comparison hope

The Comparison Crutch

3:37 PMHeather

I'm so honored to use the platform of my blog to share the stories and songs of others. Today, my dear friend, Lauren Sparks, shares her struggles with comparison with such authenticity and honestly -- I know many of us can relate. Be encouraged by her wonderful writing. I couldn't be more humbled and proud to champion this amazing friend of mine.

“Who were you before someone told you who you were supposed to be?”   

I heard author and speaker Jo Saxton ask this question on a podcast and can’t shake it.  I can’t shake it because I can’t answer it.  Almost from birth we are bombarded by messages of who we are supposed to be.  Messages from our parents, our grandparents, teachers, churches, media and the culture at large.  Often the attributes assigned to us are confusing, foreign to our nature, or even contradictory.  It’s no wonder we struggle so much with adulting.  We’ve been sold a bill of goods about who we are, and the skin is often an uncomfortable fit. 

The lie I have believed all of my life is that I am not enough.  From at least twelve years of age, I judged myself not pretty enough.  I developed womanly curves several years earlier than many of my friends, and I saw these curves as “fat”.  The other girls looked like sticks.  The boys my age weren’t really interested in me.  I attracted only older boys.  And I knew that was because of these curves, so that made me feel a little trashy.  By college I was acting out on that - accepting the wrong kind of attention because it made me feel attractive.  For a few years as a young adult, I managed to squeeze myself into the culturally approved “beautiful” mold.  But the cost was too high.  A sub-clinical eating disorder, obsession with exercise, and a constant fear of gaining weight left me feeling like a fraud. 

I also believe the lies that I am not fun enough and not talented enough.  I struggle to see in myself anything special to draw others to me.  I long to be the life of the party – the friend that everyone wants.  So my lack of social invitations leave me feeling lonely and unnecessary.  I can be fiercely jealous of those with praise-worthy skills and abilities.  Those who sing or preach or teach or decorate.  I crave enviable gifts.  Even in my writing, I am easily distracted by doubts about whether or not I’m making any difference.  I can get so caught up in checking to see how many people are reading what I’m putting out.  Whether there are comments or “likes.”

Social media makes it too easy to compare.  When we all put our best posts and pictures forward, we can believe that everyone else has their stuff all together.  And I can even follow others who are doing it “better.” People who surround themselves with friends and exciting social engagements.  People who look better in their clothes and take pretty pictures.   

Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash
I envy those with the career I want.  Women with thriving ministries who get paid to write, speak. or podcast.  And when I allow self-reflection to consume me, when I give the ugly sin of coveting a space in my mind, I not only doubt myself, but I doubt my calling and belittle what I am doing for the kingdom.  I doubt the very Creator who made me exactly as I am and wants to use my talents for furthering His work.  “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice,” (James 3:16). 

When feelings of inadequacy consume me, I remind myself whom I’m living for.  As Paul asked in his letter to the Galatians:  “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God?  Or am I trying to please people?  If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ,” (1:10).   

Oh, with all my broken, battered heart I want to serve Christ.  So if Jesus is my audience, then what HE says about me matters most.  In Jeremiah 31:3 He says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”  Do you hear that, Lauren?  He loves me and He did NOT fail when He created me.  In fact, out of His kindness He made me to look just like I look and live and move just as I do.   

Do you hear that, reader?  He says the same about you. 

Romans 12:6 states, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.”  God specially gifted me and He graciously values my talents.  He says I am fearfully (reverently, awesomely, respectfully, honorably, astonishingly) and wonderfully made! (Psalm 139:14), and because of Jesus, I am the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

I wish I could permanently replace what I think of me with what God thinks of me. 

But in this broken world I am bombarded with too many other messages that are hard to ignore.  So when I catch myself descending into self-pity, discouragement or self-promotion, I combine all the above verses into a song.  A song I know my Savior sings over me.  He sings it, not for my self-gratification, but for His glory.  And I play it on repeat until I drown out the competing voices.  Then I do it again the next day.  And the next.  And I serve Him with my redeemed heart, until someday I will hear Him sing this song with perfect ears as God welcomes me into my heavenly home.  

More about the guest blogger:
Lauren Sparks
I love Jesus, my husband and caffeine. The order of these can change depending on how tired I am. When my two daughters, stepson, and 4 grandchildren get to be too much, I practice yoga. God graciously allows me to share our adventures, victories and flub-ups from my laptop. May He be glorified here.

Learn more about Lauren and read more of her writing at


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