All it takes is a quick scroll through Facebook or Instagram to have a bit of an existential crisis.
It seems like all of my friends make delicious meals, go on the perfect vacations, and have the best relationships and families. I start comparing my life to theirs and think “How does everyone else seem to have it all together except for me?”
Even in my everyday life, I’m constantly worried about how I measure up to others.
We know that comparison is unhealthy. So why do we keep doing it?” One reason I think we’re drawn toward comparison is because we like to know where we fit on the social ladder. We can see who we’re beating, and we can keep tabs on people who are doing better than us so we can work toward one-upping them.
I’ve wasted so much time being jealous of others’ abilities and accomplishments because they seem so much greater than mine. Even my friends and my family can become my competition if I’m not careful.
It feels like trying to outrun someone while you’re on a treadmill – it gets me nowhere but leaves me more tired.
In the same way, we often view our relationship with God as though it’s some sort of competition. Sometimes God answers someone else’s prayer that you wanted in your life, or you see others with gifts and talents that you wish you had. So we try a little harder to earn God’s grace, wondering if we’re good enough. We tell ourselves that maybe if we go to church or read our Bible more, God will do those things for us.
But God isn’t grading us on a curve.
We learn about this in Matthew 25 when Jesus tells a story about a wealthy man and his servants.
The wealthy man goes on a journey and gives different amounts of money to three servants based on their abilities. He tells them to invest the money he gave them so that when he returned, he would receive more money.
Two of the servants faithfully invested the money they received, and earned more money for the master. Even though they earned different amounts, both were praised when the master returned because of their faithfulness. He told them both “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”
But the third servant was scared of losing what he had, so he buried it. Needless to say, the master wasn’t as thrilled.
Too often in my life, I’m just like that third servant. I get so jealous of others’ gifts that I end up doing nothing with the gifts that God has given me.
God gives us each different talents and opportunities, and He wants us to use them for His glory – not for a competition.
When God gives you gifts and talents, He’s giving you a task that only you can complete. We can’t look to what others are doing to determine God’s purpose for our lives.
God wants us to look at Him instead. When we look into Jesus’ eyes, we won’t care about what the person next to us is doing. We’ll be so captivated by His love that nothing else will matter. And when we’re motivated by God’s love instead of by what others might think of us, we can be free from the bondage of comparison.
It won’t always be easy. You’ll see others do great things and be tempted to compare yourself to them. But all you have to do is look back into God’s eyes.
So let’s start this journey together.
Because I don’t want to be paralyzed by the fear of not measuring up. I want to serve God with all that I have, no matter what anyone else does. I want to look into Jesus’ eyes and hear Him say to me: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”