison trap. I am sure at some point or another we have all fallen into the comparison trap. We live in an age where our life—generally the happy, successful side—is all out there for the world to see. It’s so easy to look at a framed picture and think, Her children are always so well-behaved. Well, of course, they look so well-behaved! After all, it’s a posed picture; everyone’s kids look well-behaved in a photograph!

Disappointment breeds comparison, and comparison breeds more disappointment. Either one can come first, and they certainly happen simultaneously. When we live in disappointment, it’s so much easier to look at others and think, She is thinner than me. Her kids are better behaved than mine. She is more organized than I am. Her degree is better than mine. All this comparison does is completely derail us from what God has called us to do and from living out our purpose. We spend so much time looking in the mirrors of others that before we know it, we no longer even know what our own reflection looks like.

Comparison becomes an endless cycle of disappointment. It is a direct assault on the very purpose God has for your life. Comparison says, “What I have been given and who I am is not good enough.”

I am not at all against social media, but the truth is, it is a comparison trap. We see the best, filtered part of a person’s life and compare it to our every-day, overwhelming moments of life. God’s standard for you was never someone else. You are not a duplicate; you are the original version, and our only standard is God and His Word.

I am sure for Hannah to compare herself to Peninnah would have been easy; after all, her husband’s other wife was able to bear children for him. The way Scripture clearly presents the attributes of these two women, Hannah had a more gentle and humble spirit whereas Peninnah was rude and degrading. However, Scripture also describes Hannah as the more loved wife; her husband adored her. Peninnah’s worth was wrapped up in bearing Elkanah children. Despite Peninnah’s ridiculing of Hannah, I am sure she compared herself to Hannah who was more loved. Her husband’s love for Hannah provoked her insults.

Who would you choose to be? Hannah, who rather than feed into the comparison trap with Peninnah went before the Father, who loved her, adored her and saw her for who she was? Or Peninnah, because of her disappointment, compared herself to Hannah, belittling and ridiculing her? Even if we don’t verbalize the comparison out loud, we may say things to ourselves in an effort to make us feel better about ourselves.

I know at times I have, with comments like “Well, she hasn’t had three kids. No wonder she can fit in that bikini.” Not only are we now feeling bad about our non-bikini-clad body, we have unconsciously judged another one of God’s masterpieces. “Well, of course, she received the promotion; all she does is flirt with the boss.” We devalue another individual simply to deal with our disappointment. If we were like Hannah, we would take the stance of “God help me to be comfortable at the stage I am at and work hard to continue to lose the weight I set out to lose,” or offer congratulations and a “Well done!” to the one who received the promotion.

Taking Hannah’s perspective on life will bring you closer to your own purpose, calling and destiny and leave you content with who you are. We know the end of their story. Eventually, Hannah would give her husband children; Peninnah most likely continued as the cruel woman whose only claim to fame was giving her husband children first. When you set your mind on a person or your circumstance, it’s easy to compare yourself and feel disappointed. God wants you to only set your mind on Him. Your story is not finished yet, and your blessing or opportunity is around the corner if you would only stop fixing your eyes on someone else’s.

Even though I am not very creative or artistic, I attended a paint night with the ladies from my small group. I am so not artistic that I am often a typical Pinterest failure. We decided we would have a fun evening out, and I went with the mindset of having fun. Suddenly, the evening of creativity became a critique session. I looked at how other ladies’ trees were turning out, and now mine looked tilted. My shading looked good until I saw how light someone else’s was. We even started to critique one another’s work!

The next day I looked at the painting and thought, Wow! That’s an accomplishment! I had painted for the first time, and my creation looked great! I saw it for what it was because it wasn’t next to someone else’s, and it wasn’t being compared to the professional painting. My painting was simply what it was created to be.

When people began to critique my creation, it hurt. That’s exactly the way God feels when we compare and critique ourselves. He created you, formed you and knitted you. The very word knitted reveals its detail; the Creator thought of every fabric, every intricacy of who you are. God didn’t make us to be compared to another masterpiece; to Him, each one of us is one of His masterpieces. He hurts when we are unsatisfied with who we are because He is the Creator.

God doesn’t hold you up next to someone else to see the flaws; He only compares us to His own image. The only reflection we need to become obsessed with is that of the Father’s. The only comparison we should hold is to reflect the Father. Only then will we fully understand who we were created to be. Trust me; it doesn’t matter how good it looks on someone else; if it wasn’t meant to fit you, it never will. You are unique; you are made well; you are formed, knitted and created as a child of God. I am not saying we cannot make physical improvements if we desire to be in good shape. Our character development is also important and critical to our purpose. Spiritual maturity is a must. If you develop and grow in the context of who you are in Christ, you will become the best version of you.

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