I have come to realize recently that I do in fact struggle with something that for so much of my life I thought did not affect me. I knew many other people dealt with it, but I always assumed I wasn’t one of them.
Growing up in and around the Church, people often talked about fighting against the temptations of comparing yourself to others. Because we are saved by grace through Christ, comparing ourselves to others can be detrimental and unhelpful. Thinking that we have it “more together” or are “more faithful” or don’t struggle with “that” can lead us to falsely think that although we are not perfect, we are not has bad as “that person.”
However, we all need God’s grace. Paul tells us in Romans 3 that no one left to themselves is righteous, and Jesus tells us in Mark 17:18 that no one is good but God alone. It is Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection that makes us “good” before God for those that trust in Him. This is why comparing ourselves to others is warned against.
And I thought I never had an issue with that. Until recently.
I thought I always knew people had different struggles and weaknesses, and I knew me comparing myself to them in those areas and thinking I am somehow better was because I was aware I have different shortcomings of my own.
But what I am learning is that just because I don’t struggle with comparison in that way, doesn’t mean I’m not afflicted by comparison.
I do compare myself to others, and I do so in the negative sense. Due to many happenings over the last 6 months, I have slowly come to see how much comparison effects me. When I see the strong faithfulness to Christ of others, I feel as though I am failing because I should be as faithful as them. When people outperform me at work, or are more generous, or are more selfless, I think of all the ways I should be doing so much better in these areas.
For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.
We each have our own skills and gifting, and are called to be faithful to God in what he has given us and where he has placed us. When I am constantly comparing myself to how I feel I am lesser than others, I am losing sight of being faithful to God where He currently has me. It is not for me to compare myself to others when Christ has placed me where I am and has called me to be faithful where I am. My journey is meant to be different from other’s, just as other’s are different than mine.
One of the most freeing feelings is not having the weight of trying to compare myself to everyone else’s strengths. Being encouraged and motivated by others is a good thing, but comparing myself to them can lead to trouble. The Lord has given each of us our own load to bear which requires the skills and talents God has uniquely given us to use.