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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Problem With Comparing

It's interesting to look around wherever we are and people-watch, isn't it?  Often times, when shopping in a mall, you can look around and see that some who are there are really not doing any shopping at all - they're simply people-watching.  Of course, most of the time those sitting on the chairs and couches doing the people-watching may also be waiting on their friends/family who actually are doing some shopping.  And, as we all will admit, most often the ones sitting at the mall are men who are waiting for their wives!  People-watching passes time and it's also enjoyable, isn't it?

We all have problems.  We all have difficulties.  But, we also have all been extremely blessed in one way or another.  The problem with people-watching is that sometimes it leads us to comparing ourselves with others.  We look around at others and all we see is what they are on the outside...we only see the physical attributes and abilities. We see their "things".

The problem with comparing is that we are setting ourselves up to fail.  There will always be someone better than you.  There will always be someone better than me.  There will always be someone prettier, more handsome, more physically fit, more healthy, more successful, more caring, more.......and the list goes on and on. When you and I compare ourselves to a standard that we see as "perfect" we are going to be discouraged.  We are going to feel like we can never measure up to that standard - because we can't.

Why do we compare ourselves to others, anyway?  Here are some of the reasons:  We want approval.  We want acceptance.  We want to know that we are okay...that we are normal.  But what's normal?  It's only a cycle on the washing maching :).  We're all different.  God made us each unique and special.  And, as the saying goes, "God didn't make junk!".

So, how do you and I stop comparing ourselves to others?  Here are five ways we can stop the comparing:

1.  Realize that you were created by God and for His purpose.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10

2.  Realize that God gave His Son, Jesus, to die for you and to be your Savior.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

3.  Realize that you are worthy of God's love.  He doesn't care what kind of house you live in, what brand of clothes you wear, what kind of car you drive, or what brand of hand bag (sunglasses, flip flops, jewelery, etc.) you own.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!
1 John 3:1a

4.  Realize that nobody is perfect.  Everybody has gifts and abilities.  Everybody has imperfections and character flaws. (Jesus was the only perfect living person and he was put to death on a cross for you and I!)

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1

5.  Realize that comparing yourself to others will most often cause you to think less of yourself.  Compare your life to God's standards (through studying His Word) and not the standards of the world.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:15-16

So, go ahead and people-watch.  It's okay and it's sometimes fun.  But, don't compare.  Remember that they are human - just like you :).

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