“…When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding” (2 Cor. 10:12b, NET).
I’ll be the first to admit it. Comparing myself to others is one of the easiest traps to fall into! Holy Spirit has taken great pains to break me of this habit. He has made some wonderful progress in this area, and yet I occasionally still find myself with those fleeting thoughts. “She’s so skinny! I’d really like to be that size…” “He has that many blog followers?? But he’s been writing for less time than I have!”
And Holy Spirit moves in to convict me once again. He uses the verse up at the beginning of this post, which is a favorite of His. (He really likes to quote Himself 😁!) He gently reminds me, “Those who compare themselves with themselves are without understanding.”
I lean in to listen. What is it that we are not understanding, Holy Spirit? What is the specific truth that we are missing?
He responds, You are missing the depths of revelation of how much I delight in your design. Every single detail that goes into who you are… I thought each one of them up. You were My idea. Exactly, precisely as you are. My ideas are not just good ideas. They are breathtaking ideas. The way you think, the way you move, the way you feel, the way you laugh, the way you tick, the way you process life… all of it brings Me enormous pleasure as I watch you throughout every day. I long for you to enjoy being who you are.
Yes, I am most definitely still in process. We all are! He is teaching us day by day, breathing His truth into our inmost parts. The more we come to fathom how much He likes us, the more free we will become from the impulse to compare ourselves to others.
Holy Spirit then continues His discourse. He points out another faulty line of thinking that leads us to comparisons. It’s a subtle one. He calls it “The Shortage Mentality.” This mindset assumes that there is only a certain amount of success or happiness to go around in the world. The more access someone else gets to these commodities, the less is left over for me. It’s like a pie with only a set number of slices available. When I see others hauling away pieces of what looks so sweet, I become anxious that I’m not going to get any.
Tenderly, patiently, Holy Spirit moves in again to convict you and me. Precious child, I own the pie factory! There is an endless, immeasurable supply of pies where that one came from. I have written deep satisfaction and joy into My plans for your life too. Remember that I am infinite. There is never any shortage with Me. Rejoice when your sister or brother receives a blessing… your turn is coming!
Holy Spirit now adds earnestly, There is one more essential truth for you to keep in mind as you wage your warfare against the comparison spirit. It’s this: God does not measure success numerically. When it comes to His value system, it’s not about your grades. It’s not about your bank account. It’s not about your sales. It’s not about how much your house or your car cost. It’s not about how many friends on Facebook or followers on Instagram that you have acquired.
It’s not even about how many people you’ve led to the Lord, how many Sunday School classes you’ve taught, how many hours you’ve prayed, or how many dollars you’ve given in the offering. There’s only one thing He uses to measure success. It’s obedience.
If God has spoken to your heart, and you have obeyed, then you are an overwhelmingly brilliant success in His book. Furthermore, His book is the only one that matters. (Please keep in mind, I am not talking about perfection or sinlessness, but rather about cultivating a heart that longs to walk in His ways).
Holy Spirit draws to His conclusion. Don’t ever believe that renown is a measurement of value either. God almost always likes to keep His most costly treasures hidden. No more and no less than that gifted, well-known minister that you so admire, you are surpassingly precious to Him. There is no one else like you, in the entire earth. Live your life for the Audience of One. Live in the liberty of His lavish, unceasing, cherishing attention! Leave all comparisons aside, dear one, and BE FREE!!
“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well” (Ps. 139:14, NKJV, bold emphasis mine).
What are some ways that God helps you to stay free from the comparison trap? I’d love to hear your wisdom in the comments!