rebelling against low expectations

What Giving Up Comparison Taught Me About Following Jesus


“You don’t understand! Your life is perfect compared to mine! You wouldn’t understand.”

“Ha! You think my life is perfect? Oh, no…”

Comparison. That’s what it was.

I was recently watching one of my favorite TV shows, and this scene eerily reminded me of a scene from my own life. I had believed someone else’s life was perfect.  I complained that their life was perfect. I compared, allowing myself to become filled with poisonous jealously because they seemed to have the life—with the looks, the popularity, the friends and the opportunities—that I wanted.

The Comparison Trap

Every one of us has at some point compared ourselves with someone else. Especially with the growth of social media, which fuels comparison, more and more people are comparing themselves to others every day. Additionally, society’s excessive focus on GPAs, getting into competitive colleges, and jobs fuels comparison.

Who is the smartest, the most attractive, or the most talented? The world is constantly pressuring us to ask these questions. Comparison, however, leaves our heads spinning.  The fact of life is that there will always seem to be someone who has it “better” than we do.

It is human to compare, but that doesn’t mean it is right. When was the last time you compared your life with a friend’s or a strangers? When you was the last time you wished you had those friends, those clothes, that job, or those looks?

When was the last time you compared your phone, your face, your siblings, or your workload, with someone else’s? Honestly, I do it all the time. The problem we face is constant comparison that infiltrates our society today.

I’m sick and tired of constantly comparing my life with others. It’s so easy to look briefly at someone else and assume they have the perfect life…or at least the life we want. But we need to stop judging other’s lives from what we see on the outside.

Everyone has problems, pain, and struggles. We cannot judge someone’s else life and envy it. Because we simply don’t know what it looks like behind the scenes. Behind the smiles, laughter, and popularity, there are so many things that people hide.

I—we—need to stop this stupid, dizzying game.

But how?

I think Jesus has the answer.

My favorite Bible verse relating to this topic is John 21:21-22: “When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!’”

I love this verse! It is the ultimate answer to our comparison problem. When we ask: “What about this man?”  Or, “What about this person?”, Jesus has a short and sweet reply.  He says to us, “What is that to you?  You follow me!”

We must stop. Stop envying. Stop comparing. Jesus has you and me on a totally different path than that person with that “perfect” life over there. We should not compare in any way to anyone else.

As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” 

Often comparing our lives with others steals the joy that is so ready for us to claim.

When was the last time you thanked God for your family? Or the way God made you? Or the struggles that God put in your life that His works might be displayed through you? It is easy to long for what we don’t have. Instead, we need to be grateful for all God has given us.

We must individually follow Jesus and stop comparing our lives with others. Jesus has designed your life perfectly for you. He has designed a wonderful adventure specifically for you, and he doesn’t want you getting sidetracked by looking at someone else. So go, live your own life, thank Him for all he has given you, and stop comparing.

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About the author

Maria Smith

is a 17 year old senior and aspiring actress eager to graduate high school. When she isn’t practicing her melodramatic monologues, she is listening to music, perfecting her tae kwon do skills, concocting a baked good, obsessively writing things in her planner, or hanging out with her best friend and brother, Robert. Her future dreams include sharing the love of Christ through theater and studying abroad in Europe.

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By Maria Smith
rebelling against low expectations

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