Combatting a Heart of Comparison
I am so motivated by human approval. As a people-pleaser, I strive to be well-liked, but at what cost? As I’m writing this post, I’m thinking of at least three instances that happened over the last day and a half where I was focused on what others think of me.
As humans, we probably crave others’ approval, but some of us are naturally wired to place more emphasis on it. I envy people who seem like they just don’t care what others think. They are truly ambassadors for Christ who don’t seem to mind the judgmental glances or side comments.
Even though I know that human approval is fleeting, I usually find myself trying to protect my image over trying to proclaim my faith. However, we are reminded that those very attacks at our image are badges of honor:
“If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you” (1 Pet. 4:14).
So we fail at pleasing all people. If we are spreading the name of Christ, God calls us blessed because the Holy Spirit is resting within us. We have the strength, power, and glory of the Spirit, which far outweighs any temporary approval.
Comparing My Life to Others
Comparison steals my joy when I think about how my life shapes up compared to someone else. As much as I think I’m putting my value in the way that God sees me, I know that is not necessarily the truth in my day-to-day decisions. Far more frequently do I think about how others view me over how God views me.
This leads to jealousy, anxiety, and pride.
I get jealous when I compare my life and think that someone else has it easier than me. Maybe they didn’t have to study for good grades. Maybe they got married right out of college and never felt lonely. Maybe they bypassed the system and were promoted faster. My envy of others’ situations leads me to value human efforts more than what God is doing in my own life.
I get anxious when I aim to people please and think that someone else is currently at odds with me. Even though I want my reputation to be one of a peacemaker, I think in reality it sometimes turns out to be a pushover. Since I don’t want to offend anyone, I can fail to stick up for the truth or state my position. My fear of ruining relationships keeps me from speaking up.
I get prideful when I think that someone else has started to appreciate my work, and I believe the lie that if I just strive for more, I’ll be more successful and more people will appreciate me. I’m motivated by success, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when partnered with trying to please others, I begin to make more of me and less of God in order for others to see me as valuable.
Comparison rears its ugly head simply when I’m caring more about the thoughts of others than the thoughts of God. Comparison isn’t helpful because God is working in all believers’ lives to reveal His glory. He wants us to even use those very aspects of our lives that we are afraid to admit in order to do good.
“Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name… Therefore, let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good” (1 Pet. 4:16,19).
I want to be a light more than I want to feel accepted. I want to be an ambassador more than I want to be a people-pleaser. I want to glorify God’s name more than I want to measure up to others’ comparisons.
I need to repeat that to myself as I strive to live in a way that makes that statement true.
Prayer to Combat Comparison
I want to be set apart for You and truly live for Your glory instead of the approval of others. I need Your divine help to do it. I lay down my heart of comparison, bitterness, and envy. Mold it into a heart that beats for You. I know any fear I have of human approval should be put to rest. I should desire to give You the glory in my life. Help me to not be ashamed. There’s nothing to be ashamed of when I’m trying to live in obedience to You– the Creator God. I think I just get wrapped up in the ways of the world and forget that people’s opinions do not matter. Help me to live in that freedom.
FYI, In this blog post, I went through the daily prayer guide model by discussing what is going on in my life, a relevant passage, and a prayer. Grab a copy of your freebie template in order to use this strategy.