”But let every person carefully scrutinize and examine and test his own conduct and his own work. He can then have the personal satisfaction and joy of doing something commendable [in itself alone] without [resorting to] boastful comparison with his neighbor.” – Galatians 6:4 (Amp)
Too often I think people get caught up in what I call “the competition game” of life. You know, the one where we have to “one up” others. I hear it all the time when I am silent around others having everyday conversations. Sitting at a favorite restaurant with my husband and hearing the two women at the next table talk about their children. “Samantha brought home two A’s in her last report card”, one of the women shares. “That’s nice, my Betsy won the award for best science student. She is also captain of the girls basketball team” the other woman replies.
I don’t think that the two friends were even aware that they were playing the competition game. The truth is I don’t think we are always aware that we are playing this game either. The ladies at the other table not only compared their children’s successes, they went on to talk about their husbands, their jobs and even their vacations. These women both fell into the comparison trap. One could not share a “success “ without the other “one upping” it.
Being caught in the “comparison trap” doesn’t always look like the two friends trying to one up the other. The comparison trap has another side to it. This side can be ugly and cynical and does not illuminate the love of Christ. This is where we withhold our praise for another person. Jealousy and envy get in and it stops us from cheering someone else on. We stand at the sidelines and instead of seeing opportunities to rejoice and encourage we see where we may lack and we become self-absorbed.”
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. – Philippians 2:3 NLT
Confession time. It saddens me to admit that I have experienced this on both sides. I have engaged in the game of competition by “one upping” and also through ignoring someone else’s success. The “comparison trap” was set and because I wasn’t on alert – it snared me. The bait on the trap was insecurity, fear and unresolved hurt that turned into bitterness and resentment. Can I get an amen?
Released From The Comparison Trap
I had to get to a place of asking God to reveal to me what He sees when He looks at me. It meant getting to a place of self-acceptance. This required me to start loving the woman that God created me to be. It also meant I needed to stop trying to be the one that I envied. God created each one of us with uniqueness and we all have our own gifting and talents. It also meant showing myself love and treating myself the way that God Himself treats me.
“But God treats us much better than we deserve, and because of Christ Jesus, he freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins.” – Romans 3:24
The bait that our society seems to bite on the most and get snared into the “comparison trap” is social media. It appears that over 90% of the things that people post on their newsfeeds are the highlights of their lives. They tend to shy away from the dark and difficult paths that they may be on. The truth is we all have the mountain tops but we also all have our own valleys. The next time you start to compare yourself with someone – ask yourself, “am I only seeing the highlights?”
Audience of One
When I have fear of not succeeding (whatever that looks like for you) — I am reminded that it’s not all about me. I don’t have to live my life for a huge audience and I don’t have to hold back my applause for others. I have an audience of One and He applauds me everyday – and fills me up so that I can go and cheer others on in their victories.
Father God I want to thank You for Your never ending love and grace. I have fallen into the comparison trap and played the competition game. It has caused me pain and it has caused ripples in my relationships with others. Forgive me for seeking the approval of men above the approval of You. I ask for Your forgiveness for holding back encouragement and goodwill towards others. Help me to see the bait that is used to snare me and to be more aware of it in my life. If there is any unresolved hurt, anger, fear, bitterness and/or resentment show it to me. Help me to heal from it. If there is jealousy and envy I renounce it and ask for your forgiveness.
Lord, I thank You for Your acceptance and I am grateful that You will never leave me nor forsake me. It is such a weight off my shoulders to know that I don’t have to live my life for a huge audience and all that matters is having an audience of One. Thank you for being that One. In Jesus’ Name ~ Amen
What “bait” do you need to be more alert for? What is one thing that you can do to apply this devotional to your life? Let me know in the comments as I would love to hear from you and pray for you too!
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