Comparison. It gets the best of all of us from time to time.
The thing about comparison is that if it’s left unchecked, it’ll lead to two other potentially crippling thought patterns: self-doubt and jealousy.
This blog post is the third in a three-part series on the topic of comparison. My goal for these posts is to show that although comparison is something we all struggle with, it’s something we all can overcome by firstly, becoming aware that we’re even doing it in the first place, and secondly, by taking the appropriate steps to change the way we think about ourselves and others.
This is the final blog post in my series on comparison, and this topic is an important one to our lives and spiritual growth because unfortunately, even if we avoid getting caught in the self-doubt trap, comparison has another trap waiting for us: jealousy.
Comparing ourselves to others will usually end with us feeling jealous of everyone else.
We want what they have. We want to look like them, live like them, and be like them in any way we can. We can’t focus on what God’s asking us to do because we want to be doing whatever they’re doing. We can’t fulfill our callings because we want to have their callings. And we most certainly cannot have an attitude of gratitude while being envious because we’re simply too busy wishing we had more/a different __________ (fill in the blank).
What we don't realize is that when we choose to stay jealous, we’re basically telling God that what He’s given us isn’t good enough.
That’s something I had to learn a long time ago. When we’re jealous, we tend to complain, and complaining to God is the same as saying to Him, “I’m not happy with what You’ve given me. I want more. I want something else. I want the same blessing You gave to my friend. Why can’t I have that, too?”
So the next time you start comparing, stop and ask yourself these questions:
1. What specifically am I jealous of here?
Asking ourselves what exactly we’re jealous of will cause us to slow down and realize one of two things:
1. We’re actually not jealous. I know it sounds weird, but sometimes if we ask ourselves if we really want what someone else has, the answer comes back as a big fat “NO”. So if you ask yourself this question and get a “no” answer, then return your thoughts to being grateful and praising God for what He’s doing in your life.
2. We actually are jealous of one or more aspects of someone else’s life. So once we’re clear on what exactly we’re jealous of, it’s time to move on to question number two.
2. What is my jealousy showing me?
Asking ourselves what we can learn from our jealousy will reveal some steps we can take when we get to question three down below. For example:
- Why do I want ____________? This is such a juicy question to ask yourself!
- Is it possible for me to be/do/have ______________? If I’m jealous over something like a friend losing ten pounds, then asking myself this question could reveal to me that it’s possible for me to become healthier, too.
And now my favorite question to ask at this stage:
- How would me being/doing/having ____________ bring glory to God? BOOM. Sometimes, like the example above of becoming more healthy, the answer to this one is obvious: Of course God would be honored if I take better care of the body He’s given me.
But sometimes, asking this question makes it clear to us that God has a different plan for us than He has for the person we’re comparing ourselves to. For example, many singles struggle with being jealous of their married friends, and yes, it can even be vice versa. In other words, sometimes we simply want what we want when we want it for no other reason than we want it - with no thought about God’s glory, plan, and timing, so asking yourself this question can be incredibly powerful and bring a lot of clarity to your jealousy situation.
3. How can I release my jealousy and move myself forward?
Asking ourselves how we can release our jealousy and move forward is the first step in breaking free from the jealousy trap. May I make a suggestion on where to start with this one? Pray. (You saw that one coming, didn’t you?) God already knows what you’re thinking and feeling, so telling Him about it isn’t going to surprise Him. In fact, He’s waiting for you to share it with Him so that He can help you break free and move forward into your own wonderful future that He’s had waiting for you!
Bonus Tip: If your jealousy isn’t just a one-time thought that popped into your head and you’ve been struggling with on-going jealousy, I would encourage you to spend some time confessing that to God (again, He already knows) and praying over the questions I mentioned above about what you’re specifically jealous of. Then ask Him for His grace, help, and wisdom to move forward.
After you’ve released your jealousy, spend some time praising and thanking God! Read His Word and let it really sink in, listen to some praise music to get your mind focused on Him, do what you need to do to keep your thoughts trained on God. Have a little celebration with Him for what He’s done in your life and what He’s about to do in you and through you!
Bonus Tip: If one of the things you were jealous of was something like the health-related example, and if you feel God leading you in that direction, then change your jealousy into an inspirational challenge for yourself and move toward your goal with a new mindset. This has been huge for me in overcoming comparison and jealousy. When I realize my thoughts are shifting from admiration to jealousy, I identify what it is I admire about the other person and then I ask myself how I can improve in that area. For me, viewing it as a goal has been so helpful because it motivates me and my mindset changes from something like: “She’s so cool! I want to be cool too! Why can’t I be cool? I’ll never be cool!” to "Ok I'm not where she's at, but I know with God's help He can grow me in this area" and I can begin to take action toward that new goal with God’s help and guidance.
When we take our eyes off of other drivers, we can see where we are going.
When we get back in our own lane - the right lane - we can finally go where we’re meant to go… the place we’ve been trying to get to on our own… the place God’s been waiting to take us to… our bright and blessed future in which we use our own unique gifts in our own marvelous way doing our own unique thing that God put us on this earth to do.
And I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a pretty awesome place to be.
In fact, I know it is!
Let’s learn to release our jealous thoughts to Him, to cheer on our sisters in Christ instead of tearing them down, and to shine in the unique way He’s calling each of us to shine!
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Hi! I'm Abigail, your real-talk Christian life coach and faith mentor. I believe we're on this earth for a reason, and I LOVE helping people realize and own that truth so that they can reach their God-given potential in all areas of life. Let’s be friends on Instagram or Facebook!
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