Just recently, I read the following quote from my brother’s blog:
"Never compare yourself to someone else.You'll always find someone who is better than you, which leaves you discouraged. You'll always find someone who is not as good as you, which leaves you prideful.Either way, you're dead in the water."
It is an idea that I consider often, but one I’ve never been able to articulate as succinctly or as clear as Rick Warren. For several years I’ve embraced the notion that comparing myself to others is a waste of energy and focus, particularly when there will ALWAYS be someone who is smarter, prettier, funnier, richer and more successful than the girl peering in the mirror. (And yes, more JOYFUL....)
This thought protects me from the insecurities that are frequently a result of paralyzing comparisons, a mindset that has only developed through undesired discipline and life experiences God has placed before me. Choices made and paths followed that were typically influenced by the standards of the world always left me empty, unfulfilled and usually in a heap of trouble.
Efforts expended in achieving specific results either found me disheartened when I couldn’t measure up to others, or with an unrecognized arrogance and self-reliance that would never measure up before Christ.
This type of comparison, as so simply stated in the quote above, either leaves one discouraged or prideful. There are no other outcomes:
You get a lip injection and an eyebrow lift. Your lips are now pouty which others admire when you sip your drink with a straw, and you begin to think that Angelina might be your kin. Your lift makes your face appear refreshed, not to mention perpetually surprised, and your confidence is boosted by the approving glances of others. Your looks are often flattered, but so is your pride.
Accept that you are made in God's image, embracing the security and confidence you can have in Him.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14)
You work longer hours for that extra money to provide the lifestyle and status you deserve. You’re chairman of the board and others look to you as an example of success. You are closer to achieving new levels of wealth , but just as close to achieving new levels of pride.
Re-direct any achievements experienced as testimony to His faithfulness
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” (Colossians 3:23)
You sign up for every volunteer organization, say yes to every committee at church, and throw all the parties at your child’s school. Your time and attention for your family is stretched, but you achieve the status of volunteer of the year and the admiration of your peers. You are energized by the fuel for the “cause” while unknowingly fueling your pride as well.
Offer up your time and service as an extension of His love.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” ( Galations 1:10)
You run your household like a well oiled machine. Your children look like they stepped out of an LL Bean catalog and they can recite the Periodic Table of Elements. Everyone admires your schedule, your organization skills , your adherence to the clock. You’ve got it all together, including your pride.
Re-route the success of your family and children to further His Kingdom.
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." (1 Timothy 4:12)
You’re the center of attention at every party. Everyone wants to offer you an invitation because you are a fabulous, social hit. You fit in, you are well-liked, everyone is lucky to be around you. Meet your new friend, Mr. Pride.
Use your wit, and your personality, and love of crowds and people to bring all honor and glory to Him.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. “ (Colossians 3:17)
Don’t compare yourself to someone else. It’s a self-indulgent exercise that will only make you like yourself more or like yourself less. Either way, the end result can't bring about any good.
A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you're looking down, you can't see something that's above you.
C. S. Lewis