By Amber Ginter, Crosswalk.com
Like many young females, I struggle with comparison, especially when it comes to my body.
To the outside world, I am the acceptable version of what it means to be a female. With a thin, tall, and athletic frame, the number of comments I have received on the desire of my stature and the hatred of their own is suffocating.
But the truth is, I still suffer from comparison and hate my body at times, just like everyone else. I have days when I look away from the mirror because being skinny gets old, or my mind tells me that since I have acne or don't have abs, I am not worthy of living or loving.
But the mind is a vicious place to live when your head is sick. And being thin, tall, and athletic does not make me more exempt from comparison than average, short, or stocky. No matter the size, shape, race, or gender, bodies are beautiful because God crafts them. You are you, no matter how much or how little of you there is.
In 2 Corinthians 10:12, the NLT states, "Oh, don't worry; we wouldn't dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant" (2 Corinthians 10:12, NLT).
As Christians, comparison creates two main flaws that trick us into believing lies rather than the truth. And because we live in a world where it seems finding the faults in others (and ourselves) becomes the discretion of finding our strengths, we must navigate how to avoid these behaviors. Comparison is a destroyer of joy, and being ourselves only truly begins when we stop comparing ourselves to others.
1. Comparison is the thief of Joy.
As stated by Theodore Roosevelt, comparison can be seen as the thief of joy because it robs us of today's successes and tomorrow's victories. If we constantly think about how much prettier, more intelligent, more athletic, and talented someone else is, our minds forget the personal successes we may have achieved.
As a dancer, teacher, writer, and singer, I constantly have the battle of thinking that others are more talented than me. My anxiety tells me I will never be as good as them, and my self-worth plummets. The reality of this thought, however, is that we all have strengths and weaknesses.
By engaging in this type of mentality, I compare myself to others and their standards instead of God and who He wants me to be. I am setting myself up for an impossible race with an insurmountable mountain that no one ever asked me to climb!
As 2 Corinthians said, "by comparing ourselves to others and using them as a standard of measurement this only makes us ignorant" to what God has in store for us today and the plans He prepares for us tomorrow. God does not desire for us to compare and so invite jealously. God wants us to see these differences in our brothers and sisters in Christ as tools for strengthening and uplifting one another.
When we look to God as our standard—not others—and let thoughts of Him surround our minds and ambitions, we can begin to restore the joy that has been taken from us and see those successes and victories He gives us every single day. As Dr. Daniel Amen, one of America's leading psychiatrists mentions in Sadie Robertson's Woah That's Good podcast, don't believe everything you think.
By rewiring our minds to think like Christ, we learn that it is not the earthly persons, objects, and morals we should be looking at for worth and validation, but God and His realm of heavenly perfections. By adopting this mindset, what we compare will no longer steal our joy but shape us to reflect God.
2. True identity begins where comparison ends.
As stated and paraphrased by Shannon Adler, finding our true personality can only be found when we leave the comparison of others behind.
Being created by a God who made you a unique, memorable, and loving individual, we are not exactly like anyone else in the world. While there may be similar people who look, act like, and have the same qualities as you, no one is you but you!
While I hate to burst your bubble, someone will always be taller, skinnier, or more intelligent than you. For myself, wiser teachers, craftier writers, and bendier dancers will always exist. But over the years, I have learned to accept that it is okay!
In Psalm 139:14, Scripture highlights that we praise God because we are fearfully and wonderfully made! In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, we read that our bodies come from Christ, were created in His image, and bought with a price!
Despite what we think and feel about ourselves, we were created to be the personality of someone who reflects who God created us to be and no one else.
God did not create us to long after being the girl with the so-called "perfect body" or the guy with the "six-pack that can run a mile in three minutes" if that's not in our genetic makeup. And while striving for these qualities is not inherently evil, they can become unhelpful when we fixate on them.
Instead of thinking of everything you are not, recognize everything you are. You are an individual with quips and quirks of a disposition that only you can define. We need not worry about saying how wonderful and important other men are, as 2 Corinthians 10:12 states, for that will only lead you to ignorance and a life of despair.
Today, don't let comparison be the thief of your joy or the identity of your personality. Walk on the path of least resistance that helps you to become more like God, and learn that the only one you need to be comparing yourself to is Him and who He wants you to become.
Related Resource: Listen to our FREE podcast, Reframed: The Power of Perspective. In each episode, Carley provides practical techniques for identifying and reframing negative thinking patterns. Listen to an episode below, and check out all of our episodes on LifeAudio.com.
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Candy Retriever
Amber Ginter is an aspiring 25-year-old writer that currently works as an English teacher in Chillicothe, Ohio, and has a passionate desire to impact the world for Jesus through her love for writing, aesthetics, health/fitness, and ministry. Hoping to become a full-time freelancer, Amber seeks to proclaim her love for Christ and the Gospel through her writing, aesthetic ministry team (Aisthitikós Joy Ministries), and volunteer roles. She is also the author of The Story I've Never Told, which is currently in the publishing process. Amber has freelanced for Daughter of Delight, Kallos, Anchored Passion, Crosswalk, No Small Life, Darling Magazine, Called Christian Writers, Southern Ohio Today News, The Rebelution, Ohio Christian University, and The Circleville Herald. Visit her website at amberginter.com.
Want more interaction with the women of iBelieve? Join our fans, writers, and editors at the iBelieve Facebook group, Together in Faith, for more videos, stories, testimonies, prayers and more. Visit here to join the community!