I frantically searched through my teal makeup bag for my heavy-duty foundation. After applying two full layers with little success, I gave up. This 24-hour makeup couldn’t cover up my puffy eyes, dark circles, and aggravated acne. My next genius move? I pulled up Instagram and clicked on the profile of one of the gorgeous gals I had recently met at church. Picture this: a beautiful blue-eyed blonde with clear skin, an outgoing personality, a great storyteller, an obvious love for Jesus, and an easy confidence that drew the attention of all the guys.
The more I scrolled through her photos, the more inadequate I felt. Envy took over, killing my contentment and subtly convincing me that my worth was somehow diminished. After comparing our bodies, our work, our faith, our relationships, and our social media presence, I turned back to my mirror. Uncontrollable tears burst through the dams of my eyes. No amount of cover up could mask my envious heart. Have you been there? Desperately wishing you had her confidence? Her strength? Her skinny waist? Her wit? Or her accomplishments? When comparison leads to envy, a whole host of problems surface. But what if comparison isn’t an inherently bad human tendency? What if comparison is meant to teach us to look more at Christ, instead of focusing on ourselves?
The Truth About Comparison
Our culture has bought into the lie that comparison can only steal joy. But what if comparison is actually meant to draw us closer to God in two key ways?
1. Comparison draws us closer to God’s character
Take a look at Jeremiah 10:6–7 (ESV).
“There is none like you, O Lord; you are great, and your name is great in might. Who would not fear you, O King of the nations? For this is your due; for among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms there is none like you.”Jeremiah 10:6-7 ESV
Woah. This passage is clear: The powerful kings, wise leaders, and their mighty kingdoms can’t compare next to Jesus.
Nothing measures up to the Creator who hangs and sustains the earth in the sky. Nothing measures up to the One who fashions starry galaxies out of dust. Nothing measures up to the Savior who lived a sinless life, humbled himself to a cross, and defeated death itself, so we can be made right with God. Comparison helps us see this truth: Nothing and no one compares to the King who reigns on his Heavenly throne.
2. Comparison helps us walk in alignment with God
In Ephesians 5:1–2 (ESV), Paul says,
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”ephesians 5:1-2 esv
Comparison is ultimately God’s idea. It’s a tool that can help us lead more godly lives through examining how our hearts are aligned with his heart.
Does our walk look like Christ’s walk? Are we living in truth like Jesus? Are we loving our enemies like Jesus? Are we forgiving easily and extending grace like Jesus? Comparison that draws us closer to the Father’s heart is beautiful, necessary, and oh so needed.
The Cost of Comparison
Comparison can easily breed envy when we let our thoughts spiral out of control. Proverbs 14:30 (ESV) says, “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.” Oof. That’s a hard verse to read. When comparison drives us to look more at ourselves instead of Jesus, it costs us. We either suffer with insecurities or pride. Both of these can diminish our belief in God and negatively affect the way we view our worth.
Have you felt that familiar ache? Maybe you’ve watched several of your college friends get married, while you’re still riding the singles struggle bus. (Girl, I’m with you!) You’re tired of waiting, you often question God’s timing, and you find yourself trying to force relationships that shouldn’t exist. It’s no wonder you’re hurting. Comparison has the wheel. Insecurities are driving you. And envy kills contentment. On the other hand, maybe you’ve secretly thought, “She’s such a mess. At least I look put together.” When you position yourself as better than another person, pride falsely boosts your sense of self-worth. You pat yourself on the back at the cost of judging someone else. Comparison has the wheel. Pride is driving you. And envy distorts reality.
The Fight for Freedom
Contentment dies where envy and pride lies. When you’re caught up in what the girl next to you is doing, you miss out on what God’s doing through you. Cheer your sista on, but stay in your lane. Remember that God is unfolding each one of our stories at different paces, in different ways, and through different circumstances. Here are three practical ways you can stop comparison from robbing your worth:
1. Own your envy
Whether envy manifests through insecurities or pride, confess your sin. If you don’t own it, you can’t move past it. Be brave and bold enough to admit to your faults, while remembering that Jesus has already forgiven you. There’s no room for shame or guilt to linger. Freedom begins when we come out of hiding and confess. While envy can distort truth, it can’t change what is absolutely true: your identity in Christ is rock solid.
2. Celebrate their strengths
Posture your heart towards gratitude and celebration. See differences as strengths and thank God for the good gifts he gives each one of us. Declare “Same God” over you and the person you’re comparing. Remind yourself that the same God in her is the same God in you. The same God who chose to step down into her mess has also chosen to step down into your mess. The same God who is doing a good work in her is the same God who is doing a good work in you.
3. Remind yourself of God’s character
When you’re tempted to compare yourself to someone else, choose to turn your eyes toward Jesus. How is God more than enough for you? Cling fast to His Word and speak truth over yourself. God. Is. Enough. He’s in control. He knit you together with purpose, grace, and beauty. He loves you as you are and challenges you to live into who he created you to be. He calls you into a life of abundance. When you know your identity is secure in Christ, you can freely live in your worth.
Felicia is the founder of Worthysoot, an online community where she writes and designs resources that help women confidently live in their worth—no matter what mess they carry. She’s a big fan of chai lattes, never-ending grace, and choosing to live loved in your deepest relationships. Follow her on Instagram and join the Worthysoot community at worthysoot.com/join.