It’s hard to quit comparing to build community. Just last night I was on Instagram and I realized I was doing it, again.
Thankfully, I have learned a thing or two about comparison and how the enemy likes to tempt us with this to pull us away from our relationship with God and with others. So now when this happens, I have the arsenal needed to help me to recognize the devil’s schemes and respond accordingly.
How about you?
Do you know when you have fallen prey to comparison? Have you found yourself putting the phone down and feeling more anxious, maybe even depressed over the view on the screen compared to your life? Does that trigger the need to change your hair, body size, makeup, eating habits, or house? I have been there and done that.
Or are the times that you not only are finding yourself comparing online, but also when you show up to work, or the mommy-date at the park, perhaps at the event you went to last night or the store you were last shopping at in the mall.
It’s not difficult for any of us to get caught up in the trap of comparison. But how do we respond to it when we do.
As an approval addict in recovery, I can find myself caught up in this if I am not aware or careful. Doing so would send me into a downward spiral, and before I knew it, I had torn myself to shreds in my mind. At which point I decided I couldn’t do anything, be anything, or engage in anything because I was less than the person I was comparing myself to at the moment.
However, now that I lead a faith-based non-profit, that temptation to compare becomes even more challenging. Because now it’s not just me, but its just as easy to get caught up in comparing our ministry to another, which is the complete opposite of what God has given us as a vision for our community.
And the enemy is pretty dang good at it. Coveting is what got him kicked out of heaven in the first place. He wanted what he couldn’t have, and so God said adios to him and a bunch of his friends.
But we do not have to fall prey to that same scheme. We can choose a different path, and in doing so instead of sinning against God (coveting is a sin, which means comparison is too), we could choose a path that brings about unity in the body of Christ and therefore honoring and glorifying God.
10 Ways to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
1. Accept what you have done
The first step in stopping any cycle, addiction, or struggle is to accept the fact that you have done the very thing you were trying not to do. Without this step none of the others matter.
As I mentioned before, comparison is just a nicer word for coveting. Coveting, being the 10th commandment is a sin. The quicker we repent, the sooner we can get into right relationship with God. He can use a repentant heart.
3. Re-focus your thoughts
Another issue with comparing is that our thoughts are often running wild. The Word says that we are to take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). When we are set on a path to compare ourselves to others, our thoughts have a mind of their own. They are no longer focused on God, but instead on ourselves.
Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Prayer is Powerful
4. Stop comparing and start praying.
I have found that the quickest way to stop myself from comparing, and therefore focusing my thoughts on me rather than God, is to change my focus. I start praying for the person in which the comparing began. It might look like this,
“Lord, I love the way you have fearfully and wonderfully made ___________. You have created ________ to be beautiful in the sight of man. I pray Lord for blessing over ___________________ gifts, talents, and passions. That you would give ___________ favor, where ____________needs it. Bless ___________ hands and feet as _________________ does the work that you have called ______________ to do.”
5. Speak God’s blessing over you
We must keep our focus on God and His perspective during this process. We not only need to pray a blessing over the person we are comparing ourselves with but we also need to pray a blessing for ourselves. When we compare ourselves to someone else, we also start to tear ourselves apart. But we are created in the image of God, He sees us as daughters and sons, and as heirs to His throne. We certainly do not want to speak against who God created us to be. So try this:
God, I thank you that you created me in your image, with your own two hands. You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. You know my inmost parts. I thank you God for how you made me and that there is no one else like me, which means I can not be compared to anyone else, I am unique in my own right. Lord, I ask you to keep my thoughts pure, to align my heart with yours, to help me see me as you see me, and to be quick to respond to the Holy Spirit’s voice when He tells me to love who you created me to be and not compare myself to others.
Get to the Root Cause
6. Ask yourself, “Why?”
There may be a reason that you are comparing yourself to others. It may be because of how you currently feel about yourself. It may be that you have become disconnected to God. Perhaps you are harboring anger or bitterness against God, yourself, or another. There can be lots of whys in this scenario, but asking the question will help you get to your root cause.
Join the Movement
I want to start a new trend. Every Wednesday I am showing women on my Instagram and Facebook accounts that I think my followers should follow. I am using the hashtag #womentofollow, but I am adding the hashtag #cheerheron. Because it’s great to mention women that others should follow, but I want to do more than that. I want to change our culture. I want us to build each other up and realize when we are tearing each other down. So in sharing that woman to follow, I also want you to speak words of encouragement over her and her calling, (recognizing that God has all called us live worthy of our callings).
8. Celebrate our different gifts and talents
The best part of being in a community is that we are not all the same. Could you imagine what life would be like if everyone looked, acted, loved, served, and thought like you?
Although different can feel difficult, can you imagine how dull and mundane that scenario could be? Oh, I would be over myself fast.
The apostle Paul was extremely passionate about unity in the body, and we know this because he talked about in almost every one of his Epistles. In every message he shared with the local churches he was telling them over and over again, honor each other in the gifts that you have received. Stop comparing one gift, talent, or passion to another. Celebrate the fact that we are all created differently for different purposes.
Balancing Social Media
9. Take a break from social media
The best way for you to stop incessantly comparing yourself to others is to take a break from social media. Yes, you can certainly find yourself in a comparison trap off of social media, but it is not as in your face or this case, screen. If you find yourself in that scenario off-line as much as you do online than I would say stay away from those places, situations, or venues for a time if you are able. Giving yourself a break will also help you give your thoughts a break. Those times will bring clarity and focus.
10. Use your feed as a prayer list
The best way to change the way you think is to go into it with a different perspective. Instead of scrolling mindlessly and finding yourself caught in a trap, use your feed, (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) whatever your social media of choice may be, as a way to pray for others. When we are focused on lifting up friends, family, acquaintances or celebrities, we may or may not know about God, our perspective changes. It’s difficult to compare, covet or have feelings of jealousy when we are lifting up those people to our Father.
There you have it, 10 ways to help you when you find yourself comparing your life to another.
I have got one more, we’ll call it a bonus, way you can help support someone else and dig into this character flaw a bit further.
You may know that my book Like Me or Not: Overcoming Approval Addiction just became available for pre-order last week. If not, you want to go check out all the great giveaways and downloads available.
Apply for My Launch Team
But now I am inviting women from all over to apply for my launch team. This is an excellent way for you to start learning how your need for approval will affect your relationships. In turn, this keeps us in a place of comparison and effectively taking us out of community. In fact, chapter 6 in the book addresses just that issue.
If helping yourself so you can help others sounds intriguing, then be sure to apply today. We will only be accepting applications until April 2, 2018, and spots are limited.
Questions: Which of the 10 ways was most convicting to you? How will you start to implement it in your daily life?