Youth Takeover Blog Written by Ashley Olivencia
Comparison is a trap many people find themselves in, undoubtedly, more than once. The comparison game, or war, is as old as humanity. Check out the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis the 4th chapter. We are all prone to its symptoms and if not treated quickly, we will find ourselves intertwined in its web. To clarify, these symptoms are a detriment to your character, purpose, and connection with God. I want to share with you my story of comparison and how it nearly tore me away from my relationship with Jesus Christ.
As long as I can remember, I have loved watching people navigate life. People-watching was my first hobby and I do it to this very day. I am an observer. I love to see how people react, speak, manage emotions, and their overall mannerisms. I enjoy this all because it is those small things that give me the telltale signs of their personality. It helps me get to know a person well.
I remember, so vividly, my middle and high school years after giving my life to Jesus and getting planted in a life-giving church. The first three years of this newfound life and identity were on fire. I could not stop talking about Jesus to my family and friends. I had so much joy and felt as if I had finally become the person I truly wanted to be.
Around the end of my high school studies is when I began to struggle with this darkness called comparison. I compared myself to the girls I was surrounded by at school and even at church. It started with small thoughts like, “I want my hair to be more like hers” and “I should dress more like them.” My love for observing people for the simple pleasure of getting to know them became an obsession of finding myself in them. Before I knew it, I was no longer grateful or content with my life and had succumbed to the lie, “I am not good enough!”
I struggled for months trying to BE my friends, have their calling, their personality, and THEIR relationship with God. I was so blinded by this way of thinking that I completely lost myself in my desire to be someone God never created me to be. I had fallen into the trap of comparison and these were the symptoms:
1. Inability to think positively of yourself and/or others.
2. Jealousy for the opportunities and experiences of others.
3. Anger that leads to self-deprecation.
4. Impaired vision of God’s purpose in your life.
5. Persistent fear and doubt of all the action you make.
When I finally realized the purpose, joy, and worth that once fueled my life were gone, I knew I had no choice but to turn to God. He covered me all over again with grace and hope. I then began my journey to rebuild myself by seeking God and finding my identity in Him and only Him.
I remember asking God to send me the perfect friendships that had the most propensity of propelling me into the best ME there was. A year later, I was surrounded by some of the best people and they are still with me today. I began to focus more on the projects that I was directly involved in and began utilizing the strengths and skills I had within me. The strongest virtue I had to practice was learning to celebrate others’ achievements even when I didn’t want to. I had to remind myself, daily, of everything I was thankful for. Most importantly I had to be okay with being alone with God and learning to seek Him wholeheartedly.
If you have found yourself in the darkness of comparison, prescribe yourself with these five practices:
1. Utilize the skills you already have, even if they are small.
2. Surround yourself with people who love to encourage you.
3. Celebrate with others on their own endeavors, even when it is hard.
4. Take time to give thanks for the small things in life.
5. Find time to be alone with God. (Pray, worship, read and study your bible).
God created us to be unique and has created a plan for us that is strategic to our personality. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
You are special and no one in this world will be able to do what God has called you to do, the way that ONLY YOU can do it. Do not let the sickness of comparison steal your joy and influence. This world needs what YOU have to offer!