Contentment: the alternative to comparison

July 18, 2011 | pride, symptoms of self | 8 comments

Her hair always looks perfect. How does she look so good in a swimsuit? Her son will sit and play quietly.  Why isn't my daughter walking yet?  Her husband is always helping her with her kids. My marriage would be like hers if I didn't have financial stress. How does she have time to do so many fun activities? Why do people like her better than me?

Anyone else play the comparison game? Do you win or lose?

I know I'm guilty. In all cases of comparison I lose.  If I come out on top...I'm being proud in thinking myself better than someone else. If I come out as "less than"...I'm just as proud because I'm having a 'woe is me' attitude,  which is self-pity.

photo credit: Jason Verwey

Comparison leads to jealousy and envy. On Wikipedia I found the following info:

"Jealousy is an emotion felt toward people and relationships. Envy is a negative emotion felt due to self-comparison of possessions."

Who wants to be considered jealous or envious? Not me. Especially after reading what the  The Bible says on the topic:

  •  "Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?" (Proverbs 27:4)
  • "For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice." ( James 3:16)
  • "A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones." (Proverbs 14:30)

Okay, so we don't want to compare ourselves to others and be full of jealousy/envy...but we do anyway. What steps can we take to change this habitual behavior?

  1. Take every.thought.captive: when you start to think about how you measure next to someone else...stop yourself. just stop comparing. (check out the series on taking every.thought.captive by lara g. williams)
  2. Thank God for making you the way He did: He knit you together in your mother's womb.  "He was responsible for the color of your hair and the size of your nose and whether you get cellulite." (L. Dillow) He made you the mom of your children. He doesn't make mistakes.
  3. Listen to God's voice, His Word. " For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. " (Ephesians 2:10).  "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7)                                                                                                                     
  4. Focus on the purpose God has for you. "He has a plan for YOU to fulfill. How loved and unique you are. All of your abilities...and your disabilities...were created to fit the unique plan God has for you. No one else can fulfill your purpose but you." (L. Dillow)
  5. Develop your inner qualities. If we are God-centered, then we need only be concerned with how God views us...He only looks at the heart. "A gracious woman attains honor."(Proverbs 11:16) Not a pretty woman...a woman of grace.  "Don't be concerned with outward beauty...be beautiful inside, in your hearts, with the lasting charm of a gentle and quiet spirit which is so precious to God." (1 Peter 3:3-4)

 This quote from George MacDonald (a mentor for C.S. Lewis) sums it up:

"I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God's thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest, and most precious thing in all thinking."

Do you struggle with comparing yourself to others? Will you take the contentment challenge? Stop looking around and just look full in His face!

Check out other "Symptoms of Self"
If you struggle with contentment and anxiety, you should check out "Calm my Anxious Heart" by Linda Dillow.

8 Comments

  1. KellySinging

    Great steps. I like number 4, to focus on the purpose God has for you. He said that He is no respecter of persons, and that means we are all equal in His eyes. We all have something wonderful to give.

    • Heather MacFadyen

      Thanks for stopping by kelly! Love that, “He is no respecter of persons”…thanks for sharing!

  2. Kathryn

    Great post, read it after doing my morning bible study and thought this my tie in. We are ALL created in his image (Gen. 1:27), and God is love (1 John 4:8) therefor we ate love…”Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (1 Cor. 13:4). Thanks always for using Gods words to encourage all of us.

    • Heather MacFadyen

      sooo good kathryn! love that! created in His image…He is love…we are to love…love does not envy or boast…AWESOME! thanks for sharing!

  3. Lara

    Thanks for linking up on my blog today. Oh, that comparison battle has been known to get me entangled as well. And yes, contentment. How I want to say with Paul, “I have learned in all things to be content.” Blessings, sister-friend.

    • Heather MacFadyen

      oh yes, to be content in all circumstances…”whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want”. Even when we Americans have been given so much (compared to the rest of the world, our poorest are their richest), we can be some of the most ungrateful and discontent groups of people. Thanks for the reminder from paul. Thank you also for your “every. thought. captive” series…would make a great eBook!

  4. Momma Kristi

    Oh I love this. I have that book by Linda Dillow. I’ll have to actually read it!!!

    Thx for sharing!!

  5. Brooke

    What book is that quote by George MacDonald from?

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