What We Really Do When We Compare

masterpieces

The shouts echo from the family room and as much as I try to avoid them, I know I’ll have to referee. I can’t see what’s taking place, but I know. My rising blood pressure is a sure sign.

As I stand in the doorway, my suspicions are confirmed. There are hundreds of toys strewn across the house, but my three-year-old wants the one his big brother is playing with.

It doesn’t matter that the airplane is missing a wheel and a fin. The reason he wants it is quite simple. His brother has it.

As I kneel down before his tiny frame and try to reason with him, mustering as much calm as I can, I can see how I’m going to have to divert his attention elsewhere. But to divert a determined, strong-willed child’s focus this is no easy task.

Every mom goes through it: the stage of “mine.” Everything has the “mine” title and there is no discernment about it. If the child sees it, it is his.

And am I so different? Sure, I do a better job of controlling my fits of anger and masking symptoms, but the jealousy and coveting still threaten overtake me when I don’t guard my heart and mind.

Often, my gauge for how well I’m doing is comparison to others in a similar role. I look at what they have. I take mental notes on the goals they’ve achieved.

When I think they’re moving forward at a quicker pace than I am or are more in the spotlight than me, the flesh often takes over. What about me, God? Haven’t I been faithful? Didn’t I do what you asked me to do?

It isn’t that I don’t want them to be blessed or see their dreams realized. I know how hard they’ve worked. I’ve witnessed the sweat and the tears firsthand.

No, it’s how my mind distorts their progress. I see their success as somehow taking away from my movement forward. I take my eyes off my ultimate goal, Christ, and instead begin running down a rabbit trail of discouragement and self-defeat.

The truth is, when I compare I am resurrecting my old, dead self. I am saying my new identity in Him isn’t enough. That I would rather be a clone of someone else.

But friends, God doesn’t create clones. He creates unique masterpieces.

Paul knew the temptation to resurrect that old self. But he also knew the power of the One who was working in Him. He would not achieve full transformation in this life, but he kept pressing ahead, not looking at what was behind or in the other lane.

I want to know Christ-yes to know the power of the resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…Not that I have already attained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of me.

Philippians 3:10-12 NIV

To take hold of that for which Christ took hold of me. Friends, there is nothing more than this. It is perfect love, unblemished by the world. It is everything.

Today, if you’re tempted to divert from the path God has called you to and chase after someone else’s dream, look up to your Author. Look up to your Finisher.

Confess with your mouth what you’re feeling. He already knows.

Praise Him for the work He will finish in you. He’s not done yet.

And then wrap yourself in the grace of knowing that even when we lose our focus, He’s right there to pick us back up.

 

*Photo credit

*Linking up with Kelly BalarieJennifer Dukes Lee, and Holley Gerth. Come join us and be inspired.

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19 thoughts on “What We Really Do When We Compare

  1. Amen, Abby! “God doesn’t create clones. He creates unique masterpieces.” That’s such a good reminder when we are tempted to want someone else’s story. The enemy tries to convince me that I’m lacking or getting left behind. But when I listen to God – His plan is perfect for me. Thanks for these beautiful, encouraging words. Your place is always a blessing~

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    • Amen, Karen. I was just talking about this the other day with some friends. The enemy tries to pit us against each other when we should be encouraging each other and building each other up! I’m so thankful for our beautiful sisters in Christ who point us toward the truth. Blessings to you, friend.

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  2. Hi Abby! I am currently writing a book on this topic and would love to use a quote from your post:) (Giving you full credit, of course!) I’ll send you an email with the details if that’s OK. Blessings, friend!

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  3. Beautiful words today, Abby. I’ve been so encouraged lately by the “writer” posts you’ve been writing lately. (At least I interpret this post through my “writer lense on life.” 🙂 ) So important that we remember each one of us as a different call and a different road. It’s so easy to compare ourselves to others, and we end up handicapping ourselves!

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    • Yes, I was definitely thinking of writing when I wrote this but the topic comes up in so many areas. I’m so glad to hear you’ve been encouraged! Yes, we handicap ourselves and we’re unable to do the work God has before us. Thanks for your words, friend. You are a blessing to me. xoxo

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  4. Such great encouragement here, Abby – on a topic that I think we all struggle with. It can be hard to not feel “passed over” but when I stop and realize that God is writing a unique story over my life – that it’s purpose is hand picked for me – it makes me excited to see what He has in store for me – just for me. Thanks for the reminder to keep our eyes fixed on Him and not give comparison the chance to steal our unique joy.

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  5. Hi Abby,
    I was watching the movie “Chariots of Fire” the other night and the coach was pointing out how some of the world’s greatest runners lost races because they were too tempted to look beside them to see where their competition was…those split second glances lost them the race. How true for us, that if we keep our eyes ahead, focused on the goal and our own particular race…we win. Once again, you’ve beautifully reminded us of our own special uniqueness and why not to compare…beautiful!
    Love,
    Bev

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  6. Oh Abby what an amazing blessing you are! Thank you for your words. I actually had to write this one down on an index card “The truth is, when I compare I am resurrecting my old, dead self. I am saying my new identity in Him isn’t enough.” I needed that truth! Many amens here!

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    • Kelly, it is so wonderful to see you face here. I’m glad this post encouraged you. It’s a topic that’s been heavy on my heart lately. Love and hugs to you, friend!

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  7. What a great, much needed encouragement here, Abby! I have been thinking about this topic and about us all being His body — we are all needed in our own place in the body, to do what is for us to do but also to support others and their work. You are so right. The Lord is doing a beautiful work in us and through us, and even more so when we pray about what He wants to do in our lives and surrender ourselves to His will. What an amazing love it is, that the Lord wants to do such beautiful, glorious things in and through us!

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    • Ronja, this topic has been heavy on my heart too. We are all as unique in our purpose as we are as individuals so why do we beat ourselves up? Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts here. You bless me!

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  8. Sharing this, Abby. Thanks for these wonderful points, they ring so true. Praise the Lord for patience and perfect parenting of our “mine” moments! #TellHisStory

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  9. Thank you, Abby, for this reminder! So good to remember that nothing good comes from comparing with others but focusing on what God has for us individually! Thanks! Stopping by from #TellHisStory

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