5 Ways to Conquer Comparison in Your Calling
I didn’t start playing the comparison game regularly until after college. I remember eagerly moving to North Carolina with all these dreams and expectations. Expectations of finding a new, successful job, financial stability, and maybe even a shiny, new engagement ring. I thought that after graduation was when I would truly flourish but little did I know that reality would hit me harder than my expectations.
Months after moving to North Carolina I still had no job, no furniture, no friends and was quickly running out of hope. So like most “wise” people do when they find themselves discouraged, they turn to social media.
Social media was my source -- my source of inspiration and motivation disguised as discontentment. Although I loved to look at beautiful images on Instagram, more often than not, those images would serve as reminders -- reminders of everything I’m not and everything I’m not doing.
Every time I logged on, it seemed like the social squares taunted me. “Look at what she’s doing. You’re not doing that. You don’t have what she has. Your relationship isn’t as happy and spiritually rooted like hers." What once was inspiring and motivating became discouraging and defeating. Can you relate?
Comparison defeated me because it made me ungrateful /and inactive. I was so busy comparing my life to those around me that I was blinded from seeing the blessings that were already around me, and that blindness led to ungratefulness, and ungratefulness led to inadequacy, and inadequacy led to inactivity.
Because I was so caught up in how God was using other people in their purpose, I couldn’t hear what He was saying about mine. Why? Because comparison is noisy. It distracts our thinking, clouds our judgment, and hardens our hearing to the point where we can’t receive or hear what God is telling us to do.
It wasn’t until I replaced my source of discontentment with the Truth that I was able to detect comparison for the thief it really is. The Lord lovingly showed me just how destructive comparison can be, and He showed me how to shut it out when it comes creeping in. Here are 5 ways you can conquer comparison in your calling.
1) Measure yourself against God’s standards.
In 2 Corinthians 10:12-13, Paul insists how unwise it is to compare ourselves to others, using people as the standard of measurement. Are we really going to let imperfect, flawed human beings determine how we feel about our lives and our God-given purpose? No person should be worthy of that high regard. But you know who is? Jesus Christ. He has proven and is proving time and time again that He’s the only worthy standard that we should compare ourselves to. So the next time you find yourself about to engage in the comparison game, flip the script and ask yourself, “How does my life compare to what God wants? How does my life compare to Jesus’?
2) Pay attention to your own work.
Remember when you were a child working on an art project in school? You would focus all of your attention on crafting the perfect masterpiece. You weren’t thinking about the artwork of the other child next to you. You weren’t thinking about becoming the next Picasso. You were just focused on creating your best work. That’s why I love Galatians 6:4 because it reminds us of what happens when we pay attention to our own work. “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare your work to anyone else.”
It’s nearly impossible to be proud of your own work when you’re always focused on someone else’s. Instead of worrying about what someone else has going on, focus on the work God has set before you. Study at His feet. Uncover your purpose. Follow his direction. Invest in your skills. Do the work He’s given you to do. Don’t look around at what everyone else is working on. Pay attention to your work and keep your eyes on your own paper.
3) Do the work set before you.
Now that you are focused on what God is calling you to do, you can do the work set before you. Paul also says in 2 Corinthians 10:13 that it’s not good to worry yourself with work that’s outside of your area of influence or expertise. Instead of worrying about other people’s work, worry about the work that God has particularly given you. He created us with our work in mind and has already prepared us to do it. All we have to do is just do the work.
4) Trust in God’s promise for your life.
At the heart of comparison and discontentment is lack and unbelief. We let comparison steal our joy because we believe that we are missing out on God’s best. But that’s not the truth. The truth is that God doesn’t withhold any good thing from us (Psalm 84:11). He gives us all good things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17), and He’s working out everything for our good (Romans 8:28). Therefore, we can trust that He will fulfill our heart’s desires and His promises to us.
5) Celebrate and support others.
The best antidote to comparison is celebration. Instead of falling prey to comparison and bitterness, truly celebrate and support those around you. What God is doing in their life doesn't take away from what He’s doing in yours. Cheer them on. Support them and if you admire where they are, learn from them. We’re all sisters in Christ; we're all one body and each part plays a vital role. Instead of envying their role, embrace yours and do it well. Then you’ll be able to support them and cheer them on as they excel in theirs.
Don’t let comparison rob you from everything that God is doing in your life. Don’t discount your blessings. Live on purpose. When you know what God is calling you to do, you can rest assured that you have everything you need. You can trust that He’s supplying all your needs and giving you your desires as you seek Him and do the work that He has purposed you to do.