“I’m struggling with comparison. It is eating me alive and all I can think about. Everywhere I turn I find my mind wandering to who I’m not, what I don’t look like, what I don’t have. Can you give me advice?”
I receive texts like this all the time. Whether you’ve sent a text like that or you can just relate, we all struggle with comparison. Society, social media, billboards, friends, movies, music—they all tell you, “You are not enough.” So what do we do about it? I’d like to provide some insight and practical steps to ward off the enemy (because let’s be real—this is spiritual warfare for our minds).
Step One: Turn It Off, Delete the App, Close the Account
First Corinthians tells us that when we are tempted, God will provide a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). Have you ever been to an escape room where you get locked in and have to solve clues or riddles in order to get out? If you are claustrophobic or don’t like the thought of being in a room with no way out, I’m assuming you would not play the game, correct? Why do we treat temptation any differently? Sometimes the way out is never allowing ourselves to be in a situation where we know we will be tempted. God has given us incredible minds that allow us to think ahead. If you are a follower of Christ, He’s given you the gift of the Holy Spirit who warns us when we are about to walk into a situation where we will knowingly face temptation.
I’m not anti social media. But I am all about being proactive in our pursuit of righteousness. Allowing ourselves to open an app where we know we will be tempted to compare ourselves to others is like going into an escape room knowing you will have a panic attack. Instead of feeling the pressure, seeing what you don’t have, or judging those you follow, just don’t go in. Stop following those people. Delete your app. Close your account altogether if you have to. It is better to feel like the only one not on social media than to be so consumed by it that your joy is stolen because of the temptation to compare yourself with others.
Step Two: Equip Your Mind
Scripture is clear that sin begins in the heart and mind (Matthew 15:19). If you trace sin back to where it started, it goes from your own desire or thoughts to temptation to sinning, which leads to spiritual death (James 1:14-15). Our battle is not against our friends and family, our social media followers, or even the social media Influencers, but against the powers of this dark spiritual realm (Ephesians 6:12). If we are going to combat the enemy for victory over our minds, we must equip ourselves with the proper tools for battle.
Ephesians 6 helps us prepare for battle by giving us the armor we need to take up. This is an active call to believers. We can’t just assume it or passively equip ourselves. We must take it up ourselves and prepare for the warfare that is all around us. Our only offensive weapon is the sword, which is the Word of God. We must be studying God’s Word continually, filling our minds with truth. Philippians says to think on things that are true (Philippians 4:8). How can we know what is true if we aren’t actively studying the Word of Truth?
More than that, we are equipping ourselves for war. If we know that comparison is the enemy, we must find out what is true about ourselves. Dig into God’s Word to figure out how you were created, by Whom, for what purpose, and the promises you gain by being a child of God. Claim these Scriptures over your heart and mind. Memorize them. Put them on your mirror, in your car, as the wallpaper on your phone, on a sticky note on your computer, and anywhere you will see them frequently, especially in places you know you could face temptation. These words give life. The only comparison needed is making sure your life reflects what you’re reading in the Word of God.
Step Three: Put on Your Glasses
Have you ever been to a 3D movie? You’re given special glasses to wear for the duration of the film. These lenses allow you to see clearly. Without them, lines are blurry, the experience is not nearly as good, and people’s responses don’t really make sense. Our worldview is the same. When we have a biblical worldview and see the world, others, and ourselves through the lens of Scripture—the way our Creator intended us to—we see His creativity and purpose more clearly. Without the proper lenses, your experiences are not as good, sin lines are blurred, and people’s responses don’t make sense. After disconnecting from the social media platforms that deflate you, and then filling your mind with the truths of Scripture, you need to make sure your worldview is in line with the Word of God. How do you see others? Speak to them? Speak about them?
You were fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), and so were the people around you. Through the lens of Scripture, we can clearly see that each person is created for a specific purpose—a beautiful, one-of-a-kind purpose. This gives us clarity and keeps comparison in check. We were not called to do or be what the person next to us has been called to do or be, so don’t cheapen it by comparing your purpose.
Step Four: Choose Wisely
All of these things are a lot to consider. I’d venture to say we all have a lot of work to do. Are you feeling overwhelmed? I get it. But that’s where step four comes in. You weren’t created to live life on your own. It is vital to surround yourself with people who will speak TRUTH into your life and encourage you, pray for you, and remind you of God’s promises. These might be friends, family, pastors, small group leaders, teachers, coaches, or anyone! Although it requires action on your part, it is vital to your success in the area of fighting comparison. We all need to hear an outside voice reminding us of who we are in Christ and what He longs for us to be.
Choose your friends and closest mentors wisely. Make sure they have a biblical worldview that aligns with Scripture. This also includes who you follow on social media and who you allow to follow you (those likes and comment sections carry a lot of weight). Maybe you need to do some unfriending or unfollowing. Tread carefully here because you don’t want to come across as saying, “I’m trying to be holy and you are not, so we can’t be friends.” If conversations must be had, frame them as though you need to take time for outside voices to be lessened and the Lord’s voice to be more evident. Then prayerfully take steps to walk away from friendships that are toxic to your heart. If a close friend has a problem with that, then maybe that person shouldn’t be a close friend in the first place. We want close friends to push us toward a right relationship with Christ! Be active in this, friends.
Where to Go From Here?
Where do you start? I’ve outlined a few steps for you to take, but let me be the first voice to remind you of the words of the One who created you. What are some things you can know about yourself, simply because God made you and you have accepted His forgiveness for your sins? I’ll get your sticky note list started:
- You are fearfully and wonderfully made, intricately knit together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:14-15).
- You are a child of God, joint heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17).
- You have the gift of the Holy Spirit, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11).
- You have eternal life and will be in the presence of God forever (Romans 6:23).
- You are loved by God. There is nothing you could ever do to make Him not love you (Romans 8:39).
- In spite of any sin you commit, God offers His forgiveness to you (Acts 13:38).
Dig in and find more truths to claim! You are enough! There is no need to look to the right or to the left at what others have or who they are. Look in that mirror (which now contains written reminders) and see that you are His. Because of that great gift, you are enough.