Girlfriends in God March 18, 2016 The Comparing Game Gwen Smith Today’s Truth Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised (Proverbs 31:30). Friend to Friend We live in a competitive world. The pressures to be thin, beautiful, fit, smart, sexy, funny, rich, and popular trap us in a relentless vise-grip. Anyone can become gripped by a disorder or an addictive lifestyle. You could be a college student, a businesswoman, a nurse, a mom, a dance instructor, a retail clerk, or a Sunday school teacher. No one is exempt. Feelings of inadequacy and inferiority ravage hearts of Christians and non-Christians alike. Our attempts to measure up are all-consuming traps. They focus our attention inward verses upward. When we get caught in the trap of striving to measure up, we focus on ourselves. That was never God’s plan. We were designed to focus on Him. Shifting our attention from ourselves to God will change our perspective. God longs for our obsession to be Him. “I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols” (Isaiah 42:8). The Dangers of Comparing A common way we attempt to measure up is through comparison. Comparing is one of the most dangerous and destructive behaviors that we women engage in. We compare everything—our husbands, our children, our churches, and our cars. We compare our homes, our schedules, our finances, our blessings, and our burdens. There is a subtle, internal dialogue that plagues our minds and causes us to pull out our measuring sticks and hold them up to the people around us. That’s not to say that we should isolate ourselves or withdraw from awareness of others. We need to be able to relate to our friends, families, and neighbors. No question. But we shouldn’t compare ourselves to them. Comparing your life, your family, your stuff, your failures, and your accomplishments to that of someone else is dangerous. Very dangerous. It draws the focus of your heart to you instead of to God. The comparing game also brews a bitter cup of jealousy and resentment. I should know. I’ve tasted more than my fair share of that bitter drink. No, we in the church are not immune to comparisons by a long stretch! How many times have you looked across the aisle and thought, “She’s such a godly woman I wish I was more like her,” or “I wish I could pray like her (or sing like her, or speak like her, or bake like her, or be popular like her, or be organized like her)”? Often the things we compare are completely meaningless, fluffy things… Do you have a girlfriend with perfect hair? How about a girlfriend with a husband who treats her as a precious jewel? Got a friend whose house is crazy-organized? Do you have a friend who works out faithfully and looks like she belongs on the cover of a fitness magazine? Got one of those? Sure you do. So do I. Honestly, my list of shortcomings could go on forever. I’m keenly aware that I fall short in many areas. It’s easy to listen to the voices in your head that say, “You’re not this, and you’re not that. You don’t do this well, and you can’t do that.” Your internal comparison dialogue is a vicious measuring stick that the enemy loves to wave in your face. Your defense in such an attack should be God’s truth.You were made to be you, and are called to be uniquely you, for Him. Yes, we should strive to live lives of excellence. And yes, we should be aware of personal areas that need improvement. But God intends that we should bloom where we are planted and thrive in our gifting’s so that His church can function in a healthy, balanced way. In the New Testament book of 1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul shows us clearly that each of us has a divine design and an important role to play in the Body of Christ. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body (1 Corinthians 12:14-20, NASB). God has a special plan for your life. God’s gifts for you are the best gifts for you to possess. He fashioned you in His image and tenderly knit you in your mother’s womb. You are purposed to be a God-loving YOU. It’s time we quit chasing the interests of others and start pursuing the passions that were written on our hearts. Our role in the Body of Christ is essential. God wants us to stop trying to measure up to everybody around us and be content in Him. Let’s Pray Dear God, please renew and transform me from the inside out! When feelings of inferiority, insecurity, and self-doubt creep into my heart, help me to see myself the way you do. I want to be held tightly by your truth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Now it’s Your Turn Read Ephesians 2:1-10. What observations can you make about the depth of God’s love for you and the unique design He has for your life? Do you accept how much you’re loved by God? Does it impact how you perceive yourself? Pray about it and write in your journal if you’re the journaling type.