I just love my guest today in our "Comparing Ourselves to Others...and what it does to us." series. She is Sharita Knobloch, and you can find her at 7 Days Time, where she encourages everyone to find Jesus in the everyday. I can't even remember when Sharita and I first connected because it feels like we've always been online friends...hopefully to meet in real life soon. (Yay!) Please make her feel welcome here by leaving a comment and be sure to visit her at 7 Days Time. ~ Laura
It happens in the blink of an eye.
Before I can stop myself, I am looking at her up and down, and thoughts zip through my mind.
“Look at that long, blond hair. I bet she dyes it.”
“Ug. I will NEVER let my kids behave that way.”
“Sigh. I wish I was as skinny as she is…”
While I totally hate these ugly roots of mine (I mean in my heart, not my hair) it is a very real experience for me. Honestly, God has been working on me for some time in this comparison dilemma. I have come a long way but it is still… so… stinking… hard.
Nowhere in God’s loving heart or holy plan did he say, “I shall design people with different characteristics so they can compare their attributes against one another to fuel jealousy and doubt my character.”
He did, however, give us His Word in the Bible that speaks against comparing ourselves to others.
“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” ~Proverbs 14:30
“Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” ~Galatians 6:5 MSG
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” ~1 Corinthians 13:4
As these verses show us, comparison can been the root of envy, pride, conceit, and discontentment. When we compare, we are essentially questioning God’s goodness and faithfulness. We aren’t trusting Him with His plans, His gifts, His design for our lives. Ouch.
Here’s another problem with this comparison game. It drives a wedge between us and other people, be it friends, families or strangers. When we fill our heart with the “If onlys” or the “I wish I had” or “Why can’t I,” it becomes a playground for Satan. He starts working overtime to make those comparisons deep-seeded enough to impact our relationship with God. (See previous paragraph.)
It’s an ugly, vicious cycle.
Oh. And we can’t forget social media’s role in this cycle. While platforms like Facebook can be a great tool to witness, it can also be a source of heartache.
Example: You log onto Facebook or Twitter and see something like this: “What a great day! Hubby got promoted, I cleaned my entire house in 18 minutes, completed 33 new Pinterest projects, the kids were angels and the puppy potty-trained himself. Oh, and we are expecting a baby!”
We then compare their wonderful, glamorous life to our day filled with poopy diapers, a car that wouldn’t start, a dog that puked on the carpet (again) and more bills to pay. Remember, sweet friends: when we compare our lives to others, oftentimes we are comparing their best moments with our worst.
And that’s not a very level playing field if you ask me.
Can you imagine what our world would be like if we would stop comparing ourselves to others and compare ourselves to Christ? After all—HE is the One we are following.
Instead of being smug with how well our kids behave compared to those “other parents,” why don’t we extend love and mercy? We don’t know their story.
Instead of feeling jealous or defeated when someone else has more Facebook page likes or Twitter followers, we should be happy for them… And maybe even seek to learn from them.
Instead of comparing our physical attributes to our neighbor or friend or stranger, why can’t we simply be thankful that God made us, fearfully and wonderfully, physical limitations and all?
Take some time to pray and ask God to show you the comparative parts of your heart. Seek to live in Him, reaching for the standards He has set for us, not what our flesh or the world tells us.
Be bold. Dig deep. Take this dare not to compare… Because God loves you just the way you are, complete with those grumpy kids, frizzy hair, Cheerios-ground-in-the-carpet and all.
Sharita Knobloch describes herself as a Jesus-loving, enthusiastically creative minister, writer, and Spiritual Leadership Coach. She loves encouraging others to find Jesus in the everyday and live in His light through blogging and coaching at 7 Days Time Ministry.
She adores her family, specifically her Beloved army infantry husband Brandon, their sweet daughter Charis and goofy little dog Justus. Sharita enjoys exploring her current “home” state of Washington, breaking in new journals with inky pens, and eating square(s) of dark chocolate in the bathtub.