Comparison! Why do we constantly compare ourselves to others? There are many reasons, but I only want to focus on one, and it’s a dangerous one. I’m talking about a lack of purpose. It’s true! When we lack purpose, it is easy to be distracted by the progress, achievement, and success of others. Focusing on others is dangerous because it lures us into pursuits never intended for us. It can never be said enough that God has created us uniquely and distinctly for His own purpose –a specific purpose. He has blessed us with unique gifts and specific knowledge and wisdom to serve as He has predestined. Engaging in comparison causes us to overlook this fact.
When we compare ourselves to others, we may start to question whether we are good enough and this leads us on a dangerous path; one where we cycle in a debate of our value, influence, and success. At the end of life, everyone just wants to contribute meaningfully, feel valued, and have a sense of lasting achievement. Experiencing this kind of life depends on how you define success or achievement, whether or not you have purpose, and whose opinion about your success matters most.
Many of us define success by material possessions, awards received, or by whether or not we can keep up with the Joneses. The true definition of success is found in obedience to God. In the 30th chapter of Deuteronomy, God declares that if we obey Him, He will make us prosper abundantly in all the work of our hands. So, success in life should not be defined by outside influences; it should be defined inside through an obedient relationship with God.
True success can’t be defined by material things; however, it is the thing we most often use to gauge success. Having the latest and finest car, the biggest house, designer fashions, and handbags don’t say that one is successful. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with having nice things, but if we compare ourselves to others then judge ourselves inferior because we don’t possess these things, we might need to reassess the value we place on these material items. A few questions to ask are how will having this (fill in the blank) change who I am; how will it add meaning to my life; or, will it satisfy my true desire to feel valued and experience a sense of lasting achievement?
One thing is for certain, God is not pleased that we diminish our life, value, and importance to the level of material possessions. He certainly did not send His son to die on the cross for some worthless object. God created us for a specific purpose and not knowing that purpose is what leaves us in a place of comparison and looking and sampling the purpose of others. When you see cars driving on the highway, each car has its own lane but they are all going the same way. And, so it is with each of us. We all have our unique gifts and abilities –our vehicles if you will. Were all going the same way; the way of bringing glory to God through our set purpose, using our unique gifts. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “stay in your own lane”. Well, don’t cause a disaster in your life by looking in the next lane too long or trying to drive in a lane that is already occupied.
It is important to understand that comparison is detrimental to a fulfilled life. It lures you into a perpetual state of outdoing, outshining, and outlasting. Pushed by the world’s view of success, you never stop to enjoy or appreciate your accomplishments, where you are, or what you have. You accomplish goals, turn to look at the Joneses, then strive and race to match or exceed the next milestone. The truth is, a root of insecurity and self-doubt is also revealed in serial achievers. You push to achieve more and more because you never feel good enough or worthy enough. Understanding that God created you specifically and gifted you uniquely for a specific purpose is so important to ending a cycle of comparison. This is not to say you won’t ever compare yourself to others; however, a healthy understanding of who you are, what you possess, and how God uses you to influence the world around you goes a long way in quieting the voice of comparison.
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Highlights from Today’s Episode:
- A lack of purpose leads to comparison
- Success should be defined through God’s eyes, not man’s
- Understanding who you are, what you possess, and how God uses you to influence the world around you goes a long way in quieting the voice of comparison
- Sometimes insecurity or low self-esteem is revealed in serial achievers
- God’s plan is better than the Joneses
- Exodus 31:1-11
- Ephesians 2:8-10
- Deuteronomy 30:9