Comparison + Competition
We teach our children to compete with one another. It is not a bad thing, but over time we learn to compare ourselves with others. Again, not always a bad thing; however, it can turn unhealthy pretty quickly. I learned at an early age that I did not measure up. Not by my Mother’s standards or by my classmates. Insecurities set in.
I developed an internal measuring stick that was full of lies. I believed I was not pretty, smart, talented and a number of other things. My Mother would say “Look in the mirror and see what others really see.” That statement taught me to compare myself or to look at myself in the eyes of what I thought others saw. Epic failure in the confidence builder department.
I got good a projecting what I thought others saw. I could hear how I did not measure up. Then to back up what I “heard”, I had friends actually say some pretty ugly things to me and about me. The negative tape I developed is one that I cannot seem to erase. I am working on it, but it is hard to stop something that plays so readily.
My comparison has a darker side, competition. I am not proud of this side of me because it has damaged friendships. Because I feel I do not measure up, I feel if I can just beat them then I will accomplish something. My Mother tore others down to make herself feel better. This was something I saw and made a conscious decision to not do that. However, in competing with my friends I have failed to cheer them on. I have failed to support them in a way that I long for myself.
Philippians 2:4 “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Competition and comparison change this verse for the bad. If I am looking at my own interests and also the interests of others with selfish ambition (vs.3 “do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit…”) then I have failed to put others ahead of me for the sake of the gospel. I have put myself before them, instead of their good before mine.
If I am only concerned with me, then I cannot be of one spirit with anyone else. Philippians teaches us to put others first, to be of one spirit, and to live a life worthy of the gospel. Sometimes we are blind to our selfishness. I was. I thought I put others first; however, I have come to realize there are some people in my life I do not put first. Family, yes and always first. Friends, um maybe.
I need to take off my old self, destroy the measuring stick of lies and put on the armor of God and start measuring myself and others with His eyes. If I can start to see myself through His eyes, then I can also start to see others through those same eyes. I desire to be an encourager, a cheerleader, and person who is living a life that shows the gospel of Christ inside and out.
My first step to bring about change is to acknowledge this issue. We are to confess our sins to one another, not to make someone else feel better about their own sin but in order to get the support we need to change that sin. My next step is to forgive. I have held onto hurts and in doing so I have some unforgiveness in my heart. Even a small amount is enough to keep me separated from God. Then comes prayer.
I have a scripture I have used multiple times in my blog because it is a prayer for me. Psalm 51:10-13 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” I am going to stop here for a second. This verse (vs.10) says all I need. “Create in me a clean heart,” get rid of all my pettiness, comparison, and competition, “and renew a right spirit within me,” that spirit needs to be a mirror of Christ. I need the right spirit within me to put others first, to be their supporter and to cheer them on in order to further the gospel. “Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.” (11-13) I hope that you pray this scripture over your life and whatever you are dealing with. It is a renewal of your Christ-centered spirit.
Are you all in for yourself or for the kingdom of God?