I grew up in a family that loved to play board games together. Every year we would all anticipate a new board game under the Christmas tree. The times of playing together as a family were always fun. There was sure to be laughter in learning the rules of a new game and excitement in playing it. My mother almost always won.
However, there is one particular game I learned to play as a very young girl. It is one I continue to play today. It isn’t enjoyable. It isn’t exciting. And I never win. No one wins at this game.
Welcome to ‘The Comparison Game”.
It began with comparing gifts I received to gifts my friends received. It morphed into comparing family dynamics and relationships followed closely by comparing bodies and looks. As I fought the body image battle and began to see some victories, the comparison changed yet again. I now compare my singleness to my married friends; I compare my childlessness to my friends’ children.
Sometimes, I forget I am even playing the game, because on one level, I think it is okay. I’ve also become quite good at it. But the more I play the game, the more miserable I become. It is just another door to dissatisfaction. What is slightly encouraging is that I am not alone in playing the game.
Why should I stop comparing?
The comparison game never brings glory to God. The root of the comparing issue is the heart. Quite simply, I begin by believing a lie I would be better off, happier, more successful, and more beautiful if I had what another person has. For those of us who aren’t married or even in a relationship, it becomes tricky not to compare relationship statuses. But whatever the comparison is, it is still a sin.
Paul speaks out against this action in 2 Corinthians 10:12; “Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” (ESV)
The challenge is being aware when the temptation arises. There is a choice involved when I am faced with the temptation to play the comparison game. Jesus has brought hope through His resurrection in that there is victory against sin.
Here are some strategies I adopted to help me choose not to compare:
- Remember who God is. The Psalms are a great place to point me back to this truth. For example, in Psalm 8, David writes about his satisfaction and security in God.
- Remember who I am in Christ. My identity lies in Christ, “And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22, ESV)
- Allow the Holy Spirit to change my heart. I cannot change on my own. In Romans 8, I can be reminded of living in the Spirit.
- Adopt a thankful attitude. The entire comparison game comes from looking at what I don’t have. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says to “give thanks in all circumstances.” (ESV)
God has created me to be who I am so that I may be able to mirror Christ. He has given me abilities so that I may be able to glorify Him. The challenge is to accept who I am in Christ. There are many things I might not be, but God equips and empowers me to be who He wants me to be.
What do you do when you’re tempted to compare your circumstances to other people’s?
Katie is an Australian in her mid-twenties seeking to live with purpose Down Under. She is a passionate writer who desires to see her words encourage and bring hope to young women. Katie lives with an American family and 2 cheeky dogs. You can read more on Katie’s blog – Our Seasons of Grace – and you can follow her on Facebook.