Are you currently in a season of feeling like you are falling behind? Failing? Missing something? Do you frequently struggle with comparison? Do you find yourself saying any of these statements?
- “Their house looks gargantuan and is decorated farmhouse picturesque while mine is covered in toys and toddler crumbs before 6:30 a.m.”
- “They can take expensive vacations and we are barely making ends meet.”
- “They have four children that are all involved in extracurricular activities/sports while we have two children and feel like we are running around like chickens with our heads cut off.”
- “Their toddlers are always so well-behaved and mine are randomly screaming and throwing tantrums in the grocery store checkout line.”
- “Their spouse always surprises them with extravagant gifts and mine barely remembers birthdays/anniversaries.”
- “They have such good friends and are always there for each other. What am I doing wrong?”
- “Their teenager is working a part-time job and takes their studies seriously while mine is barely passing classes and just wants to play video games.”
- “Their pictures on social media make everything look so perfect while my family looks like our own version of Jurassic Park.”
- “They make it to church on time every Sunday in ties and suit jackets without a single wrinkle in their clothes while getting to church is quite difficult for our family. And we are a wrinkled mess!”
Comparison has a nasty way of sneaking into your mind and making you feel insignificant. Measuring every aspect of your life to those around you can quickly sneak into your heartstrings and steal your joy.
Steps for Avoiding Comparison and Finding Your Joy
Here are a few steps to consider as you wade through the treacherous waters of comparison:
Do not compare your life to someone else’s.
Stop those nasty and overwhelming thoughts that creep into your mind and redirect them immediately. Avoid the social media scrolls of comparison. It is important to realize that people always share their best moments. The person who looks like they have the most beautiful house might be struggling to pay their bills.
The person who shares her husband’s love notes might be going through a difficult season in her marriage. The person who constantly shares adorable photos of their children might be the same person who grew up in an emotionally and physically abusive home and be overwhelmed with trying to do this whole parenting thing the right way.
The person who shares their constant eating out and vacationing might be in a difficult season of depression, loneliness, and anxiety. We do not know everyone’s full story and internal struggles. Everyone around you is facing their own battles, so do not feel like you are alone in the things that might be bogging you down. Offer yourself grace and offer others compassion and kindness every chance you get.
Find beauty in the messiest of moments.
We are all a work-in-progress. When making breakfast for the family turns into burned pancakes and frustration, it is important to try to find beauty in those small moments of frustration. Letting every small frustration ruin the entire day is the beginning of a negative woe-is-me mindset.
If you burn pancakes, add some cool whip, have a dance party, and try to make the most of that memory. Sure, you cannot always laugh when things are frustrating, but you can allow God to refuel your soul with little glimmers of hope and joy.
Find beauty in your children’s giggles as they eat the messiest donut the world has ever seen. Find beauty in a date night with your spouse that turned from dinner reservations you forgot to make to a night of spontaneity. Find beauty in rainy day puddles by letting the rain hit your face and soak in God’s creation every chance you get. Look for the rainbow after the storm.
Start by trying to turn an unfinished to-do list into a day that you never want to forget – a day you will treasure and replay in your mind for years and years to come.
Know that true success is not measured in cute announcements, perfect houses, and packed schedules.
It’s fine if you want to announce your pregnancy in a fun and creative way, but do not feel that you must do something just because someone else is doing it. A gender-reveal party is great, but do not feel like you can’t just find out at an ultrasound the old-fashioned way if you want to. The “norms” constantly evolve and change in our society, but those norms do not define what is always best for you and your family.
Let God’s beautiful plans for your life and your family unfold in His timing. If you have kids later than your friends, that is okay. If you go back to school later in life, that is okay. If you decide to homeschool because you feel that is what’s best for your family, that is okay. Let God’s calling for your life be based on the passions He has fueled your spirit with rather than what society deems important. A packed schedule is not what will bring your heart true fulfillment.
Know that true fulfillment/the answer to life’s unknowns comes at the feet of Jesus.
“In nearly every Psalm where David pours out his heart during his pain, grief, trials, and struggles – he still concludes the psalm with praising God and giving Him glory.” – Unknown
Sometimes life throws unexpected curveballs. Perhaps you are dealing with years of poor communication in your marriage or years of poor financial decisions. Maybe you are trying to figure out what to pursue as a career now that your children are all in school. As you wade through the waters of uncertainty and feel overwhelmed, know that God is right there beside you.
He wants to hold your hand as you figure out your next steps. He wants to hold your hand as you navigate rebuilding the communication or intimacy in your marriage. He wants you to surrender your anxieties and frustrations to Him and make beauty from the ashes of your life.
Every difficult season of your life can be a stepping stone to the beauty that is to come. You must take that next step forward. True fulfillment comes from a personal relationship with Christ, authentic connections, and living the life God has for you instead of comparing yours to everyone else.
When you feel alone or behind, look to Jesus instead of those around you.
“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.” – Unknown
It is important to realize that your journey is unique to you. Maybe you feel like your feelings and frustrations are not valid because you have not endured hardship like somebody else you know. Maybe you are overwhelmed at how much difficulty and uncertainty you have faced up to this point.
Do not compare your story to those around you. Your story is important both the chapters that you have lived up to now and the chapters still to be written. Your feelings and hardships are valid.
As you try to make sense of the journey you have walked thus far, consider scheduling a counseling session so you can work through your feelings and frustrations, find beauty in the messy moments of life, and look ahead to all the amazing things God has for you. Your past matters. Your present matters. Your future is bright. You must first permit yourself to bloom where you are right now, it’s your time.
Bible Verses for to Help You Stop Comparing
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. – Galatians 1:10
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. – Colossians 3:2
You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? – 1 Corinthians 3:3
Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else. – Galatians 6:4
Let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t. – Romans 12:6
“Mess”, Courtesy of Ricardo Viana, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Negatives”, Courtesy of Markus Spiske, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Splash”, Courtesy of Phil Hearing, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Double Rainbow”, Courtesy of David Brooke Martin, Unsplash.com, CC0 License
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