Alligators brushed against my unprotected legs as I stood quivering in the murky, moonlit bayou water. My three bosses–all Jennifer Aniston clones–required me to catch a gator with my bare hands before I could join them in the boat. Then they tossed my bathroom scale in the water. “We need to know your weight before you start,” one smirked. Even though I knew the alligators would attack, I refused to climb on the scale in front of the slender, gorgeous management team.
A crazy dream, but upon waking, the truth became clear. A weigh-in terrified me more than a lethal predator attack. Click To Tweet
I’m not a Hollywood actress or Victoria’s Secret model, yet when I see their images I compare myself to them. “That woman doesn’t have a muffin-top. Or cellulite. It’s so unfair. Everyone would notice my belly bulge if I didn’t wiggle into a pair of Spanx.”
A fashionista with a dazzling smile and bouncy curls, my sister, Marianne, even tempts me to compare. I have no reason to, as her inward beauty surpasses the external. She’s a prayer powerhouse who loves and trusts the Lord. She helps others without reservation, and brings joy to those around her. I look at her and see myself, in comparison, as a frumpy slug with my second-hand clothes and dull personality. Shockingly, this bright and bubbly paragon of perfection compares herself to me. “Jeanie, you’re more organized, better at assessing situations, and you have thinner thighs.”
Recently we spent two weeks at her home in Arizona. We dubbed it, “Jesus Sister Fat Camp: A Program to Eliminate Physical and Spiritual Blubber.” Healthy eating and exercise fortified our bodies. But more important, we “exercised” our spirits. Every day included hours of uninterrupted time with the Lord, worshipping Him, reading the Bible, seeking the Lord’s will for our lives, and interceding for others. Those two weeks felt like “Spiritual Spanx:” not constrictive, but as if the Lord held us closer to Himself.
Marianne and I didn’t say, “I wrote down the most scriptures” or “So? I dropped more pounds than you.” Instead of comparing ourselves to each other–or anyone else–we focused on the Lord and His love for us.
It’s easy to fall into the habit of comparing our lives against those around us. Perhaps we see stylish women and think, “They’re so pulled together. Next to them I feel dowdy.” We see co-workers and wonder, “How do they manage this job so well when I struggle to meet my deadlines?” We might view our families and say, “We’re a hot mess next to other folks.”
Maybe we view other couples and think, “They seem so in love. Where’s the passion in my marriage?”
At times, I’ve struggled with each of those thoughts, and believed myself deficient compared to other women. What compels us to compare ourselves to those around us?
The Bible reveals in Psalm 139:14, NIV that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” And Galatians 6:4, NIV, says, “. . . they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else…”
Do you, like me, play the comparison game and come up feeling inadequate? Click To Tweet What’s your greatest area of struggle?
If change is truly needed, we can take steps to improve our situations. But the truth is, God loves us unconditionally, right now, just as we are. He’s not comparing us to anyone else. And since He’s not, we don’t need to either. We can rest secure in His incomparable love.
So how do we see ourselves through God’s lens?
- Identify the situations where we compare ourselves unfavorably with others.
- Ask God, “Help me to see myself as you see me.”
- Write down scriptures that convey God’s view of who you are. Speak them over yourself daily.
When we replace lies with God’s truth, we’ll see we’re incomparable in His view.
Jeanie Jacobson’s writing shares hope, humor, and Godly encouragement. In addition to her book, Fast Fixes for the Christian Pack-Rat, she’s currently published in many of the best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul releases, Focus on the Family, The Upper Room, Inspiration.org, Live, Standard, and various compilations.
Connect with Jeanie on her website, JeanieJacobson.com or at Facebook.com/JeanieJacobsonWriter.