The Trouble with Comparisons

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” -Psalm 139:13-14

The Psalmist declared himself to be “fearfully and wonderfully” made. He had sound reasoning for this statement; God’s works are wonderful! He knew this; he understood that those things formed by God are beautiful and precious in His sight. The Bible tells us that He does all things well (Mark 7:37).

Personally, I have struggled to believe this statement. I believe the Bible and so I cannot completely discount it, but in my own life I have spent far too much energy doubting my own self-worth. Most Christians are well aware of the dangers of pride and have no trouble understanding verses that tell us not to think too highly of ourselves (Romans 12:3) or not to boast (James 4:16), but we fail to recognize that a lack of self-worth is not the same thing as being humble. We need to understand that without Him, we are nothing, but through Him we have no reason to be insecure, He has provided everything we need! There are things inside all of us that we need God to surgically remove. If we don’t allow Him to get in there with His scalpel and scrape those ugly parts out, we risk them growing and multiplying like cancer cells. If left to fester, these impurities will eventually infect the whole heart.

For me, one of these diseased cells comes in the form of comparison. I have this ugly habit of comparing myself to those around me and I rarely come out favorably in these comparisons. I look at those around me and think this one is prettier than me, that one is richer than me, she is thinner than me, he has more education, she has a beautiful family, etc.  I see myself as inferior in these things. I overlook the fact that I have the most precious thing of all, a relationship with the Almighty; the hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ! I have something that so many so desperately need. God help me not to be so consumed with comparing their outsides to my own insides! When I focus on comparison I miss opportunities to share His great love because my own insecurities get in the way.

A few years ago I was invited to an old friend’s baby shower. Present at the shower were several women that I had not seen since my early teens. One of them was a young woman named Katie. As soon as I saw her, I felt my jealousy rising up. She was stunning. She sat across from me most of the night and each time I caught her eye, I couldn’t help but think about how beautiful she was. I was consumed with thoughts of how fat and unattractive I am in comparison. I wanted to speak to her, but I just felt so ugly. Looking back it seems ridiculous. At the time though, I felt unworthy to talk to someone as beautiful as she was. Her beauty intimidated me. I was sure she must be judging me for all the weight I had gained since the last time I saw her. I couldn’t look her in the eye and have a conversation knowing she was thinking these thoughts. In reality, I have no idea what thoughts she was thinking and I let my insecurity stop me from talking to her. I had wanted so much to have a conversation with her, I wanted to find out what was going on in her life, and what had transpired since the last time we had spent time together, but because she was beautiful and I am not, I said nothing.

Three days later Katie committed suicide.

I had spent the whole night comparing myself to her. She seemed so put together. She had the right clothes and a trendy hairstyle. I was jealous of her beauty. Because she had a beautiful exterior, I failed to recognize that she was dying inside. I had the thing she needed. I had my Savior. And I missed the opportunity to tell her, my last opportunity to tell her, because of my insecurity. I will carry that decision with me for the rest of my life. It was a fundamental error to be so focused on the outside as to miss what was going on on the inside. I now recognize that she too, did not know her own self-worth. I’ve often wondered if things might have gone differently if I had entered the party with a godly confidence. What if I had recognized that God knit me together Himself? What if I had not allowed jealousy and insecurity to stop me from speaking to her?

Don’t forget who you are in Christ. You are a “chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9). Don’t forget you are precious in His sight. You are worth more than many sparrows (Matthew 10:31) and you are called to be a light to this world. There are people out there who seem to have it all and lack the one thing they really need. Don’t compare yourself to people, for what “shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul” (Mark 8:36)? If you have to, pray and fast, study and meditate, sit at Jesus’ feet until you really get this understanding deep in your soul.

It is my prayer to stop being so self-focused and become more Christ focused. Never again do I want to put His light under a bushel when there are so many who need to see it. Love for others should overcome doubt of self. It is not through ourselves that we accomplish greatness anyway; it is only through Him that we can do this. It is my desire to see things as He sees them. When we see through the eyes of Christ we are focused on the things that matter; the issues of love, salvation, and eternal life. God help us all to recognize the worth He has placed in us so that we can help others to recognize the worth He has put in them. That worth comes from and through His Holy Spirit. There is nothing more valuable on this earth than this. Seek Him first and all other things will pale in comparison.

~ Rebekah L.

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