Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Why Comparing Hurts Us & What We Should Be Doing Instead

Nike Women's Race 2012. 5-20
Photo credit: Jorge Macri

Last night as I was running on the treadmill at the gym, I noticed all the women working out around me.

Some were working harder than others, pumping their arms and legs up and down on the elliptical behind me. A few were walking at a moderate pace on treadmills nearby. One woman was cycling pretty slowly behind me and to my right. 

But on both sides of me, the women were booking it! My competitive nature wanted to know their speed and distance, and I was tempted to glance at their screens to find out: to see how fast I should be going, how far I needed to be running. 

But I didn't.

Instead I began to wonder: "Why am I comparing myself to these women who I know nothing about? They may be life-long runners. They may be in training. Not to mention their personal lives and the trials they might be experiencing. I know nothing about them."

LFW10 Launch Night
Photo credit: latinofashionwk

And yet how often do we compare ourselves with other women? We want to have the most fashionable clothes, the biggest and most beautifully decorated homes, the most athletic children, the shiniest jewelry, the creme de la creme.

But in our quest to be the best, we will always fall short.

Remember how Peter questioned the risen Christ about John:

20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?”
John 21:20-21
Jesus had just asked Peter three times "Do you love me?" and poor Peter, as usual, didn't get it. He was worrying about someone else when he should've been worrying about himself.

I love how Jesus, in His perfect wisdom, responds:
22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!
 John 21:22 (emphasis mine)
What matters isn't my pace or distance, it isn't how fashion-savvy you are, it certainly isn't how immaculate your house is or how athletic your kids are.

What matters is that we're each living out God's purpose in our own lives. 

As I mentioned the other day, we all have a purpose. Instead of worrying about what someone else is doing, I need to concern myself with what God expects from me. 

"You follow me!"

My prayer is that I will stop comparing and just be who God has called me to be.

Do you struggle with comparing?

Other posts of interest:
"Why Can't I Be More Like Her?": Why Moms Compete & How to Stop

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Linking up with:  The Better Mom, Raising ArrowsMama Moments MondayThe Modest MomTime-Warp WifeTeach Me TuesdaysTitus 2 TuesdaysTop 10 TuesdayLeaving a LegacyWomen Living Well WednesdaysRaising HomemakersRaising Mighty Arrows


  1. Thanks for this great reminder. I find more joy and contentment when I focus on just pleasing the Lord. When I begin to comparing, I always turn into a jealous, mean wife and mommy. But, when my thoughts are consumed with the Lord Jesus, I have perfect peace!
    Visiting from Pint-sized Treasures

    1. You are so right, Alison. We need to be consumed with thoughts of Jesus, not thoughts of living up to other people's standards or the world's view of what we should be. Yet, it's so human to compare. I really have to start praying when I'm tempted to do it.

      Thanks for your comments and encouragement. So glad you stopped by. I will be visiting you as well!

  2. I have a problem with comparing. I live in a very humble home and I often compare my home with those I work with (in a law office, which is soooo not fair).

    I also compare my marriage to how it's supposed to be, which is extremely detrimental.

  3. I love this! great reminder, I needed it today!!!

    sharing with my Fb followers so they can be encouraged too!


    1. Thank you for your encouragement, Paula. Also, thanks for sharing on Facebook. That's very thoughtful. I've just discovered your blog and am a new follower. Blessings to you!

  4. This is so true! It can happen when we compare our mothering or homemaking with that of others as well. Good reminders here!