Comparison Leads To Insecurities
by Jenny Black, Marketing Director Set Me Free Ministries
James 3:16, “For where envy and self seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.”
Boy, does this describe where I was for most of my life—always making comparisons. What, might you ask, was I comparing? My comparisons of choice were about my body.
I had been comparing myself to others for so many years that I could not even really tell you when it all began. I can tell you, however, that it affected my thought life. It also affected how I felt about myself. My insecurities increased so much that I would often miss out on things because I was standing on the sidelines watching everyone else “do life.” But because I was so insecure about how my body looked, I just wouldn’t participate.
You see, for some reason, I was always waiting until I felt thin enough to participate in life. In my very irrational way of thinking, I was not worthy enough to join in if I wasn’t the right size. Sad, I know, but true.
Where did this thinking come from? I believe it came from many different avenues: TV, family, and certainly Satan. I lived in a world where I received an abundance of compliments if I had lost a visible amount of weight. On the other hand, if I put on a few pounds for whatever reason, I heard nothing about how great I looked. The funny thing is that I wanted to receive those coveted compliments. I wanted to feel as if I was “on the right track.”
Yet, as I have gotten older, I have come to realize that my view of myself hinged on what others said or didn’t say about me. I was always seeking that next big compliment, as if it were my drug of choice. The compliments would make me feel better for a very short while, but then I would look in the mirror and see my much-hated wide hips and thick thighs. I would begin to lament that if I could only drop a few pounds, life would be great. No, it would be perfect!
It was only after much prayer and actively seeking freedom from this thought life that I began to realize how sinful and self-centered my way of thinking was. I was bound to life as a slave to my mind. I was definitely not living the abundant life that I was supposed to have as a Christian woman. After all, I was put on this earth to do more than think about myself and how I looked. I am here to worship the Lord, to commune with Him, and to build His Kingdom. I can assure you that His focus is not my thick thighs and wide hips. He desires my heart and my attention to the things that He cares about.
Today I am free from the need to compare myself to others. The freedom that He gives me is worth more than anything. I went from being a very self-absorbed woman who stood on the sidelines of life afraid to speak her mind to a woman who wants to venture out a little from the norm of everyday life. I find joy in my life. I no longer care that I don’t have what the world calls the perfect body shape. Does that even truly exist? I mean, if I were back in Mona Lisa’s time, I would be perfect in every way. (Boy, how time changes everything.)
Why might I have felt a need to write about this very personal battle? Because we all have people and things that we compare ourselves to without even realizing it. For some of you it might not be a body issue; instead, it might be being single, having a less-than-full bank account, not owning a home, driving a less-than-perfect car, or remaining childless. Whatever it is, I want you to stop the comparisons and start thanking God for what you do have. Start living in contentment and thankfulness. Stop living the way the world says we should live and start living the way God designed you to live.
As you do this, you will find that even though your circumstances have not changed, your attitude has. With this change, comes peace, contentment, and freedom. You will gain an adventurous spirit and begin to try new things. You will begin seeking out what you like, not what someone else says you should like. You will also begin to feel complete without all those things because you have learned to be complete in Christ. He knows exactly how to fill every need and desire beyond your wildest dreams. After all, He knows you better than you know yourself. He knows what brings you pleasure, and He wants to bless you even more than you want that for yourself.
I have found that for the first time I am not confused about who I am, because I have stopped the comparisons. It is no longer about the compliments or becoming the size the world says I should be. For me, it is about being healthy, being vibrant, and wanting people to see Christ in me because I wear His joy all over me.
I will tell you that it is a daily choice to walk in this freedom. I still live in a world that bombards me with its view of perfect, and Satan would like nothing more than to defeat my newfound freedom. This is why I have to be in His Word daily. I have to take captive every thought—no matter how little that thought is—because it is very easy to go back to old habits and thought patterns.
Challenge yourself today to see how often you compare yourself to someone else. Then throw that thought out and think of something good that will produce and reap a harvest of contentment and joyfulness and peace. You will be so happy you did!