3 Steps to Stop Comparisons


The feeling was quick. Instant, really. I had just seen that an author I was reading about is the same age as I am. And I immediately (immediately!) thought of all that she's accomplished. And all that I haven't.

Fortunately, I quickly recognized what was happening. I was comparing myself to someone I've never met. Someone with a different story than me. Someone with whom I've never crossed paths with outside of reading her written words.

I was comparing myself to someone whose accomplishments don't add to or take away from anything I've done or not done. And yet, for a moment, I was ready to give the enemy that power over me.

I'm convinced that the enemy loves when we compare ourselves to others. Why wouldn't he? When we let comparisons take over our thinking we do his work for him.

I imagine him standing back, whispering his encouragement...That's right. Look at her. You're the same age and look at all she's been able to do.

Meanwhile, disappointment in myself is starting to stir. Satan tosses a little fuel to the fire and I let it really get going. To the point of ruining my mood and my day, leading me to the "why even try" discouragement and wanting to quit.

Oh yes, he has that ability. But we don't have to give him that power over us!

Jesus stops Satan in his tracks, and through Jesus, we are able to stop the comparisons that lead us down that negative path. {Tweet this}

3 Steps to Stop Comparisons

1 - Recognize when we’re starting to compare ourselves to someone else.

Maybe it’s how we look, our education, whether or not we’re stay-at-home moms, our accomplishments, our families, our kids’ behavior…the list goes on. We can be quick to compare ourselves in any and every way to what we see around us. But what we see rarely tells the entire story.

These comparisons can sneak up quick and have lasting effects. The quicker we recognize when we’re comparing what we know of ourselves to what we see of someone else, the quicker we can try to stop it.

2 - Know and understand how these comparisons affect us.

If seeing someone’s achievement motivates you to keep trying or to do something you’ve been wanting to do, then by all means, let it motivate you!

But, the effects I’m talking about are jealously, envy, dislike, discouragement, and wanting to give up. (These emotions have physical effects as well, like headaches, depression, anxiety, digestive issues, etc.) You know what I’m talking about, right?

If we can recognize when we’re comparing, and acknowledge what it usually does to us, then we have a better chance of stopping it before we start down that negative path.

3 – Stop comparing.

I don’t say this flippantly. This step is often the hardest because it takes a conscious effort to put the breaks on something before it spins out of control. It means closing the social media screen or ending the conversation, changing focus, and telling ourselves to stop. Not easy, but it is possible, and with practice, it doesn’t feel quite so challenging.

I was able to stop it in my experience above because I’ve been working on not comparing myself to others for years. (years!) I’m no expert, nor do I have a 100% track record, but I know what it will do to me if I let myself stay in comparison mode.

God’s plans for each of us are different, but they are good. We may eventually meet up in the same place, but no one gets there in the exact same way. He designs different paths and timing for each of us. {Tweet this}

If the author I was reading about knew I was comparing myself to her, I imagine she might say, Please don't. That's not why I write. I know that's what I would say if someone was comparing herself to me. I don't want to write so people look at me. I write with the hope and prayer that my words point to Jesus.

And that’s exactly what the enemy doesn't want.

In Christ,
Laura

[Photo credit: FreeImages.com]


16 comments:

  1. One of Satan's favorite weapons in his arsenal. Comparison. Bad news.

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  2. Yes, it's so easy for comparison to sneak in and it's so unhelpful. It's important to be aware of this and ready to deal with it.

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  3. It really is important to realize that someone else's accomplishments do not take away from ours! Somehow it's just so easy to start thinking that. Thanks for sharing on this important topic!

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  4. Funny that no matter what we accomplish, we can allow comparing to steal our joy and God's glory. A continual battle - less as I praise God and clap for others!

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  5. I was just reading the section on comparison in Michelle DeRusha's True You and felt my stomach clench over the battle we all wage against this particular form of ingratitude for the given.
    Thanks for taking it on today, Laura.

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  6. "I write with the hope and prayer that my words point to Jesus." Amen, Laura! And they do.

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  7. Satan's main plan is to keep us from worshipping and glorifying God. If he can convince us that we do not measure up or someone else is better than us, then we are focused on ourself and not on God, exactly what he wants. He really is a snake in the grass.

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  8. with social media and just the way life is now, it's hard to not compare but once we get it firgured out, life will look so much better

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  9. This is one of those things I know I do have to keep in check and be watchful. It's so true Laura that we need to reign it in fast, recognizing early on and identifying the lie and calling Satan out on it!! Telling him, ohh uh uh! Nope not gonna play the game!!

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  10. Yes, yes, yes! I wish these were the things we could talk about -- really talk about. These are the things that are hard and real and I can relate to 100%.

    It is so hard, but your point about Satan loving comparison hit me hard. I read a post today about getting to the root of problems and instead of trying to fix my comparing habits on my own I think I need to start with wearing God's armor as I look deeper!

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  11. Comparison does have a way of making us feel less about ourselves. I think as I get older, it is easier to stop comparing myself to others. Maybe that is because my faith in God is growing deeper.

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  12. Yes, we need to realize we are doing it and stop it. Love your ending, that if the lady you were comparing yourself heard you she would ask you not to. So true. If we knew someone was comparing themselves to us we would ask them not to and probably point out ten reasons they are wrong. Which is a great reason to stop comparing our self to them.

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  13. Hey Laura, I couldn't have said this better myself. Comparison is such a trap from the enemy. A real joy stealer! Thank you for giving us tools to help orient our thoughts when we begin to struggle.

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  14. Amen, Laura! It's something I need to check in myself all the time. Talk about an instant joy stealer! AND I want to be excited for others when God uses them for His glory! Sooooo... thanks for the reminder and for a beautifully written pep talk! Blessings!

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  15. This is such an easy place to get stuck, Laura. I love the practicality to these three ways to stop ourselves from falling into the trap!

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  16. Amen and thank you for sharing how you resist this vicious scheme of our enemy. Great post!

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts!