The Comparison Trap: How to Stop ComparisonJul 24, 2020
Comparison is something we have all dealt with at some point in our lives, and it doesn’t stop from creeping in once we become a Christian.
But what is the comparison trap and how do you get out of it? How do you stop comparing yourself to others?
In this blog post, we will discuss how to stop comparison, including:
- Examples of comparison in the Bible
- What is a comparison trap
- How to get out of the comparison trap
- How to surrender comparison to God
What happens when you fall for the comparison trap?
In a world of perfect selfies on Instagram, it can be easy to want what others have and to desire what others are doing.
There are so many ways we compare ourselves to others. We compare physical traits, possessions, accomplishments, relationship status, vacations, how much money we earn, performance in the workplace, etc.
Throughout my life, I found myself always comparing myself physically to others.
'She is way skinnier than me. I wish I had hair like that. I wish I could wear a romper like that. I wish I had abs like that!'
When I was single, I also found myself comparing my singleness to other women who were in relationships.
'I wish I had a boyfriend like that to go on cute dates with. I want a man to cuddle up with and watch movies like that. I wish I had a boyfriend to take all those romantic trips with.'
There were times where I would look at happy couples and compare their life to mine.
I would turn to God and ask him, ‘God, where is my man?’ ‘Why don’t I have that’?
It's easy to compare our lives to others in today's world since all our lives are on display on social media.
But comparison isn't a new issue.
Examples of Comparison in the Bible
Comparison has existed from the very beginning in the Bible, and God has already showed us that the comparison trap never ends well as there are many examples of comparison in the Bible.
Cain killed his brother Abel because God was more pleased with Abel’s offering.
Rachel and Leah compared how much their husband loved them and how many babies they had. (Note: You can study the story of Rachel and Leah and comparison in more detail in the book ‘Why Her?’ by Nicki Koziarz)
Joseph's brother compared how much their father loved Joseph, and they decided to sell him as a slave they were so jealous of him.
Saul compared how many enemies he had killed in battle compared to David, which led him into a frenzy of wanting to kill David.
If you are comparing how many followers you have on Instagram to others, read the story of Saul and David in 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel.
Don’t let the number of followers on social media get you worked up like it did for Saul. It doesn’t end well.
What is a comparison trap?
Before we talk about how to stop comparison or how to get out of the comparison trap, we must understand where comparison comes from.
If you want to get out of the comparison trap and stop comparing yourself to others, you need to first understand what caused you to fall into the comparison trap in the first place.
Comparison is a trap from the enemy that the devil loves to tempt us with.
Comparison is a trap because it turns our focus from what God has called us to do and the blessings he’s given us, and turns the focus to what others have and to what others are doing.
Comparison is a trap because when we focus on what others are doing around us, it prevents us from doing what God has called us to do.
You may have heard this popular stop comparing yourself to others quote, ‘comparison is the thief of joy.’
The Bible tells us in John 10:10 that the devil came to steal, kill and destroy.
The devil wants to steal our identity, he wants to steal our joy, and he wants to rob us of understanding who we are and what God created us to do.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” – John 10:10 NIV
The devil wants to kill and destroy our life and happiness on this Earth. He wants to prevent us from living the abundant life that Jesus died on the cross to give us.
And he uses the comparison trap as a tactic to steal our joy and to distract us from what God is calling us to do.
The enemy tries to lie to us by telling us that we aren’t good enough. That we need to be doing what others are doing. That God doesn’t care about us as much as that person. That what we have doesn’t matter or isn’t good enough. That we will never be successful as that person.
THESE ARE ALL LIES!
When thoughts of comparison start creeping in, you must recognize them as lies and an attack from the enemy.
These thoughts are not from God. The enemy is a punk and likes to attack our minds because if we believe his lies, it dictates how we feel and how we behave.
If we believe his lie that we will never be as successful as that woman on Instagram, we will stop believing in what God has called us to do and we will stop moving forward with the dreams God has put in our heart.
But if we recognize comparison for the lie that it is, we can chose to reject it and choose to believe what God has said about us.
That's why reading the Bible is so important. We need to know what God says about us to be able to discern the lies from the enemy.
We can choose to celebrate the women around us who are already successful and we can choose to continue moving forward with the dreams God has put in our heart.
And we can tell the devil that we aren't going to fall into the comparison trap.
How do I get out of the comparison trap?
Like I said above, I still struggled with comparison even when I became a Christian.
When I first started going to my church in San Diego, I even started comparing how Christian I was to other Christians.
Comparing my Christianness?! Crazy, I know!
I compared myself to the other “Super Christians” around me at church. They were so loving, so genuine, so friendly and were doing all these amazing things for God. They were preaching the gospel, inviting strangers to church, healing the sick, launching businesses, all while raising a beautiful family.
I thought to myself, what do I have to offer? I thought I was a good person and loving in general but I didn’t compare to the Super Christians around me who had known God for quite some time.
How could I add value here? I don’t even know my purpose yet! I was still struggling with so many issues!
How could God use me, a girl who had just decided to follow Jesus, to make a difference when all these Super Christians have been in church for years?
5 Ways to Get Out of the Comparison Trap
God Gave Us All Different Gifts For a Reason
God revealed that the first thing I needed to realize to stop comparison was that God has given all his children, including me, unique gifts to use for his glory.
I listened to the song 'Who You Say I Am' by Hillsong Worship, and God reminded me that in his house, there is a place for me.
In his church, there is a place for me and he needs me to be me. He needs me to step out in faith and start serving somewhere to use the gifts he had given me.
Just like the song, the Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 that the church is like a body made up of different parts, where every part plays a role.
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. (1 Corinthians 12:12-14)
“Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body…” (1 Corinthians 12:15-20)
“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27)
Ephesians 4:7-16 also talks about the different gifts that Jesus gave the church.
God gave us all different gifts and talents to be used in his church and in this world for his kingdom.
If we all compared ourselves to what others were doing and did what everyone else did, the church and this world would not function.
Just like 1 Corinthians 12 above says, if the whole body was made up of all one part, where would the body be?
If we are all pastors, who would be making those delicious lattes in the café and making new guests feel welcome?
If we were all on the worship team, who would be playing with and teaching all the kiddos about Jesus in kids church?
If we were all executives working at a big company, who would be at home raising the next generation of leaders and warriors for God’s kingdom?
It’s amazing to see how he’s called people to different spheres of influence like teachers, politics, businesses, etc. to represent Jesus in every industry and all types of businesses. If we all had the same job, we would be limited to where we could have influence in the world for Jesus.
God doesn’t just want his church full of his people. He wants every profession and industry full of his people to represent the love and truth of Jesus. And this is accomplished by everyone doing what God has called them to do - not just doing what they see others around them doing.
We are God’s Masterpiece – Born to Stand Out
God then showed me that I am his masterpiece, a one-of-a-kind creation created to be set apart and to stand out.
The Bible tells us that we are God’s masterpiece, created to do the work God prepared before we were born.
Similar to a work of art that is considered a masterpiece, each one of us are a unique piece of art that God designed and created. There is only one you and God created you for a reason.
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” – Ephesians 2:10 NLT
God also urges us to live life worth of the calling we have received.
“…I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” – Ephesians 4:1 NIV
He created you to be his unique masterpiece because he has a special calling and purpose on this Earth that only you can fulfill.
You must live life worthy of the calling that YOU have received, not the woman next to you. Her calling is different than what God has called you to.
When I surrendered my life to Jesus, he helped me realize that I was unique and that he had a plan just for me. He helped me learn that I was chosen to be a daughter of God and that I was remarkably and wonderfully made.
There is only one me. There is only one me with my own testimony, gifts, personality, age, smile, etc. God will use me to reach people that only I can reach. My life, experience, and testimony will resonate with different people.
There is only one you. God created you to be unique and needs you to be exactly who he created you to be to fulfill the plans he has for you.
Don’t try and blend in with what others are doing. As a daughter of God, you were born to be set apart and to stand out as an ambassador of Jesus.
God calls us all to different callings with different visions. Even in the same field or industry, he gives people different visions.
For example, I know many writers at my church, but God has given each of us different visions to write books that he knows need to be written.
Some of my friends write non-fiction Christian books, while I feel called to write Christian fiction novels, like One Transforming Love.
Stay in your lane girl. Keep fixing your eyes on the vision God has in front of you and keep going.
When you feel like you are getting distracted by what others are doing around you, celebrate and cheer on the girl next to you.
Pray for her. Befriend her. You never know if she could be a resource God wants to use to help you in your very own vision!
God is a God with Unlimited Resources
God then showed me that I didn’t have to worry about the blessings of God running out.
We serve a God with unlimited resources. We don’t have to act like there is a limit on the blessings and opportunities in this world.
If the woman next to you is successful in her job, that means that God can allow you to be successful too if it’s what he called you to do.
If the woman at church has a sexy, Godly man on her arm and you’ve been so single for years, that doesn’t mean that the sexy, Godly men are running out. God is an unlimited God and he has a sexy, Godly man for you too!
God will never run out of blessings or opportunities for his children. Once we start believing that, we can celebrate and cheer on the women next to us instead of tearing them down.
With writing, it’s easy to see others way ahead of me, already super successful and wondering if I’ll ever get there. It’s easy to doubt my abilities or if I am cut out for this when I see the number of followers others have on Instagram or the number of blog posts they have.
But instead of comparing myself or thinking I’ll never amount to that, their success is actually a good thing and proves it can be done.
When we see others doing what we want to do, let it build our faith instead of doubting our abilities. Their success shows that it can be done and if God can do it for them, he can do it for us too.
Instead of comparing, start celebrating those around you and praising God for allowing them to be where they are at today.
Next time you feel comparison and doubt creeping in, actually congratulate or encourage the person that is making you feel less than who God created you to be.
Send her a message acknowledging how much you admire her work or how inspired you are. This helps turn your comparison into celebration and you never know the impact your encouraging words will have on the other person.
Trust God and Surrender Any Comparison
The Bible tells us in Exodus 20:17 that we should not covet our neighbor’s house or anything else or neighbor has. This is actually one of the 10 commandments.
When we compare ourselves to others in an unhealthy way, we are desiring what others have instead of trusting God with what he’s given us.
When we compare ourselves to others to the point of desiring what others have, this is actually a sin. When we compare, we are telling God that we don’t trust the plans he has for us.
When I used to compare my singleness to the happy couples around me and would ask God where my man was, it was like I was saying to God that I didn’t trust him to bring me my Godly husband. That I didn’t trust that God had a reason for my singleness.
I would turn to God and ask him, ‘God, where is my man?’ ‘Why don’t I have that’?
But I realized those were the wrong questions.
As I learned to trust God and my relationship status, he showed me that the right questions to ask him where ‘God, how can I best serve you when I’m single?’ ‘How can I prepare and become the Proverbs 31 wife you created me to be now in this season?’
If you are trusting God with your own love story and for your future husband, learn more about how I surrendered my singleness to God and how I prayed for my future husband in my blog post, God is Still Writing Love Stories.
When we find ourselves in the comparison trap and comparing our lives to others, we need to lay this down at the feet of Jesus.
We need to confess that we’ve been comparing our lives and ask God for forgiveness. We need to pray and ask God for strength to trust him and the plans that he has for us.
When comparison would creep in, I would start saying in my mind, ‘God I trust you. I trust you.’ It would help shift my focus to God and that I can trust him to grant the desires of my heart and answer my prayers.
Prayer and Praise – The #1 Way to Beat Comparison
Spending time in prayer and praise are the biggest ways to get out of the comparison trap and to fight against comparison when it creeps in.
When I find myself comparing my life to others or feeling jealous of what others have, I recognize the thoughts and lies from the enemy, and tell the enemy to leave me alone. I tell him that he is wrong and I remind myself of what God says.
I hand it over to God, tell God I trust you him and then I pray. I pray for the person or people I was comparing myself against. I pray for my future. I pray for the plans God has for me.
When I found myself comparing my singleness to the happy couples around me, I would pray for their relationship. I would pray for God to bless them in their marriage. I would pray for God to use them in miraculous ways for his kingdom.
I would then pray for my future husband and I would thank God for bringing us together in his perfect timing.
I would pray for God to reveal his purpose for me in my single season and to present me with opportunities to serve him right where I was. I would thank God for my single season and all the blessings he’s brought into my life.
When I started praying and praising God, his peace and assurance replaced the comparison and envy.
If you need help praising God, I recommend starting a gratitude journal or a journal where you record all of the God stories in your life. Instead of focusing on what others have that you don’t have, focus on what you do have and all that God has done.
Focus on all the blessings, miracles and ways God has already moved on your behalf. Write down all the God stories and focus on all of the answered prayers and ways that God has showed that he is faithful in your life.
Journal Your Way Out of the Comparison Trap
You can get out of the comparison trap but it takes a daily shift and focus to focus on who God created you to be and what he is calling you to do. It takes daily gratitude to thank God for all that he has already done and all that he has blessed you with.
Instead of scrolling through Instagram, desiring the life that others have, start journaling and give thanks to God for the life he has given you.
If you need a new journal, these are some of my favorites from Amazon. Click on the images below to shop on Amazon.
As you pray and thank God for all that he has done, consider the questions below to guide you as God reveals all the blessings in your life and who he created you to be.
The unique gifts, talents and passions God has given you
- What gifts or talents has God given you? Where do you feel called to use these gifts?
- What unique passions has God given you? What lights you up for God’s kingdom?
- How can you use your spiritual gifts and talents to build your local church?
- What are the things that people always compliment you on? What have you been good at your whole life?
Your life is a masterpiece with a unique calling and purpose
- What traits or characteristics make you who you are today?
- What characteristics of your personality are you most grateful for?
- Where do you feel God calling you to make a difference in this world?
- With all the gifts, talents and passions that God has given you, how can you use these to serve God and to love others?
Celebrate and encourage others around you
- Who can you celebrate and cheer on today?
- Who around you can you encourage to keep pursuing the unique calling God has given her?
- Who do you admire or look up to in your field? How can you speak life or encourage her today?
- Who can you pray for today?
Celebrate all God has already done
- Looking back from where you started, how can you celebrate all God has done for you on a specific journey?
- What answered prayers from the past few years can you thank God for?
- Where did God come through when you needed it the most?
- What miracles has God performed for you?
Put your trust in God
- What areas do you need to surrender to God?
- What areas of your life do you need to trust God more?
- How can you help others trust God in areas that you’ve seen God move?
I pray that God reveals all the gifts, talents and passions that he's specifically picked out for you and I pray he gives you clarity and vision on the specific plans and life he has just for YOU!
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