I know you. You are a perfectionist. You try to do anything and everything perfect. Not only that, but you want people to know you are doing it perfect. The devastating part of it is this: you are not perfect—no matter how hard you try to be.
So naturally, you fail sometimes. You fall short. You make mistakes, you let people down and you even let God down sometimes—you sin.
Then the fear comes. “Do people know I have so many flaws?” you ask yourself. “Do they know I am not who I claim to be? Do they know how pathetic I really am? Do they know I am not perfect?”
It is at this point, when you feel worthless and are vulnerable, that Satan is able to twist your thoughts. You start to compare yourself with others. “If I was just more like so and so, then people would really think I was someone.”
You start to imagine what it would be like if you had the same opportunities that your successful peers have. You think, “If I was just as good looking as they are”, “If I had a circle of friends like they do”, or “If I could preach as good as they can” or even “if I had the perfect job, perfect spouse and perfect family they do then I would be worth something.”
This list could go on and on. You know this is true and I know this is true. This is because this isn’t just something that you struggle with, but this is something that I have struggled with, too. In reality, if you were to talk to others about this struggle, you would realize that just about everyone has had these thoughts a some point in their life.
I remember sitting in a Bible class in high school and we talked about covetousness. Covetousness is having the desire to have what someone else has. You see one of your co-worker’s cars and you want to have it and express jealousy over this car. In my mind, this was not a real sin. It was something you heard about in Bible class, but it was just one of the Ten Commandments and no one really struggles with it today.
Once I started college I began to notice a trend. I had the habit of comparing myself with others—especially when I was feeling down. When I saw a person who was doing very well in their life, I had thoughts like, “Why do I not have what they have?”
When that door is open, a long never-ending road appears. Why? This is because someone will always appear to be better. Someone will always have a better job, better grades, a nicer house, preach for a bigger, more well-known church, have more money or be more popular. Someone will always just seem to have it all together just a little bit more that you do. That is the trap.
This all became real to me when I heard someone say this: “Covetousness is when you begin to count other people’s blessings instead of your own.” We need to realize that God gives each one of us different talents (Matt. 25:14-30). He blesses each one of us in a different and unique way. He opens different doors for each one of us (Col. 4:3-4). There is a place for everyone in the kingdom (Rom. 12:3-8).
We need to stop comparing ourselves to other people, because the truth is that they have struggles just like we do. The only perfect person to ever walk this earth was Jesus Christ. He is the only one we should compare ourselves to and imitate (Phil. 2:3-5; Eph. 5:1). Be like Jesus. Be the person that God created you to be.
If you have been comparing yourself to your peers, then I have a challenge for you: grab something to write with and a piece of paper, and write down every way that you can think of, in which God has blessed you. Keep this list and reread it in times of discouragement and add to it as God continues to bless you.
As the song goes “Count your many blessings; name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”
by Noah Icenhour