Monday, July 15, 2013

Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy

Something I have learned since I became an adult, and especially after I became a wife and mother, is that as women, we are constantly comparing ourselves to other women.

We compare our looks, our education, our jobs, our talents. We compare ourselves to other wives, and as mothers, we are forever wondering if we are doing as good a job as the next mom.

Why do we do this? Who's to blame? Television, magazines, social media, men? I've often wanted to blame the media myself, but if we're honest, the root of the problem really comes from deep within ourselves.

As a Christian, I had to dig a little about the topic since I truly believe the Bible is the best "life manual" I will ever need. Often I forget that the 10th commandment says this: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

So what does that mean? In plain English, it means that we are not to want what our neighbor has. When we covet, we desire to have what someone else has. We do that when we compare ourselves to others. We think; she's skinnier, taller, prettier, richer, more creative, more popular, a better wife, a better mother, a better friend, a better Christian, an overall "better" person. 

So what do we do? We compare and covet. We then not only want what she has, but we want to exceed that. If we tear her down then we can feel better about ourselves and our own insecurities.
Here are a few scriptures that deal with comparison (I'm using the Message Bible a lot because I love how it's broken down into today's terms):

2 Corinthians 10:12

The Message (MSG)
12 We’re not, understand, putting ourselves in a league with those who boast that they’re our superiors. We wouldn’t dare do that. But in all this comparing and grading and competing, they quite miss the point.

Galatians 6:4

The Message (MSG)
4-5 Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.

Matthew 7:1-5

The Message (MSG)
 7 1-5 “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.

(Love that one) :) 

2 Timothy 2:15

The Message (MSG)
14-18 Repeat these basic essentials over and over to God’s people. Warn them before God against pious nitpicking, which chips away at the faith. It just wears everyone out. Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple. Stay clear of pious talk that is only talk. Words are not mere words, you know. If they’re not backed by a godly life, they accumulate as poison in the soul. Hymenaeus and Philetus are examples, throwing believers off stride and missing the truth by a mile by saying the resurrection is over and done with.

Galatians 1:10 (ESV)

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

It's clear as Christians we are not to compare ourselves to others, but we are to seek the approval of God instead. Easier said than done yes, but I think we can see what comparing and coveting other women gets us...nothing.

As Theodore Roosevelt said; "Comparison is the thief of joy." It really is when you think about it. What happens when we look at another woman who possesses something we think we don't. We get annoyed, jealous, angered. We lose our joy. 
We talk about her behind her back but smile to her face. We beat ourselves up that we can never be what she is or never have what she has. We fall into depression and lose our joy. 

I certainly have fallen into comparison's trap many times, and many times I needed to remind myself that God didn't screw up when He made me. According to His word I am wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). That everyone is made differently and given different gifts from the Father. 

As women we need to stop comparing, competing, coveting and tearing one another down.
We need to see the good in our fellow sister and help and encourage her with the type of encouragement we so long for.

Do we win a prize at the end of it all if we feel we are better than someone? Absolutely not. We end up with self-hatred, jealousy, bitterness, depression, anxiety and more insecurities.
All things I know the Father does not want for us.

As women and mothers, we need to stick together. "So encourage each other and build each other up..." 1 Thessalonians 5:11 
When you see another woman, encourage her, compliment her, ask what you can do to help her in any way at all. Pray for her. Especially encourage new mothers, as us moms know what a daunting task that can be. 
Lend a helping hand to young and old women alike. Serve one another as Christ did. Let others see Christ in you! 

Above all, know who YOU are in Christ. You were not made to be like someone else; you were made to be YOU. Be your best YOU for the Lord and not for the approval of man; which is nothing of eternal importance anyway. 

We're all in this together ladies. We can be such a help to one another is we only break down those walls and extend our hand. Let's encourage and empower one another!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this post! I'm apart of a MOPS group and in search of the topic "mommy Comparisons" Your article was exactly what we are talking about. Thank you so much.


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