By Joan Endicott
Remember when you were a child and you wanted something so badly that that’s all you thought about? Like me, did you ever promise your parents, “If I could just get that one perfect gift for Christmas, I would never ask for anything else, ever again in my entire life! Cross my heart and hope to die!”? Because you just knew that one thing would make you happy…forever after.
One such time for me was when I was in first grade and I wanted those super cool white go-go boots with the tassel in front — just like the Golddiggers dancers on TV had. Well, guess what? I got those groovy go-go boots for Christmas and loved them so much and felt like the happiest girl in the whole USA when I wore them. In fact, I was pretty darn sure I looked as super cool as I felt — to the point that, had I been taller, I just might have been mistaken for one of those Golddiggers from TV…at 6 years old.
Although those boots were made for walkin’ and dancin’ — which I did plenty of — they eventually wore out. Then it was on to the black patent leather shoes I had to have instead of the practical and sturdy never-wear-out-but-wish-they-would brown and beige saddle shoes my parents opted for. That’s probably when I learned to dislike the word “durable.”
Much of what we had was either homemade or hand-me-downs, so in fourth grade I just knew I’d hit the jackpot when I got some brand new, store-bought clothes, with tags still on them!I was so excited I could hardly wait to show my best friend, Robin. We talked on the phone and made plans to be together at her house the next day. Since her clothes were all store-bought, and very stylish, I just knew she’d love what I got. I couldn’t wait to show her.
The next day, I put on a couple layers of clothes since it was cold and that meant I could show her all of them when I went to her house. I walked in and under their Macy’s-perfect-looking Christmas tree were duplicates of the following for herself and her sister: a stereo; a pair of skis, boots and poles, and a season ski pass for Mount Hood Meadows…oh, and tickets for going to Hawaii with their parents over spring break.
I remember such a mixture of emotions as my heart sank into my stomach. First of all, I was dumbstruck at what they got and happy for them, while simultaneously thinking about what I got and feeling embarrassed and even ashamed. I pulled my coat tighter around my new clothes and when asked what I got, I sheepishly responded, “Oh just some clothes…” and quickly changed the subject.
This was when it really hit home for me that my best friend and I were in completely different categories. “Wow, they’re rich and I’m a loser!” I thought.
My Robin was truly my BFF for life — the best friend anyone could ever have. (So blessed to say that’s the case still to this day.) So, I was happy for her. But simultaneously, I was also sad for me once I compared and was bitten by that big bad envy bug.
My friend, comparison steals your joy. Every. Single. Time.
I know so many people who get sucked into the vortex of social media, and mindlessly scroll and scroll, leaving them feeling discouraged and disillusioned with their lives. They’re subconsciously programming themselves and feeding the lies that they’re not good enough or don’t have enough — in looks, career, money, relationships, travel or other opportunities. If that’s you, dear friend, puleeze, stop it! Don’t you dare compare your real life to someone else’s highlight reel on Facebook or Instagram. Remember, if it doesn’t serve a positive purpose, cut it out of your life — today!
All of us humans get caught in that darn “comparison trap” any time we lose track of who we are — which always starts with knowing Whose we are.
God hates envy and jealousy. He did not design or intend for us to compete with one another, rather, to work together to help complete each other. When we remember that “It’s not about me,” the next question begs, who is it about? God alone. We are here to bring honor and glory to Him.
It’s actually simpler than we make it. We either believe what God says about us or we don’t. Do your thoughts and words about yourself line up with His word that declares you are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” or are your words critical and self-condemning, contradicting His Word when you dare to compare?
I love the encouraging reminders of this truth in the song “You Say” (written by Paul Mabury / Lauren Daigle / Jason Ingram).
I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know.
You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing.
You say I am strong when I think I am weak.
You say I am held when I am falling short.
When I don’t belong, oh You say I am Yours.
I believe, oh I believe, what You say of me. I believe.
Verse 2 – The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me
In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity.
Verse 3 – Taking all I have and now I’m laying it at Your feet
You have every failure God, and You’ll have every victory.
Yes, I believe what You say of me.
Oh I believe.
So what do you do with comparison and envy?
I’ve created a very effective framework that I take myself and my coaching clients through. I hope it serves you as well.
- Pray and ask for love, wisdom and insight.
- Read and memorize pertinent Scripture to counteract the cultural norm of comparison, which naturally leads to envy.
- Acknowledge (with self-empathy) how you’re feeling, just like you would your best friend: “Right now, I’m feeling envious of this/that person because…”
- Then change the word “envy” to “admire.” (Because we never envysomeonewe don’t admire something about.)
- Identify what specifically you admire about them. (Let’s say someone is in excellent health and you’re envious of their energy level. The thing you admire about themmay be their level of self-discipline.)
- Then pray for God’s blessing over them. (Yes, really! No, you won’t feel like it — that’s why it’s so effective. You can’t be both envious and praying blessings over someone at the same time.) And ask the Lord tohelp you grow in that area as well.
- To top it off (for bonus points), send them a message and let them know what you admire about them, and thank them for their example.
Listen, the reality is, we get to be stewards of the temple, talents and time God’s given us — we’re not owners. Our only hope for living a joyful, happy, meaningful and peace-filled life is when we lose ourselves in Whose we are and believe His Word!
If this has blessed you in a particular way, I’d love to hear from you. Email me at: WeCare@JoanEndicott.com.
Joan Endicott is an Award-Winning Keynote Speaker, Author of “I Get To!”® founder of GIANT-Slayer Coaching and “WOW!” Women Owning Their Worth©. Her coaching reaches over 30 countries. Meet her and get her FREE videos, book excerpts and content at JoanEndicott.com. Follow her and enjoy her encouraging messages on IG!