A friend provided a powerful observation. He said, “I realized I was not (Insert the name of a famous leader).” On the surface, a comment like that can sound disappointing. If you heard him say it, you could sense his freedom. That comment relieves unrealistic expectations.
Comparison defeats us before we start. It causes us to procrastinate because we never add up to others. It can cause us to wallow in our self-critique. Consider these statements we say to ourselves:
I’ll never change the world like that person.
That mom has it all together, and I can barely keep up with my kids.
Their marriage is so in sync while my spouse and I nitpick.
They influence way more people than I ever could.
It comes so easy to them.
I’ll never be as talented or skilled as that person.
Worst of all, comparison blinds us to the grace of Christ. God created you with gifts. The Greek word for gifts in the New Testament is charismata (I Peter 4:7), literally meaning “grace-gift.” Why does that matter? Every ability, talent, and resource we have results from Christ’s work in us.
The Gospel frees us from the lies of comparison. Our worth shifts with our evaluation with others. When we recognize Christ’s grace, we can begin to realize His unconditional love for us and others. No longer do we have to feel the trap of adding up. We can accept who Christ has made us to be. This acceptance allows see the opportunities in front of us to serve and love others.
How do we being to move past comparison? I think it starts with the statement my friend made. Fill in this blank:
I realize I am not (Insert Person’s Name You Compare Yourself).
That awareness brings us to ask God, “What have You called me to do?” We can then begin to identify how Christ has gifted us. In using those gifts, others around us can experience God’s grace. What would change in our lives if we accepted the gifts God has given us and the place He has called us? I think we would recognize His presence and the opportunities He has put in front of us.
A freedom from comparison leads us to collaborate rather than isolate. We no longer have to look others as competitors. Rather we can recognize God’s gifting in them. In understanding how God has created us, we can even ask them for assistance in our weak areas. A community marked by grace empowers others.
What would change in your life if you didn’t compare yourself with others? How has God gifted you? What opportunities has He given you today to experience His grace?
Photo credit by Matthew Weibe.