Regardless of all that, I do feel like we need to talk about it. I see it happening everywhere. I hear us gals talk about it a lot. Even more telling, whenever we hit Lesson 5 of the Everything You Need Bible study in a study group, we always hit a serious nerve. Because of that I think we need to talk about it. We need to challenge each other even. So, let's do.
There are all kinds of problems with comparing ourselves to each other. It goes both ways. It's damaging whether you are comparing yourself to someone and finding yourself lacking, or if you are comparing and finding them falling short. It can hurt you and the one you are comparing yourself to.
It can be a terrible use of resources. Goodness. How logical is it for us to spend our precious, limited resources that God can be using to grow us into the "apples" that he wants us to be on trying to be something else? Not much. Consider how many resources we use when we are comparing ourselves. We use our mental and emotional energies, at best. If we take it a bit farther, we may even use time and finances (or other things, there are lots of possibilities) trying to be something we aren't. We may take on tasks that aren't ours to take on, or we may just wish we were. Either way, we are using up resources that aren't meant for that.
It can distract you from your good work. If you are too worried about what you are not, or what they are doing then you don't have the eyes for your own work. Stop looking at that other tree over there in the orchard. You are an apple. You are your own kind of apple. Don't worry about that they are being. Just be what God has made you. Just work on being what God needs you to be.
It can be discouraging to them, even if you are the one you find lacking. Have you considered this? I forget this truth at times. But, when we compare ourselves and it causes us to feel discouraged or lacking, we can be taking joy and blessing away from the one we are comparing ourselves to. I can tell you from experience, when a sister feels discouraged by your strengths, it takes the joy away from the good work you are doing. If you are doing what God created you for, and someone even jokingly (or not) says that they feel less or lacking because of that strength, a woman who loves her sisters will surely feel less like exercising those gifts.
It can affect relationship. This one is really the most damaging, and most hurtful of the implications for comparisons: when our comparisons somehow prevent us from being as close to someone as we can. Again, whether we are the one lacking or they are we can potentially keep ourselves from the blessing of relationship when we allow this ugliness to take hold in our hearts. I have seen it happen, I confess to letting it happen. But we can't. That would fit right into Satan's plan wouldn't it?
All these are true, but on the other hand when women of God have a heart that celebrates each others strengths rather than let Satan use them against us, what a blessing we can be to each other! How precious when a sister in Christ can humbly encourage other because she is so thankful for her gifts. How blessed is a gal who is encouraged to be everything she can be, rather than discouraged by those who give into this temptation?
This is a struggle that we come by easily. Satan uses it powerfully among us gals. We have to disallow it though, gals. We can't let these seeds permeate our hearts, minds and spirits. We must resist these lies that set themselves against God's truth in our lives.
So, let me share this challenge today.
"We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NLT)
"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Corinthians 10: 5 (NIV)
Yes, let's do. Here are some tricks I have used to help me, maybe they will you too.
Deny yourself looking at things that create that feeling. Is it someone's Facebook posts? Is it being on Pinterest a source of stress for you, rather than a blessing? Is it looking at magazines, reading books, or reading blog posts? Aside from separating yourself from that person (which would be allowing that thing to hurt your relationship) ...stop it! Identify what puts you in that weakened state, and stop it. Hide Facebook posts (or maybe, just stay away from it for a bit!), take a break from blogs or Pinterest. It is not always that easy, but if it sis something you can separate yourself from, do it.
Change your perspective. Ask God to show give you a heart of celebration for those people and their strengths instead. Rather than allowing Satan to give you sense of weakness when you recognize another's strength, ask God to give you an vision for recognizing another's gifts. If you are really up for the task, tell them you recognize that gift in them. It will help. I promise!
We are too perfectly made to be the apples God wants us to compare ourselves. Let's strive not to.
Fighting to take these thoughts captive,