Comparing ourselves among ourselves is not wise.
How often have I heard this scripture taught and preached in my churches growing up? How often have I read this passage in my Bible?
And yet, somehow, I find that the application of this verse is much harder than reading it.
Lately in my personal life I’ve been experiencing attacks as a direct result of comparisons, and my heart aches because of the cross-comparison game we as women might be tempted to play with each other at times. When we compare ourselves with one another, it leads to a vicious cycle of envy, miscommunication, and misunderstanding.
In the end, bitterness and strife rule the relationship. James 3:16 says:
“For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”
It might seem harmless to think thoughts such as: “Wow – you’re going to the beach with your family this weekend? JEALOUS!” or “Your daughter won 1st place at the gymnastics meet? Wish that happened to my family.”
What seems like a harmless quip with a fellow sister in Christ can easily, with just a touch of jealousy, become a danger zone of envy and strife.
I know because I’ve been there. It doesn’t take long for jealousy to go from 0 to 10.
Strife comes in many different forms, but some of the most lethal forms are of the passive-aggressive variety and only show up when our wrong buttons are pressed. We may say things we don’t intend to and our speech may be interlaced with a poisonous attitude that turns off completely the fountain of friendship we once had with our sister in Christ.
And all because of comparison and jealousy.
I want to encourage you – if you’ve been there, or you’re going through this right now – to go before the Lord in prayer and know that as He reshapes and molds us according to His will, we can be free of envy and strife.
The beauty in sisterhood is that we can and should support one another – lifting one another up. Your achievement becomes my achievement because I am so proud of you and I celebrate your successes. Anything less than complete satisfaction in the joys that our friends are experiencing means we need to get back on the altar. (And I’ve been on it a few times!)
Overall, I have learned that timing and God’s perfect will are the two main elements that make up our experiences in life. If we stop focusing on what others are achieving in comparison to what we feel we are not achieving, then we’ll be able to see that God’s perfect will is being done in our own lives. But in His timing – not ours.
I’m so glad that our sweet Lord has a perfect plan for each of us and that we can trust Him to strategize our life plan.
His plans for each of us are good. But they are unique.
Your journey will be very different than your friend’s, but it is God’s chosen journey for you – therefore, it is good (even when it doesn’t feel good). It may not be the happiest journey and your road may be a little bumpy (whereas your friend seems to have the easy, smooth road all the time), but God’s perfect will is being done in you for a specific purpose.
Maybe her road is easy today because when she was a child her road was pretty rough. Maybe the Lord is using the bumps in your road today to toughen you up and strengthen you to face life’s challenges ahead so that things will be easier for your later on. Perhaps the blessings she is constantly receiving are because as a child she felt isolated or rejected – and maybe the Lord wants to show her how special and favored she is. So today she has plenty of friendships. Maybe you have fewer friendships because the Lord needs to get you alone so He can speak directly to your heart without the distraction of too many companions.
If we leave the planning and leading to the Lord, we won’t need to compare our journey with anyone else’s. We can ultimately be secure that His perfect will is being done in our lives – and we can rejoice with our sister in Christ and celebrate her successes.
I hope that this has been encouraging to you. Let’s avoid those comparison traps – and celebrate one another in Christ!