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2 Corinthians 10:12 New Living Translation
Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!
Comparing ourselves to others is a risky and dangerous business. But it happens to many of us and more often than we would like to admit. I can tell you from personal experience that I’m good at self-analyzing my every move, particularly when it involves something I’ve worked for and desired. Even though I pray about every decision and ask for His guidance and His will, it hasn’t always worked out like I thought it would. There have been more than a few times that I have walked away from experiences or opportunities having compared myself to others, only to end up feeling like a nobody, defeated and a failure. It’s easy to get bogged down in the pity party when maybe what we have not taken into account is how much trust, faith and growth has occurred in the process. And more than that is how much protection I received from Him for things He knew were not good for me. Yes, I am strong, confident, sure-footed, positive and faithful. But I’m also human and subject to the occasional low point which exposes vulnerability and weaknesses.
That’s when the prince of darkness swoops in and tries to take advantage of the ‘beating ourselves up’ syndrome. He knows when we are at our lowest. He knows when we question ourselves and have a weakness for wanting to measure up to others. It is so easy to be deceived by Satan as he impedes our thoughts with his lies and deceptions. That’s his job—to try to take over our minds, find ways to discourage us or lead us to believe that we are not worthy of God’s unconditional love. But what he’s not counting on is our ability to look up and take hold of what the mighty one has equipped us with and that is His strength, love, grace, mercy and peace.
Comparisons lead us to feelings of discontent, defeat, and doubt. God’s word tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:12, “Comparing ourselves to others is not wise and using others as the standard measurement can lead to jealousy, discouragement and discontent.” In the past few weeks I have encountered people who were beating themselves up over the smallest of things, instead of using the opportunities to grow in faith, strength and character. I believe He uses everything He gives us in a big way and that we should ‘love who we are.’ I don’t mean that in a boastful way, but in a way that is pleasing to Him.
I can promise you that while we are far from perfect in this world, God created each of us with special talents, characteristics, personalities, and qualities that make us who we are. He created us with a special blend and make up that is solely unique. We have to believe He loves variety since He made all of us so different. So trust Him; He knows us inside and out.
I was recently scrolling through my Facebook feed when I came across a post from a young friend in her 20’s who said, “Once you’ve accepted your flaws, no one else can use them against you.” That’s a pretty good way to look at things. And, it shows we can love ourselves just the way we are.
I believe we need the courage to strive to be who God wants us to be. We are to forgo the world and the constant reminders to keep up with others. Instead we should be looking for our purpose and determine what’s important. I have developed four points which I believe can strengthen us in this journey.
1. We should stop comparing ourselves to others –focus on Him when we feel tempted to do so.
2. We need the courage to be ourselves. We should seek His approval first for where we are wanting to go.
3. We should guard our hearts against the negative and that includes people who are mean-spirited.
4. We are to focus on our personal worth. In other words focus on your strengths and all of the things you do well.
I’ve included much more detail on the four points in the ‘Enjoy the Journey’ section of this blog. Spend some time there this week as you look for ways to succeed at being yourself.
As we look to next week I encourage you to pause when you have the urge to compare yourself to others. Focus on your potential. Try to only speak good things about yourself and concentrate on your strengths. Look to God and thank Him for all of the wonderful things He has done for you. Be that man or woman after God’s own heart. After all, He wants us to ‘love who we are.’ I’ll be praying for you.