Every login, every click thru, nearly every email, has the potential to make me feel so inadequate.
The beautiful homes on Pinterest shine a light on my crayon scribbled fingerprinted walls and the many piles of laundry waiting to be folded.
The bloggers with their gorgeous photography point out how badly I need a lesson on how to use a camera.
The beauty tutorials on Youtube make me wonder how I ever survived not knowing how to apply liquid eyeliner before now.
Every new success on Facebook reminds me of my failures.
It’s so very easy to get sucked in, isn’t it?
But oh, sister, Jesus wants us to be reminded of truth. To ignore those lies that we aren’t enough. To step away if it becomes too much.
We all, each of us, are in different seasons of life. We make different choices, and God has different plans. Jealousy can so quietly slip in and take root and slip it’s vine-shaped lies around our throat, and squeeze.
Squeeze until we’re nearly suffocated, and can’t even hear God’s Spirit wooing us back to Him.
The best weapon against this stuff? Gratitude, quiet (unplugging), prayer and more prayer.
What to pray for? Ask God to refine your heart and buff out those harder edges that need softening towards others, the edges that make you feel like you don’t measure up. The edges that make you forget how blessed you really are, even if those blessings don’t look like everyone else’s. It’s grace to realize when these issues pop up, grace when we can rest in the truth that Jesus is in the business of redeeming. And grace when He forgives us for forgetting it.
Do you need to take time off from the compare-a-lot habit you’ve acquired? Have you been sucked in in the past and learned your lesson? We’d love to hear your stories.
By Arianne of To Think Is To Create
I need gratitude, quiet, prayer and more prayer. Thank you,
Amy @ themessymiddle says
Oh I hear you! I just asked a co-worker who doesn’t come into the office that often how many subscibers he had to his blog. “Um, several thousand, I think. I don’t check that often.” It took all I could not to wrap my envied fingers around his neck and ask how he can be so cavalier?!!! Gratitude. Prayer. Yes. Thank you.
envy has robbed me of joy too many times.
“Ask God to refine your heart and buff out those harder edges..”, yes that is my prayer. I’ve compared myself to others for so long… I need His grace, daily.
What a sacred echo. I just wrote about this yesterday. May I share this on my blog’s facebook page? It is so beautifully written and adds so beautifully and clearly to what I was working through myself. Thank you for writing about this comparison thief who robs our joy. Thank you for addressing the prickly pain that comes from looking to our left and to our right. And from not looking straight ahead, running the good race right before our eyes. May we always look to the cross, the cross and to Him. Your words bless me today.
Grateful here for this.
Elizabeth, yes feel free to share the link to this post wherever you want! Thank you for your sweet words.
Amanda [life.edited.] says
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Don’t remember who said it or where I saw it (probably on Pinterest!), but it is so very true. And lately I’ve discovered it can go in reverse, comparing my haves to someone else’s wants and feeling guilt & confusion over why things are the way they are. No matter the shape it takes, comparing sells our hearts lies. Thank you for reminding me not to believe them.
So so true, the guilt can be the thief of joy in just the same way. Thank you for those wise thoughts! xoxo
Oh, thank you for this. I have struggled with not feeling “________ enough” (fill in the blank: good, pretty, smart, etc….) for as long as I can remember. Funny how the internet serves a need of connecting with people, yet can also twist our interactions into idols. I recently blogged about this (part 1 of 2) as I am processing my most recent inner dialogue regarding how I value what others think of me. Thank you for the reminder that gratitude, quiet, and prayer put things in perspective.
Yes, the internet can be SUCH an incredible tool for good. If only we were all better at balance, eh? 🙂 Thank you, Sarah.
“I Am Enough” was spoken over me last year. Still working on believing it. Comparing myself to others has robbed me of joy and the courage to try new things. “She is so good at … what if I’m not that good?” so I don’t even try.
Hugs to you Sara. It’s so important to not let those lies stiffle out what God wants to do in our lives. We have amazing potential because we’re only limited by what God can do, not by what we can do. In other words, there’s no limit! Prayers for you as you wrestle. xoxo
I feel this one to the core. I find it especially difficult in the areas that I know are my particular giftings, and seeing others who do it better can be a real faith struggle.
It’s easier to let the pinterest chips fall where they may, as I already know I’m no Martha Stewart;)
Oh that is such a great point – YES. Thank you for bringing that up. It stings more when we see someone in a season of success while we’re still in a season of building…even if we know it’s our gifting.
I needed that today more than I realized.
I like many other woman I am sure look around us as sometimes wonder why not me? I have friends and family that seem to have it all fall into place for them so easily. And yet it feels as though for every little baby step I take to reach my goal, I indeed take twice as many jumps backwards. I have to learn that His plan for one person is not His plan for me.
Thank you for sharing, it is exactly what God ordered for me learn today.
I’m so grateful it resonated with you. I think God winnows deeply with those struggles. I’m trying to make a practice of gratitude for the winnowing. 🙂
Oh yes, this used to happen to me quiet often. My best used to never be good enough, but I know that all of the external is so insignificant to God. And, I love what you said about gratitude and prayer. Once began to ask the Lord to soften my heart and take away jelousy He really honored that. Now I have a game plan everytime comparison starts to take root and it really works!!! Thanks for the reminder that I am not alone!
This is where my insecurity lies so deep in my heart. I’m not good enough at home at church in life. The enemy enters my heart way to many times. Really need to practice gratitude more often.
It’s an amazing thing, but it works — to actually make a practice of the gratitude. I’m working on it myself. Prayers for you! xoxo
This confirms what I have been thinking for weeks. I need to do another digital fast. I was just telling myself yesterday that although it is fun to get comments and compliments about my blog, my art, my writing, it all comes from and belongs to the Lord, and the “feeling” of accomplishment or success isn’t lasting. The only thing that is “lasting” is God’s spirit, presence, power, and love that never fails.
WOW! God must really be trying to get my attention. This is the 3rd day in a row that I have read something about comparison. Each one has been different because the way the writer wrote it, but the message has been loud & clear.
Thanks for the encouragement today. It was needed. 🙂
Praise God that he is moving me out of compare a lot and into seek him a lot. It is totally changing my life and giving me inner joy and peace!
Dale Carroll-Coleman says
Oh sister, do we not all fall here? Lovely reminder for sure. An attitude of gratitude is what I strive towards.The Internet brings so much to us…. But at a high cost sometimes,of envy with every click. Thanks for showing us truth.
Thank you so much for these words. There’s always a war going on inside of me about my imperfections! This is an awesome reminder that we are beautiful in God’s eyes just the way we are!
So true! I can feel like I’m doing pretty great and then as soon as I long onto the computer, the comparing game starts and I begin to feel inadequate.
I’ve been reading “You’re Already Perfect” and it’s really been helping me in this area. I feel like I’m getting a new sense of who God made me to be and it’s okay that I’m different! Thanks for sharing your heart.
jude carole says
oh girls. you are all unique. beautiful. loving. caring. love yourselves as GOD loves you! Peace……
Great post! I always need this reminder to not covet but my eyes are drawn to pretty things then I compare them to what I have. If this pushes me into cleaning, tidying and possibly making or purchasing something which makes my home a delight for my family then I have achieved a positive change. If however, I begin to feel dissatisfaction, I have fallen into sin. 1 Peter 2:1 tells us to “rid ourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.”
Yes such a great point – I love that these tools can help shape us and teach us how to be (for some, like myself, we didn’t have a mother or grandmother teaching us most of these things like women did in the olden days!) and live and create. It’s all about balance, contentment. Joy. Thank you Kelly!
Beautiful post. This has kept me from stepping out and doing what I know God is calling me to do…that old feeling of, “Who am I to think I can ______ (fill in blank) as good as ________ (fill in blank).” He called me…goofy, silly me…to do the best I can. If God were looking for perfect (or even 25% of perfect!! Ha!), He wouldn’t have called me…He knows my heart, and I suppose that’s enough.
God created each of us to be very unique. Within us He put gifts and abilities that only we can do in the way we do it. Success doesn’t depend on folded laundry or how someone photographs anything. I still watch makeup tutorials to learn how to do things differently and I’ve been wearing makeup longer than most who are replying to your post. I may not be a Photoshop guru but my creative mind can dream up fantastic landscapes that are uniquely my own and I have written an endless saga (over 1600 pages) of a children’s story to my granddaughter about cats who live as we do. (I haven’t gotten around to editing and cutting it down to three or four books but it’s too much fun) So whatever your gifts are, God put them there inside you for you to use only in the way you can use them. Others might like to be able to do what you do, so don’t compare yourself but thank God for the wonderful work He has done in you.
Oh yes, I compare. I know that it is Satan planting those “I’m not good enough” thoughts. But I look at bloggers (since we are talking about being plugged in versus unplugging) who have so many followers and get so many comments, and I wonder why am I not good enough to warrant more followers and commentors. Am I not funny enough, interesting enough, write well enough, etc.
I do need to find that peace that God can afford me. Thanks for this post.
Mary Hart says
One of my favorite quotes is “Comparison is the thief of joy”. I think this is so true, about 2 years ago I began applying it to everything: my parenting, cooking, gardening, thoughts, friendships–all of my every day choices, encounters, doubts, decisions. Once applied, it is tremendously freeing! And the experience of true joy, looking to Jesus instead of looking around at others, keeps the gratitude totally in check.
So interesting…such a great post. Thank you for writing this. I came to my own comparison epiphany a couple of weekends ago, when I was bemoaning that I wasn’t creative enough, or niche-y enough, or good enough, or talented enough, thin enough..the list, of course, goes on. After that I wrote, ” Nothing in the world will make you content until you get to the place where what you have is enough.” Since then, I’ve tried to unplug a little and just focus on what’s around me, as it’s all to easy to get rolling down the “why don’t I have a life like that” hill. Thanks for sharing today!
Thank you…you spoke right to my heart on the jealousy subject! The Lord has been revealing some serious verses to me this past week on my weakness with comparing myself to others! You said, ” Jesus is in the business of redeeming”, that’s sooo true! That “green-eyed monster” may not be totally out of my life, but I am seeing glimmers of hope! Those who have aroused my jealousy are becoming souls that need my love and prayers! Now, that’s a change for the better that only Jesus could accomplish! I’ve learned from my past…and letting go to grap hold of something much better!
That’s the exact reason I sometimes can’t get myself to click onto this site (I know- shame on me). I keep hearing “Don’t read that…they are much better than you. Their struggles with unworthiness and unbelief are not near as bad as yours…” and on and on. I saw the title on my e-mail, and thought maybe I could read this and escape those lies I listen to. Thank you for posting this.
Kayte, I’m so glad you clicked over. I’m so glad you escaped those lies today. Know that the evil one would love nothing more than for you to never hear the Jesus words that the writers here humbly put out there. Don’t give in! I promise you that every struggle you’ve had, someone here has had something similar, and knows how you feel. We are all just people, trying to be our best selves each day, failing a lot. Love to you. xoxo
Comparison ruins relationships and seriously damages self-image.
Especially in this digital age, when it’s so easy to look at someone’s Facebook profile and think, “wow, they are living the perfect life.” In reality, they aren’t. We can only see a snippet. We don’t see their tragedies, their insecurities, their problems.
Comparing ourselves won’t get us anywhere.
Thank you for your words.
I have never compared myself to anyone at work or at home, just doing my best and enjoying my own creative preschool planning, my own favorite recipies, my desire to learn something or do something new… if I was envious it would keep me from being happy for my friend/brother/sister for what their accomplishments and gifts are because of resentment. I feel genuinely happy when someone else is happy.
I have an envy though, when I see people who can be strong and happy in spite of other’s griefs, addictions, hurts, dissapointments, resentments or envy – I used to be able to do it, put it away for awhile with a young hope, but it gets harder to do … Or do they hurt inside for their ‘brother’ too, where no one can see it? They probably do.
Happiness is so different than contentment, it is fleeting moments of laughter shared and simple joys but contentment and a deeper joy can only come from faith that God is working and there is a bigger plan.
I love all the comments here today and wish to remind all you wonderful ladies that your (and my) simple (and often time and love put into it) contribution to a buffet, a gathering, etc is a gift of ourselves, and just your presence and your joy is all that is needed, the girl with all the fancy cake making skills has a beautiful gift, don’t resent her, praise and love her because she’s sharing it with you! We all have different gifts.
Thank you for the encouragement Liz! You speak of another kind of envy, and it’s such a great point. May God give us all the strength to continue to hope, and not let despair triumph. xoxo
Thank you. I have been thinking similar things and like you, I am grateful for His restorative powers!
I am self admittedly “sucked in” and comparing myself constantly. Always experiencing the seem feeling of “coming up short”. Self doubt is crippling. I really love how some of the other courageous women expressed the fact that comparison and envy robs us of our joy. That sums it up in a nutshell. Will it cure me? Oh, I don’t know, but it will definitely put me on the path of thinking twice when the thoughts and feelings occur. We’re only human, right? Thank you everyone.
Yes! And the right path is the fresh start each new day brings. Hugs to you Susanne. xoxo
Thank you Arianne for the reply and hugs. That’s very sweet and you made my day. Take good care!
Christie Elkins says
Lovely post and well timed for my season of life. May I be in love with God’s plan for my own life!!
What a wonderful and insightful post! I’ve been having thoughts along these lines for some time. Nice to have someone put it into words and encourage us to step out from underneath the weight of comparing ourselves…..and feeling “lacking” or envious. Yes, there are great sources of inspiration out there in the cyber world, but each of is unique and has our own talents and gifts that makes us special.
Anna Radchenko says
Wow. I loved the line, “But oh, sister, Jesus wants us to be reminded of truth. To ignore those lies that we aren’t enough. To step away if it becomes too much.” …To step away if it becomes too much… how often we want to just keep moving forward… it’s almost as if we don’t believe we can step away.
P.S. – What a lovely photo that was chosen for this post 😉
I realized something last week when I turned 49: These feelings of “not measuring up” to others do not automatically go away the older I get. The expectations others put on me — through Face Book AND in real life! — to “do” and “be” can just be too much – they can mess with my sense of being “OK” just as I am, as God tells me I am: LOVED. I’m learning to say NO to “activities” (even some clearly wholesome ones…) that take away from having peace in my life. Yes, God wants me to grow, change, and become, but it’s not so much about being busy “doing” – but about resting in “being”….resting in Who He says He is in my life: my Father who loves me. Recognizing this love brings peace, and drowns out the chaos of my busy life. I have to make the choices I need to make each day in order to live chaos-free in my heart. I Enjoy my on-line friends and their posts, but try to remember they too are struggling with the same issues I am. Other peoples’ lives are not always as exciting or perfect as they may seem in my imagination! We all need to just keep on encouraging each other to remember how much God loves us just as we are.
“recognizing this love brings peace” YES! Thank you for your wisdom here, Diane. xoxo
Awesome post! So many people are not even aware that this is effecting them… so many feel this a normal way of being…
Thank you thank you thank you….
This spoke straight to my heart today. Thank you for allowing the Holy Spirit to write through you right to me.
If I may I would like to ask a question. I live outside of the Boston area. Religion is rather “boxy” here. I feel that other regions of the country practice their faith and gain so much more because of the acceptance and traditions of the community. I see so much more friendship and interaction elsewhere. Even at the recent Beach House weekend sponsored by (in)Courage the cities/town represented and number of members in these areas spoke volumes. My question is simply is there on “online” ministry where one can experience closeness, virtually? I know this does not lead to “unplugging”, but I thought I would still inquire. If anyone knows of any “real” congretions on the South Shore of Boston that would be even better, but I have a feeling you know what I am looking for. Thank you in advance for your time.
the Blah Blah Blahger says
Oh, how I’ve needed this reminder!!!
Oh Ari, you have spoken right to my soul….this post made me tear up!
I often struggle with thoughts of comparisons and disappointments of not measuring up. I often question “why am I not as perfect” “what am I doing wrong” etc.
“We all, each of us, are in different seasons of life. We make different choices, and God has different plans. Jealousy can so quietly slip in and take root and slip it’s vine-shaped lies around our throat, and squeeze. ”
There are so many things running through my mind, so many things I would like to say, but I can’t seem to get my words in order. What you have done here, done so perfectly, has left me speechless. So, thank you, for sharing and for being a vessel used to speak to my soul!
I’m honored you connected with this piece in such a way, Rachel. Hugs to you! xo
Karen C. says
This really resonates with me as I am bombarded constantly by electronic media that shows my deficiencies–you couldn’t have phrased it better! In addition, I have to fight typically one to many real life events every day in which I encounter people who have things that I don’t or who achieving things that I’m not… We rarely hear about the struggles people have, so on the exterior, it feels that I’m the only one. The closer I get to people, I realize that everyone has things that I wouldn’t want to deal with and if it got down to it, I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone else’s…maybe. Gratefulness instead of self-pity and volunteering to help are two ways to bring me out of it; sometimes I have my days though where I just feel like the biggest loser–and yes, I do have to unplug, even if I’m so curious to see what people are doing that I’m not… I heard the song the other day ‘one step closer to nowhere’ by U2. It’s an atheists creed–an atheists walk through life, but it’s all of our songs without our faith in God because when it comes down to it, all of these trappings are momentary–all of sufficiencies are God given, and all of our insufficiencies are covered by his grace. Thank you.
Oh I love that song! Thank you for the gorgeous metaphor, Karen. xo
Oh, yes! This strikes a chord. It is a constant battle, but you give great advice about practicing gratitude, unplugging, and praying. Unplugging is essential for me. It helps me see the blessings right here in my own humble abode. And my gratitude list is life-giving. It is comforting to know that other women (most women?) struggle with this. Thanks for this post.
Ari, why didn’t you post this two weeks ago? 🙂 Man, that would have been timely but I guess it’s good that I self-enforced a social media fast while I got my head back on straight and my heart in the right place. Someone elses’ have is not necessarily my have-not. We never know how God is using those things in other people’s lives or when the same will happen to us (or conversely, what God is doing to prepare us for those blessings and opportunities.)
I think I wrote this a couple weeks ago! Maybe before that, but not much. I love that God had it published today just when so many needed to hear. I love that you’re through the dark and have come up for air again. xo
beth willis miller says
Thank you for this post…it helps me to remember God’s sovereignty in all things…I didn’t bring myself into this world, and I can’t take myself into heaven. I really don’t know what is best for me or for those I love. I ask God to make me sensitive to the reality that He is in control, and that He is using this–even this–to conform me to the image of His Son. I want that most of all. I train my mind to acknowledge God’s hand in whatever it is I’m living with. I practice words like, “I don’t know,” “I will trust,” “I can’t explain,” “I release it all,” because God is sovereign. He is the beginning, He will be the ending, and in between, by His grace, He lets us be part of His perfect plan, for His glory and for our good. In the meantime, I will expect a mystery…I wrote more about this in this blog post…http://bethwillismiller.blogspot.com/2009/10/conceived-on-memorial-day-almost.html
Jessie Gunderson says
What a reminder I needed today! Coming off the UBP12 party high. 🙂 I need to take a big breath, refocus on the ONE who gave me a voice and a pen and just be still!
Nikole Hahn says
Oh, yes….the compare-alot habit. That’s me. And oh, how subtle it is, too. I should be joyful when others succeed, not wishing it were me.
It’s so hard, isn’t it? We can do it, though. With God, together. Prayers for you Nikole. xo
Beth Williams says
Boy you have just taken a snapshot of the last few months of my life with this post! I’ve been down and out over a trivial job position change and my attitude has not always been Christ-like.
Now if I do any of the compare-a-lots it’s to remind myself of how blessed I am compared to sooo many others out there and yet they seem to have a sense of joy in their lives!
Such a great perspective, thank you Beth!
Word! Amen and amen. To answer your question, YES. All week long I have repeated this new mantra: “Another woman’s beauty does not diminish your own.
Another woman’s approval does not establish your worth.
Another woman’s victory does not indicate your failure.
Another woman’s plenty does not signify your lack.” We must cling to this! Thank you, sister, for sharing.
Yes I’m afraid I do need a break… I seem to find ways to compare and feel inadequate… I don’t mean too it’s just life seems to be passing me by… Friends come and go, get married and I stay single… friends having children, some even grandkids.. when will it be my turn…. friends have the degree… the nice jobs… oh everyone can seem to have it all together nice and me… sitting at home wondering when and why oh me…. Just reading the comments I am encouraged and there is nothing like a little time out with GOD who reminds me He created me… and has his best for me… I need not worry but sometimes I do need to be reminded…. thanks!!
I just buried my second child in 6 months. Thank you for holding my heart to Christs light. I struggle.
FOWOT » sofiewarrenphotography says
[…] to some of us more than others, but it is so great to be encouraged when the feelings come. i compare, i measure, i drive myself crazy – but i have found these two sites helping me to throw away […]
Thank you Arianne, for this. Yes, I definitely struggle, especially in terms of the desire to have a clean and tidy home. It seems that all of my friends do a better job of keeping their domestic domains under control (lol).
Yesterday I had a moment of victory though, and laughed out loud at the mess around me and declared it “glorious”. There was an earwig in a bug jar beside the computer, awaiting sketching; a (huge) dead spider dumped out of the bug jar and onto the computer keypad, awaiting identification; the usual crazy mess of papers and books and music and tea cups and toys and cameras and candles and crafts strewn about the counter. I consider it a miracle that I had that joyful reaction – usually I want to begin tossing everything into the garbage can in frustration!!
I know that God does not care about the state of my house, but the state of the hearts in my house.
Good Clicks for Your Weekend « Becoming His Eve says
[…] 4. On Comparing Yourself […]
Arianne, this post is so timely. I used to struggle very hard with jealousy, and I have experienced great victory in this area of my life. It is still something that I have to fight the tempations against, but I JUST posted on this today. How weird. Maybe God is trying to prepare me for something – or maybe it’s just a simple coincidence, lol. Great post!
Lately…Silence « it's all good says
[…] And I just read this blog over at (in)Courage by Arianne that you should all read: On Comparing Yourself […]
Just what I needed to read…I deal with this often. Thank you!
Great word on comparison. It does nothing but tear down and is contrary to the gospel. http://choosetotrust.com/2012/04/what-comparison-does/
Robin Dance ~ PENSIEVE says
Preach it, sistah!
This is such a real issue! I love how you wrote down all the ways my joy is replaced by coveting what others have. In reality, no matter how much of a mess I may feel my life is, I am still seriously blessed. Great post!
Thanks for posting this! Comparison is a “safe sin” that lured me into a lot of fantasy world and self-destructive behaviors when I was a teenager. I couldn’t be satisfied with myself, my family, or anything–and was always sure everyone else had better. And then it would follow that maybe I just didn’t deserve any of those things–all the while ignoring the most precious gift I had, the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ! I still struggle with this sometimes, though over the years submitting to God and keeping my gaze on Him has given me victory. Interestingly enough, I don’t measure anyone else to the ruthless standards with which I measure myself–in fact, one of the things I envied was other people’s ability to accept themselves!
How foolish the children of God are! I’m so amazed and humbled He loves us so much!
Although I am not a Christian, I totally hear your perspective here. In fact, I just wrote a post about the very same thing this week, with a lot more questions and less answers. I think, though, that is more than simple jealousy. I think it is a culture of too much, immensely damaging because it sets us up for failure before we have even begun.
In case you are interested: http://mommyrepeat.blogspot.com/2012/05/problem-of-too-much.html
Sandra Libby says
How timely that I read this post. Recently, I just heard a speaker talk about this very thing and it has really been on my mind. Her major theme was that “comparisons kill contentment and discontent clutters our heart.” I felt like her message and this post are both speaking right to me. I have so much to grateful for yet I still look towards what others have and think if I only had that, I would be happy. We always think the grass is greener on the other side but I had a friend once tell me, watch out because the enemy put down astroturf!
Wise, wise, Ari. Thank you for reminding each of us. And I bet my walls and your walls with all their shared crayon art would get along famously!
Thank you so much for this. It is a great reminder for me to be grateful for what I have and especially stop paying so much attention to Facebook!
Compare & Dispair.
On being pickers says
[…] past few weeks, one was about that community shaped hole in your heart, and the other one is about comparing yourself to everyone online. They seemed to resonate with people, I hope they do with you […]