For the Ones Struggling With Comparison
Comparison is a tricky thing, isn’t it?
Gosh, I’ve been there. I tracked the numbers, stacked up the dominoes, drank the Kool-Aid, did the dance. I tidied the corners of my rooms. I tried tidying the corners of my heart. I brought out the yardstick; do I measure up yet? Will I ever?
Let me spoil things for you: the numbers are never enough, the dominoes fall over, the Kool-Aid makes me sick, I break a leg doing the dance. Those corners multiply cobwebs and the yardstick keeps growing taller. I am too much. I am not enough.
She is way more talented than me; she probably never ruins dinner or spills the coffee or burns the toast. He has it all together; he has two kids and runs a successful business and bought a new house. Why can’t I handle my own one life? Why do the dominoes keep falling over?
I don’t take up enough space in this great big, messy world. I am twenty-five and a little too introspective. I feel the weight of a generation who gave up on God, and I can’t seem to do anything about it. The yardstick keeps growing. I keep shrinking.
I hear the tick, tick, tick of an ever-moving clock.
Did you know the clock was a bomb all along?
None of us wanted comparison, of course. We never wanted to carry these things around like plastic bags of groceries. We wanted connection and inspiration and authenticity. But comparison shows up uninvited and takes its seat right next to us. And instead of kicking it out of the house, we settle in and say, “Could you pass the popcorn, dear?”
Tick, tick, tick.
I think I can hear the bombs in the distance. Sounds like they’re getting closer.
The explosion usually happens, of course. We slam the doors, shatter the china, cry the tears. There will always be someone better, prettier, more put-together. We feel defeated and host an exclusive pity-party in our honor. We make a mental burn book about our supposed friends who don’t show up, Regina George style.
There has to be a better way.
Let me tell you, friends: there is a better way.
We can try to keep up with everyone else in the rat race and the striving for more. Or.
We can believe that we are enough, right where we are.
Not because of our accomplishments. Not because of our beauty. Not because of our golden hearts.
These things are all variables, messy and often failing. The grass withers, the flower fades.
But God—this is my favorite phrase in the whole broken world.
We are not enough on our own selfish paths, but God is enough. He has paid the price, shed the tears, dripped the blood. And if we choose to believe this crazy-good Gospel Story—if we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord, if we believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead—we will be saved from ourselves. Because He is enough.
We are broken. But God is whole.
We are sinners. But God is perfect.
We are constantly changing. But God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
We hear the ticking of a bomb and brace for the explosion. But God is a shelter.
We are headed down a doom-filled path. But God steps in and says, “I’ve got this.”
I guess what I’m trying to say is this: We can compare ourselves constantly, we can try to measure up, we can do the good deeds for affirmations and accolades, but we will continue striving—forever and ever, amen.
And I have said this before, but I will say it again and again and again: Jesus is the only comfort and contentment I find to be unfailing. The more I look to myself or the world for fulfillment, the more I am left grasping at straws. But the more I look to God, the more I realize His faithfulness, His grace, His enough-ness for the both of us. For all of us.
It turns out I was measuring with the wrong yardstick all along. I should’ve been counting His endless mercies. I should’ve been writing down all of the ways He is love. This is a far superior way to spend my days.
And these relationships with other broken humans? They aren’t meant to be stacked up and measured. They were never meant to identify self-worth. But God did intend our relationships to point to the Gospel. In marriage and raising families and reporting to our bosses—we are learning sacrifice. We are learning love. Earthly relationships may be messy, but they can also act as beacons of grace and forgiveness, mercy and obedience.
We have the opportunity to shine our lights to each other and point the way home. Sure, we can lament about how narrow the path is and how easy it is to stumble. But when we see our neighbor wander a little off course, we will lean over and shout, "We are enough-- because He is!"
There is room for grace in our relationships, friends. And God is there, ready to pour out His grace in all of those small-big moments.
We are enough. Because He is.