The Comparison Trap

Faith

I recently spent a great deal of time working on a project. I agonized over every detail, making sure it looked exactly the way I wanted. I was proud of the end result and the effort I put into crafting it…. until I saw someone else’s.

Wait. Does hers look better than mine? Should I have done this differently? Why didn’t I think of that?

I immediately fell into the comparison trap, weighing every aspect of my project against hers to determine how it stacked up, mentally noting reasons why hers was superior. I left the situation feeling defeated and inadequate.

How often do we do this in our own personal lives?

I can attest to the fact that thoughts of comparison come creeping into my mind every single day. They show up in many forms, from comparing projects, to bodies, to talents, and even something as silly as social media profiles.

Fighting comparison is a constant battle.

Instagram is usually the platform where I find myself falling into this trap most often. I’ll be scrolling through pictures absentmindedly, then BAM my mind starts racing.

I wish I could look like that. Should I lose weight? She’s so much prettier than I am. I’ll never be that talented.

When those nasty thoughts show up unannounced, I have to hit the pause button.

STOP. Hold up.

Don’t you realize that people are very meticulous about what they publicize?

From an artfully constructed Instagram profile to a perfect public image, these things are strategic. We don’t tend to share the ugly, bad parts of our lives with the world. We post what we want people to see: the most flattering photos of ourselves, the images that show off our successes, not the ones that emphasize our failures.

Everyone is dealing with their own struggles behind closed doors. What we usually see online or even in person is only a small portion of the story. We can’t assume people have their lives in order because they look put together on the outside.

 It’s not fair to compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.

“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

It’s perfectly fine to have the desire to get in shape or feel confident about your appearance, but when your thoughts are consumed by comparison, it’s time for a readjustment of the heart.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been asking God to help me take my thoughts captive in order to stop my internal monologue of doubt and comparison. It’s been crazy to see how quickly the Lord snaps me back into reality when I start going down that mental rabbit hole of self-destruction.

I know that I haven’t quite freed myself from the comparison trap just yet, and that’s okay. I’m a work in progress.

But I also know when comparison leaves me feeling inadequate, I have an advocate on my side in Christ Jesus— the only person I should be modeling myself after, and someone who loves me more than I can ever comprehend.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 John 3:1

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