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 second 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.
Comparison may start innocently enough, but it quickly escalates to the point where you can’t stop thinking about it and sometimes, it even cripples you to the point you can’t move forward.
Am I right, or am I alone in this experience?
One of the most dangerous things about comparison is that it can lead to self-doubt, and once self-doubt has entered the picture, it’s difficult to focus on anything except the fears that are now slowly entering your mind:
- Fear that you’re not doing enough
- Fear that you don’t have what it takes
- Fear that you’re not smart/good/pretty/fill-in-the-blank enough
- Fear that you’ll never be quite as (whatever) as so-and-so
- Fear that somehow, God’s forgotten about you while He’s busy blessing everyone else
When we compare ourselves to others and begin to entertain self-doubts, we move farther and farther away from living our calling and from dwelling in a place of peace, contentedness, joy, and gratitude because we’re too busy battling our fears to focus on anything else. We begin to worry that we either aren’t worthy of, or aren’t capable of, being as blessed as our sisters in Christ are. Before we know it, we’ve gotten out of our own God-given lane and we’ve pulled over to the side of the road to hyperventilate, too full of fear and self-doubt to move forward.
So if you’ve pulled over and parked in the Self Doubt Lane, then let me offer a couple of tips on how to get back in your own lane with confidence and - yes, excitement:
1. Come back to your purpose.
You have a unique purpose and calling on your life that no one else has because God created only one you. And He has specific things planned for you that He doesn’t have planned for anyone else - special adventures, special blessings, special seasons, special learnings - it’s all custom-made just for you by our Heavenly Father. So when you feel overcome by comparison and self-doubt, remind yourself that you have unique gifts and unique opportunities that God has given to you and only you, and He’s chosen YOU for specific tasks to use those gifts of yours.
When we come back to our purpose, we realize that there’s really nothing to compare because how can we compare one God-given purpose against another God-given purpose?
By the way, please don’t panic like, “I DON’T KNOW MY PURPOSE WHAT AM I GONNA DOOOO???” Take a deep breath, my friend! I don’t believe purpose is something we do. It’s not an activity. It’s not our jobs or occupations. It’s easy to look at those things to give us our identity, but that’s not where our identity comes from. (But that’s another blog post for another day.)
I believe purpose is something we are given. It’s something God plants within us and the Holy Spirit nurtures as we grow in Him. It’s something that He uses to guide us and work out within us and through us as we go about our day-to-day lives and as we move toward the calling He has placed on us in our current season. While we each have a unique purpose and calling, our general purpose is the same as every other Christian: to bring glory to God in all we do.
2. Come back to God’s character.
We may not realize it, and some of us may strongly deny it, but really, by doubting ourselves, we’re doubting God. We’re doubting His calling on our lives (and thus believing He doesn’t know what He’s doing), and we’re doubting His power to work out that calling in us (and thus doubting His ability).
So when we start doubting ourselves, we need to remember who He is:
He is all-knowing. Being all-knowing, He wouldn’t give us special gifts and then not allow us to use them, would He?
“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable.” - Hebrews 4:13
He is faithful. Being faithful, He wouldn’t forget about us or withhold blessings from us as His children without a reason, would He? (I say without a reason because there are times when He withholds blessings from us, but again, that’s another post for another day.)
“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.” - Lamentations 3:22-23
He is good. Being good, He wouldn’t give one of His children an amazing gift and give another child a “just ok” gift, would He?
“The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all His creation.” - Psalm 145:9
You CAN stay in your own lane and love every minute of it.
Reminding yourself of God’s character is a powerful way to get back in your own lane because you’re focusing on HIM (and He can’t change, so you know He’s going to come through for you if you’re being obedient to Him), and you’re focusing on what He has done, is doing, and will do. It also reminds us that He is faithful to fulfill the plans He made (because HE made them) and to complete the work He began within us (because HE began it).
“God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished...” - Philippians 1:6
Reminding yourself of your God-given purpose is a surefire way to get excited and stay excited about being in your own lane because it’s YOUR lane - the one God’s given to you and only you! The lane He’s equipped you for and that He’s going to guide you in, to teach you in, to bless you in, and to most definitely USE YOU IN!
And when those things come into alignment, that’s when we can’t help but be grateful.
We can’t help but praise Him with joy and thank Him with contentedness.
We can’t help but wake up each morning with excitement - eager to see what God has for us today in our journey.
We can’t help but pull away from self-doubt and get back in the lane that leads to His blessings and goodness… our own purpose-filled lane that He’s lovingly and knowingly given us.
I hope these tips on overcoming self-doubt have been helpful!
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