Have you ever found yourself thinking, “If I could just lose those last 10 pounds…”, “If I could only get that promotion…”, ” If I could only have nicer things…”(and the list goes on). If you are living and breathing on this earth, then there’s a strong possibility that you’ve found yourself thinking these types of thoughts whether you realize it or not.
As women, much of where we feel our ‘imperfections’ lie are discovered only after we measure ourselves against others. Often times, we may even feel like we ‘look pretty good’, or that ‘we’ve got great things going for us’ only to go outside of our homes and see someone who has something that we don’t. Suddenly, we find ourselves feeling dissatisfied, wishing that we could change or improve something about our lives.
I’ve definitely been a victim to this way of thinking, and I’ve observed it in people all around me. The problem with this mentality is that it leads us to a place where we never feel ‘good enough’ no matter how we change, what we own, or what we weigh. Often times, even if we do finally reach ‘that goal’ that we’ve set out to reach, we may feel content for a short time, but often times, these feelings of inadequacy almost always find a way to creep back into our thinking. This is sure to rob us of the joy of our present circumstances and the good things that are in our lives.
This cycle of comparing and competing that so many of us get trapped in ultimately means we will always be able to find someone or something ‘better’ than what we currently have, which leads us to constant feelings of discontentment. While doing this, we waste valuable time that we could be enjoying the progress that we have made, and realizing that we have come a long way from where we used to be!
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that there’s something wrong with wanting to improve areas of our lives and setting goals… But I’ve noticed that our society has a way of pushing beyond self-improvement to a place of striving, which ultimately stems from competing and comparing ourselves to others.
I can testify that I have done this many times in my own life. After reaching many different goals that I’ve set out to fulfill, I have found that it didn’t take long before I would end up focusing on something or someone else that was just a few steps ahead of me. This would ultimately leave me feeling like I haven’t reached where I wanted to be just yet. Instead of taking the time to enjoy the progress that I had made, or just to be content with all the good things around me, I would allow these feelings of insufficiency to continue to drive me.
It wasn’t long before the Lord began to deal with this mentality in me. He started by leading me to Galatians 6:4 in His word. This verse says, “Make a careful exploration of who you are, and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t compare yourself to others.” Now, I know what you’re thinking… “Wow, this verse instructs that you need to stop comparing yourself to others!” However, I didn’t quite grasp this truth right away… It really took a good period of time of renewing my mind with the truth before I truly began to recognize that my feelings of jealousy and insecurity were doing nothing more than leaving me to suffer needlessly.
Once I began to ask God to help me in this area, He began to show me that He made me perfectly and wonderfully complex! He brought me to verses that said, “He saw me before I was born and every day of my life was recorded in His book,” and that “Every moment of my life was laid out before a single day had passed!” (Psalm 139:16). Therefore, I realized that there was no need for me to anxiously strive, compare, or compete anymore, because the Lord has already planned out every day of my life for me. He designed me with a specific purpose that only I could fulfill!
I had a revelation that all we really have to do is come to God every morning and ask, “Lord what would you have me do with this day of life that you have given me?” And from there, all we need to do is sink ourselves into that, setting our daily goals based on what the Lord has instructed us to do! And then we REST knowing he will instruct us and show us the next step to take.
Another neat thing about changing this way of thinking is that it frees up our time and our mind from thinking about ourselves and what ‘we don’t have’ to focusing on others and ways that we can bless them (which is what life is all about after all!).
If you’ve ever found yourself in a place where you feel like you just aren’t measuring up, here is a prayer that I wrote down in my journal that has really helped me when I find myself struggling with feelings of inadequacy, jealousy, or dissatisfaction, (which is ultimately designed to keep us from enjoying the life that God has planned for us!)
“Holy Spirit, I pray that you would show me when I’m comparing myself to others, and to bring back these truths back to my remembrance when I’m tempted to compare myself with others, and feel like I’m not quite ‘good enough’ yet. I ask you Lord to please show me the work that you have for me, and I pray that you would help me to sink myself wholeheartedly into that and to be content while following your plan for me! I thank you Lord for making me so wonderfully complex and for laying out every single day of my life before I was born. I thank you that I am precious to you, and that you love me just as I am right now. Please help me to see myself as you see me, In Jesus Name, Amen!”
Katie Farrell is the author of Dashing Dish, a healthy recipe website and ministry to women. Katie is a registered nurse from Michigan, where she lives in Brighton with her husband of five years. Dashing Dish is a combination of Katie’s passions—helping women find their identity in God and ending misconceptions about healthy eating. Katie wants to inspire women to find the balance between spiritual and physical health, all while enjoying the journey!
Learn more about Katie’s new book, Devotions for a Healthier You, at www.dashingdish.com/books/devotional