It’s a pretty normal Saturday night. I’m sitting on the couch alternating between a book and Instagram while Andrew switches between basketball games. As I scroll through well-curated images I begin to notice the small, creeping sensation of inadequacy. It’s subtle at first. As I look at beautifully styled homes I find myself comparing them my unfinished kitchen with paint stains on the floor and my bare walls begging to be filled. I love my home, but it’s not perfect yet. The imperfections seem to be highlighted through the scrolling images.
As I continue to scroll I see image after image of women doing awesome things. They’re writing books, starting podcasts, owning their own small business while mothering small children. Not only do they appear to be doing all the things, but they have a huge audience – significant influence.
That’s when inadequacy seems to be screaming and I find myself in a full-blown comparison trap. Sadly, I let myself believe that because my things seem to be “small” then I’m not as good as these other women. I begin to agree with the whispers of the enemy that it’s too late for me – I’ve missed my chance to be really “successful”.
I think we’ve all fallen prey to this on some level, and it breaks my heart to think about all of the women, with so many gifts and talents to offer, that have gotten stuck in this trap. The comparison trap is deadly and here’s why.
1. The comparison trap keeps us from celebrating others. When we give into this thinking we become resentful of other people’s talents and how God is using them. We begin to focus on our own jealousy, and over time, that corrodes our hearts and keeps us from our ultimate purpose. Instead, we should cheer each other on, and lift up the gifts we see in other women.
2. The comparison trap makes us believe that this life is all about us. Our focus should always be God’s glory, but when we focus on ourselves, life becomes about our glory – and that’s a dangerous place to be.
3. The comparison trap limits our own gifts. Instead of just being who God created us to be, and doing the things that he created us to do, we try to force ourselves into someone else’s mold. We believe the lie that our story needs to look like this other person’s story. When we do that, we’ll never reach our full potential.
4. The comparison trap limits God. By letting ourselves believe that we’re not enough, we’re essentially telling God that he’s not enough. We tell him that he got it wrong , that our calling and the way he wants to use us is not as important as someone else’s. We’re basically telling him he messed up.
Friends, God wants more for us than to mimic the life of someone else online. He wants us to thrive and flourish in the midst of our own, unique calling. A calling that may look different from someone else’s, but a calling that is perfectly designed for us.
I love the quote, “Don’t compare your middle to someone else’s end.” Who knows the future God has for you if you simply stay obedient to what he puts before you today. I guarantee that it will be more beautiful than anything you could ever dream up or imagine for yourself.
Also…when you feel the comparison trap setting in, please just get off the internet and go do something else. Let’s want more for ourselves than wallowing in the not enough, and instead celebrate our own path and the paths of other people.