I was going through social media, like I do just about every day, when I came across a photo of her.
As soon as I saw it, my once happy and positive mood was immediately dampened. I could feel contentment and confidence leave me as my smile turned into a frown.
There she was. The woman who I had always compared myself to was on my social media feed once AGAIN. Perfect hair. Makeup done to a T. Wearing an outfit that didn’t consist of sweatpants or an oversized sweater.
I immediately (like I always do) began picking myself apart. I broke down our differences and basically came to my conclusion that I’m not woman enough because I don’t look like her.
I’m not woman enough because I don’t know how to do winged eyeliner. I’m not woman enough because I’m still holding onto 10 pounds that I should have lost months ago. I’m not woman enough because I only have four different hairstyles, all of which are simple and don’t involve a braid.
Instead of focusing on what God has blessed me with, I began to focus on what He hasn’t blessed me with. I looked at myself, a precious life God created, as being insignificant and ugly. I’m going to bet at least once in your life you’ve felt the same. You’ve looked at another woman and thought “If only I looked like her.”
There is also another area of my life that I tend to compare myself with others in: my walk with the Lord. I grew up knowing that there was a God but I did not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ until I was an adult. Knowing God and knowing of God are two very different things. So even though I’ve been saved for quite some time, I still feel like a baby Christian. There’s much of the Bible that I haven’t read. There’s a lot of church history that I simply don’t know about. I’m also not that great at memorizing scripture either. It’s very easy for me to look around the room in Sunday school and begin to feel inadequate.
I look at the older woman in the class who just exude compassion and love. I think “Do I love my family as well as she loves hers?”
I look at the mother who is only a few years ahead of me in life and yet her knowledge and understanding of the gospel is so much deeper than mine.
I look at the woman who went to church her entire life and can quote a hundred verses word-by-word. I feel shame because I have only accurately memorized maybe twelve verses of Scripture.
Do you compare your journey with the Lord to another woman’s journey? We know we shouldn’t because we know that our lives are different. Our seasons of life are different. Our families, financial situations, how we disciple our children, all of those may be different.
No two women are exactly alike. And it’s true when I say no two women have the same exact journey with the Lord.
Many women found salvation when they were children. Many women found salvation when they were adults. Many women are seasoned veterans and many women are newbie baby Christians. Because we are so different, it’s unfair to compare our walk with the Lord to another’s.
Now, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hold ourselves accountable and that we shouldn’t desire to do better! Sometimes comparison is a good thing! We’ll dig into that a little bit more in the next few weeks.
But for now, let’s talk about something I brought up in my last post.
I believe women are more prone to comparison than men. I believe so because it was Eve, not Adam, who first took the fruit from the tree. It was Eve who thought, “I am not enough, I need to be more!” I believe that just as the curse of sin has fallen on us, comparison has also been rooted within our hearts because it so strongly ruled Eve.
YOU’RE NOT ALONE
I spoke with many women on the topic of comparison. We’ve discussed why and when they compare themselves to others. We’ve talked about how they might compare themselves and if it affects their attitude. We’ve even discussed if they feel they have control over comparison or if it something that makes them feel defeated.
Almost everyone responded with the surprising realization that they weren’t alone in comparison. I broke down the main areas of which we dwell on the most. These things are what we predominantly use as a jumping off point when we begin to compare ourselves.
85% of the women I spoke to said they most usually compare their looks (physical features such as weight, hair, and makeup) to that of another woman.
5% of the women said they most commonly compare their personal and professional achievements.
5% of the women said they compare their financial situation (such as a house, car, clothing, etc).
About 10% of the women said they compare a little bit of everything. Things like their looks… The number of children they have… How much time they serve in their local church… How many family vacations they take in a year. And so much more.
Comparison isn’t discriminatory. It doesn’t pick and choose who it affects. It can show up in anyone’s life, at any time, in any situation.
Do not feel that you are alone, dear sister. At times we may feel guilty of our own feelings. We may ask ourselves why we feel this way… “I’m supposed to be content with what God has given me, right?“
Take comfort in knowing that comparison is a natural thing. We were created for the perfection of the garden of Eden. Our souls long for perfection, but we are stuck in between two worlds. We are stuck between the perfection of Eden and the perfection of the New World that God will someday create.
We have that longing within us and we think it can be satisfied through worldly things. We think that if we better ourselves by society’s standards that we will be made whole. We may even think that if we do more within our church communities, be kind to everyone, always do good deeds, we can be a better Christian – that just maybe we can earn God‘s love by our works. But, that just isn’t true.
The good news is that we’ve already gained God‘s love and we didn’t have to do a single thing for it. We didn’t have to lose the weight. We didn’t have to get that job. We didn’t have to serve 100 hours in the nursery. God gave His love to us freely and without restraint. All we had to do was accept it and love Him in return.
We will have perfection someday, not because of what we’ve done here on earth, but only by the love, grace, mercy, and power of our Lord.
I encourage you to spend some time in Psalm 27. Pause and reflect on the whole chapter, really take your time and work through the Psalm. I’ve found this chapter to be particularly helpful when I’m struggling with comparison. It points me back to the truth that God delights in us when we delight in Him and His Word. That is what is pleasing to Him. It also reminds me that I am blessed and I am not alone.
“though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.”
Psalm 24:14 ESV
I’ll be working through this Psalm and sharing over on my Instagram. Feel free to pop in and share your thoughts!
(you can find my instagram account in the bio below)
So many women feel like they are alone. They feel ashamed and guilty of their feelings of inadequacy. So many women ask themselves if they are the only ones with these thoughts. So many women don’t realize that they are not alone. Lord, I pray that you would make it known to these women that they are not alone and that their struggles with comparison may be different, but are not unique or unknown. I pray that you would give them peace and comfort, that you would help them discern what is true and what is false. I pray that you would help them fight against these feelings and remind them that they are your most precious creations. You love us so much. Help us to discern what will truly make us feel whole. Let us ask ourselves “Am I seeking what glorifies God or am I seeking what glorifies myself?” Lord, be with these women. I pray that they would be encouraged and that they would ultimately turn to You in their struggling. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
Kal-le is a wife and mama living in beautiful West Virginia. She has a passion for worshipping Jesus, sharing God’s truth with others, and writing about her own personal sin struggles. Kal-le serves her family full-time at home where she aims to glorify God in the everyday moments of life. You can follow her on Instagram @mama__schrader.