A few weeks ago, we had volleyball tryouts. To say I was excited was an understatement. To say I was prepared…well, that might be an overstatement! I thought I was well prepared, having practiced pretty much all summer - and kind of all year- since the last season, and had attended multiple volleyball camps. At one of the camps, during a drill, I looked around and was pleased to see that I was grouped with the higher advanced girls. But at tryouts, the girls there are so talented and have played so much longer than I have, and at times, I felt like such a failure.
As I saw how well other people played during the assessments, my play got worse. I missed almost all of my serves and had an overall terribly off-day, while I watched everyone around me do so well. When I got home on the last day of tryouts, I felt so defeated. Everyone else were so much better than me, and I was sure I'd be on JV again (my goal was to get on varsity). I worried throughout the night. There were people who I'd felt angry at, not because they were mean to me, but because they made me feel inferior (not intentionally). They were so good, and compared to them I looked so bad, which made me feel less than them, and like a nobody.
Everywhere I look, there's always someone doing something better, cuter, nicer, or more interesting than me (not just in volleyball). There's always someone who looks better than me, dresses better than me, talks better than me, and so on and so on. The trap of comparison is so easy to fall into and get stuck in. In comparison, we will either come up on top or we'll come out bottom. Always. There's no excuses - we're always gonna be better or worse than the person we compare ourselves to. Or at least, that's what Satan will tell you, that you either win or you lose. It really drags you down when you start comparing! Like when I was playing volleyball and started comparing myself, my play got a lot worse, my attitude got worse, and my mindset got worse. But then the week after (it ended up being a 5/6 day tryouts) God completely changed my mindset so that my goal was simply to do my best and not worry about how good the other players were. I continuously told myself that, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent" (Eleanor Roosevelt). And for reasons I don't know, the coach decided to put me on varsity B. That's God's grace!
A few years ago, I didn't talk with my best friend for almost a year. Why? I was jealous. I felt inferior. I had been comparing myself with her constantly, and it seemed that she always came on top. Because I was comparing myself with her, it made me pull away and it hurt our friendship.
But how do we stop comparing ourselves to other people? How do we stop ourselves from being happy when someone who was better than you stumbles and takes a turn for the worst? How do we stop in a way that will cause the envy and bitterness that has grown from that comparison will disappear? The devil continuously tells us that someone's better than you, and that because of that, God doesn't love you as much. Or He doesn’t want to bless you. Or He must've made a mistake creating you. THAT'S A LIE!! Galatians 6:3-5 says that "If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load" (italics added). Don't compare! We were not designed to constantly be comparing ourselves and pushing ourselves down. And we were also not created to compare ourselves so we could come out on top and become prideful.
Be content. Being thankful is a big key in not learning not to compare yourself with others, and then also learning to be selfless and remembering that it's not all about you anyway. Maybe you're not as rich or talented as that girl or guy, but maybe that's because God has given you a talent in a different area. There's always a reason, though it may not be revealed to you. And God loves you just as much as that other person - remember, He does not show favoritism! He created you perfectly, exactly how He planned to, and He thought -and thinks- that you are beautifully made. And God thinks that your friend is beautifully made. And your enemy. And everyone.
When you start to fall into the comparison trap, remember who you are in Christ. As Anna Light says, "Comparison is a form or manifestation of insecurity. It comes from lack. Lack of identity. Lack of purpose. Lack of confidence in who we are and the life we have been given." And when you compare yourself to someone else and decide that you are less than that other person, you are also, in a way, saying that God made you wrong. That God made you not-as-good. That's not true! Don't believe the lies Satan is telling you. Remember- test everything that is said and hold fast to what is true!!
Don't compare yourself- be grateful with what you have. Don't let the devil put grudges in between you because one of you is better than the other. Satan wants to trap you in comparison because he knows it will steal your joy. It will take away your contentment. It will make you more self-focused. John 10:10 says, "The thief [Satan] comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I [Jesus] have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (italics added). Don't let him succeed in making you constantly worry about how you're seen by others. What he wants is for you to be so focused on other things that you're not as focused on God as you should be. Don't let him win!! Pray that God would help you free yourself from comparison. Pray that He'd help you to be thankful in any and every situation. If you have a grudge against someone, pray for them. Believe me- it really works! Family, don't let comparison ruin the way you see people. Love them as who they are, accept them as who they are, and never compare - because that's what Jesus would do.
"I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart;
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"I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all of my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds."