Jimmy and I had a great conversation yesterday. He was sharing with me his tendency to compare his ministry to other artists and how God has sent him encouragement through John 21. It was later that day, when I began to sit down with God to pray, that I realized I struggle with the same thing. And honestly, I have probably dealt with this problem of comparisons on and off for most of my walk with God. Sometimes it is comparing myself to another girl’s looks or clothing, and other times to someone else’s spiritual state of being. This line of thinking breeds insecurity and creates competitiveness in my heart as I try to “keep up” with those around me.
I began to ask God what the root of this issue was; what is really going on in my heart when I begin comparing myself to other women in my life. The first thing that arose was pride: wanting to appear a certain way to others or maybe not appear a certain way. Whatever makes me look the best. (Man, pride just seems to be the root of all sorts of awful things.) Secondly, self-focus, instead of God-focus, is the problem. A comparing, competitive heart is all about self-promotion, not God-promotion.
On top of that, I lose sight of people when I compare myself to them. When I begin to do this, it may seem that I am looking at them, but really I am looking at myself. I am looking at others as though they were mirrors to see myself. It’s a selfish way to view people. Each person becomes a set of standards that I begin to measure myself up against to see how I am doing. In this way of thinking, I have ceased caring about the people themselves because I am so caught up in me. My friend may be having a horrible day, and yet when all I care about it why I don’t have what she has, I totally lose my ability to care for her and love her.
I repent of having a competitive, comparative heart.
In John 21, Jesus is having a conversation with Peter after His resurrection. Jesus predicts the kind of death Peter is to die and Peter’s response is to ask, “Well what about this other guy?”
“Now this Jesus said, signifying by what kind of death Peter would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to Peter, “Follow Me!” Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them. So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!”
-John 21:19-22, paraphrased.
The first thing that sticks out to me in this passage is the beginning of verse 20. Jesus just commanded Peter to follow Him, and the first thing Peter does is turns around to look at someone else! This is the exact opposite of what Jesus just commanded. So Jesus responds by saying, “What does it even matter to you what I do with someone else? They are not your concern. I am your concern. Follow me and no one else!”
I need to give up my intense concern with other people, and begin to only concern myself with Jesus and what He wants me to do as I follow Him. If He wants me to find all my clothes at GoodWill and not have as cute of a wardrobe as someone else, so what? I follow Him. If He wants me to be married before or after someone else, who cares? I follow Him. If He wants me to have children later than someone else, what should it matter to me? I follow Him. If He desires for me to have a smaller standard of living than others around me, I should not care. I follow Him.
My question should not ever be, “Why can’t I have what they have?” It should always be “Lord, what do You have for me today because I follow You?” I am praying today that He will give me the grace to get my eyes off of those around me and back onto Him. He should be my One Great Concern.
updated on 5/28/13