rebelling against low expectations

The Problem With Comparison


“If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.” — Galatians 6:3-5

Comparing is something I struggle with daily. There are days that don’t go smoothly for me, and I fall into the trap Satan gives me called self-pity. I have wasted so much of my time crying over things I didn’t have or couldn’t do, and it embarrasses me.

If someone has more free time than I, I will be griping. If someone has flawless skin and amazing clothes, I will be searching online for more things I don’t need. I even compare myself to bigger families, wishing my family was as big as theirs! Obviously when I think things like that I am not taking reality into account.

There is always going to be something that you won’t be able to get or become.

“And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” — Ecclesiastes 4:4

We are so stuck in this world that we get our priorities messed up. We want to impress the world, so we try our hardest to fit in and make sure that we measure up. We look to those around us and think that we need to prove ourselves to them by becoming better than them. There are so many things we do, think, and say that we really would never do if we would just try to be who God created us to be.

It is so easy for us to look at other people’s lives and see only the good things. We never take into account that they had a family member die, or that they have to move every two years. We just look at their vacations, their possessions and their accomplishments.

But isn’t it ironic? People are looking at you and thinking the exact same things! The grass is always going to look greener. We are always going to want what we don’t have. Doesn’t comparing sound bleak, tiresome and boring all of a sudden? There is no win! All we get is a headache and a feeling of ungratefulness.

We try to fix ourselves by looking to the right and to the left, when we should be looking up.

“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” — 2 Corinthians 10:12

When we compare ourselves, we either feel inferior or superior. Have you ever secretly rejoiced at people’s failures? When my friends get lower grades in school than me, or I hear that someone failed the driving permit test more than I did (It took me 3 times to pass it, so you don’t meet people like that often!), it makes me feel better about myself in the dirtiest way. So why do I still do it?

Comparison doesn’t just hurt me; it affects everyone around me. When I compare how far along in school I am to what others are doing, it hurts my mom because I am not acknowledging all that she is already doing.

When I compare the behavior or character of my siblings to how other kids are acting, instead of encouraging my siblings, I am breaking them down.

I can get bitter when I feel like I don’t have as much as the people around me.

How many people have I caused to stumble or not see God in me because of my selfishness?

So once we realize that no earthly achievements are going to change God’s love for us, we are safe from ever comparing, right? Wrong.

Who else reading this compares spiritual achievements? Like, “That person prays more than me! I need to pray longer!” Or, “That person is so on fire for God; they can’t stop doing good works in his name! I have to do more!” I compare myself to people memorizing entire books of the Bible or praying for everyone they know every morning, and I feel… inferior.

You will never find peace in comparison, but only in the eyes of God.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” — John 14:27

In trying to become better than those whom I was comparing myself to, I tried to accomplish as much as I could in a day. At the end of the day I would go to bed feeling angry and defeated because I did not cross everything off my list.

But the day that I sat down and asked God to lay on my heart what HE wanted me to accomplish, something amazing happened.

I didn’t finish that sewing project, or write that friend, but I did finish all that I had written down.

God knew what the day would hold and just what I would be able to get done, and He wanted me to find this out long ago.

Don’t make the same mistake I did.

There is emptiness in us because of our need for a Savior, for something more lasting and promising than this world. We try to fill that emptiness with affirmation, but no amount of earthly “encouragement” will fill that void. God, the Creator who spoke and made the universe, is trying to tell us, His creations, in so many ways every single day how He sees us.

If we realized that the only affirmation that will ever fill us up isn’t found in comparing ourselves to others, but just keeping our eyes on God, how much peace would we have?

Yes, we are seriously messed up. Yes, we have a lot of growing to do. But we have to let God work in us so His plans can be fulfilled in us.

We will go to bed at night not accomplishing what we wished we had, but as long as God is at the center of our life and we are letting him handle our days, we will feel peace.

God has a life purpose that is uniquely for you, so why would you want someone else’s life?

We should learn to say, “I want to take my cues from God. I want to see myself as He sees me; as a person messed up and yet so beautiful to Him. A person that Has a lot of growing to do, is far from perfect and needs a lot of changes in his/her heart and life. But a person that God loves without having to perform: to have that job, or be that person. Nothing I do is going to change how God looks at me.”

Whose measurement or standard should you use when it comes to evaluating yourself? Yours? The people around you? The people on TV or in the magazines who don’t really look or live that way? Or God’s?

So how do you compare?

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Photo courtesy of Sergey Sus and Flickr Creative Commons.

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About the author

Carolyn Taylor

is 16 and the oldest of 8 kids. She loves sorting her thoughts out on paper and is homeschooled in the beautiful farmlands of Illinois. She enjoys doing anything outside, creating jewelry, reading, playing the guitar and traveling with her family. Her top loves though are her family, her Savior and of course, her chocolate.


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  • This is great! 😀

    I have struggled with this through with my movies. I was CONSTANTLY finding myself comparing them to other people’s.
    I am in the long process of making a feature length stop motion Jesus film. I haven’t begun filming, but I was always am thinking, “this will be better than ____” . . . I had often found myself saying afterwards. Who am I doing this for??? God? Or man and the things of this world?

    Don’t let pride get in stop you. Pride is a barrier. While you think of the great things you will accomplish, time is slipping by. Although I am more self secure than I was then, I still struggle with

  • This is great! 😀

    I have struggled with this through with my movies. I was CONSTANTLY finding myself comparing them to other people’s.

    I am in the long process of making a feature length stop motion Jesus film. I haven’t begun filming, but I was always am thinking, “this will be better than ____” . . . I had often found myself saying afterwards. Who am I doing this for??? God? Or man and the things of this world?

    Don’t let pride stop you from doing things for God. Pride is a barrier. While you think of the great things you will accomplish, time is slipping by. Although I am more self secure than I was then, I still struggle with this. We are all human and we all fall sometimes. But by looking for God for help, He will help us through anything! Comparing yourself to others can only stop you from doing things for God, and it can often make create a broken soul. In fact many of the broken people in this world are ones who compared themselves to others.

    I love this article, it will surely make me aware not to compare myself to others. Thanks Carolyn! 😀

    • I’m so glad that it sounds like this article was relevant for you! And thank you for being honest with your struggles. Transparency truly is a beautiful thing. I loved how you said, “Pride is a barrier.” So true. Comparison is not just putting ourselves down, but also building ourselves up, and I struggle with pride a lot, as well. And stubbornness. Thank goodness God forgives messed up people such as ourselves! 🙂 Thank you for making those points, Liam, they gave me a lot to think about and added to the article! 🙂

    • SO true! I definitely start to feel envious and unsatisfied when I look at what other people have. And Theodore Roosevelt was a pretty smart guy! 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  • I can definitely relate with the family one. I have five siblings, and three are out of the house, but sometimes I feel jealous of the people with more siblings or even nieces and nephews. My friend and her older brother have a super relationship, and I have always wanted an older sibling who was closer in age that I could look up to and have fun doing the sibling stuff together, so when I see her I often regret that there is eleven years between me and my closest older sibling.
    I’m glad I am not the only one who feels this way, and that I know I’m not facing this one alone. 🙂

    • Thank you for reading this and being so honest! You are definitely not alone on this one, and I completely know where you are coming from with the siblings! I have always wanted an older brother! 😉 Have an awesome day! 🙂

  • Very meaningful article, I liked the fact that you included many verses. One of my favorite books of the Bible is Ecclesiastes. People (myself included), are incredibley vain…and all this time when we should be working to meet God’s expectations, we worry about what other humans are thinking about us?!
    Your article really helps keep things in perspective! Thanks for writing, God Bless.

    • I love Ecclesiastes, too. (Although I have no idea how to spell it! 😉 It can be a bit of a downer at some points, but I think sometimes we need something more than pep-talks. My ultimate favorite books of the Bible, if I had to choose, would definitely be Isaiah, Philippians and Colossians.

      It really does seem so silly that we worry about what other people think of us when Someone SO much more important already loves us. It’s so natural for us to want to be in someone’s good graces, but when doing so goes against God’s plan for us, it gets messy. This is especially hard for me, because sometimes I want to watch that one movie or go to that one function just so that someone will think better of me. But, (this just came to me!) if we feel like the person we are hanging around is evaluating us based on doing what they do, maybe we should find a new friend.
      Ha, I kind of rambled! Thanks for your comments, Ezra! Have a God-filled day!

      • Interesting point about evaluating friendships. I mean, obviously God is not against competition (he compares the Christian walk to a race, etc. all the time), but when we begin to get obsessed with or idolize “winning”…we need to watch out! Thanks for your reply, have a great day remembering Christ’s death and resurrection!

  • This is a great article Carolyn! I definitely struggle with comparison, negative or positive. This article is a great reminder to look to God and His standards. 🙂

    I would just like to mention that I think there is a fine line between comparison and inspiration. Especially with the spiritual stuff, I think there are two things we can think when we see someone “praying longer than us” or whatever: we can compare ourselves and feel inferior, defeated, less-than-holy, etc. Or we can look up to them, acknowledge where they are more mature than us and be inspired, spurred on to greater heights of faith and life. Just throwing it out there!


    • Thank you so much for reading this!

      I am SO glad you pointed that out! My parents had actually mentioned when I was writing this article that comparison can be inspirational and teach us to grow. I have no idea why I didn’t put it in there, so I am really glad that you pointed that out! I hope other readers see your comment, because that really added to it. 🙂 Thank you so much for digging deeper and sharing your thoughts! I do think we all need to have a couple wise, spiritual mentors (like our parents) that we can look to for inspiration and encouragement! Blessings to you, as well! 🙂

  • There are a lot of quotable notes here, Carolyn! Great job! You just inspired me so much. There is more to life than those material things that we acquire. Don’t compare ourselves with others.The most important thing in life is our relationship with God and I believe that with Him, there is true happiness that encompasses everything 🙂 Hoping to read more from you. Thanks and God bless! Wayne Marte here from the Philippines.

    • Thank you so much for your encouragement! I am blessed with amazing parents and mentors so I can hardly take credit for anything I write here. To God be the Glory! 🙂 And yes, praise God that He holds everything we will ever need! I am so foolish to ever look anywhere but to Him! So glad that people are getting this. 🙂

      Pagpalain kayo ng Panginoon!

    • Thank you for your honesty! This is something that I have struggled with for so long, and I am still trying to overcome daily. I am so glad that it was convicting for you. We are SO blessed to have such a loving and caring God! 🙂

  • SO TRUE!!!!!!! So many people fall into the sin comparison, including me! Even if it’s things they don’t like to do, like draw for instance. I just had an experience with comparison. I art class, we’re drawing self-portraits. You have no idea how many people compare their self-portrait to another persons. How can you even do that? I mean, we’re all different, so you’re basically comparing your hair or eyes or something to someone else’s. Comparison has started wars, people. WARS! Don’t fall into that trap! I did, and it was not pretty. Sin is something you can’t just say ‘no’ to once, it’s a lifelong battle.

    Don’t put your trust in comparison.

rebelling against low expectations

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