Season: 5 Episode: 073
Where do we get the word “better”? Any word that ends in “er” is a word that proves we desire more. This leads to comparing and competing in our relationships with others. The human soul desires perfect, but how do we keep that from affecting our relationships? Shanda talks about the healthy way to compare and how you will never be perfect.
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Hey guys! Welcome back to another episode of Her Faith Inspires podcast. I am so thankful you are here. My following over on Instagram has grown exponentially in the last few weeks so I want to say I appreciate the feedback, the shares, the conversations that you have with me.
I’ll be completely honest with you, real dialogue with the purpose of finding truth is something I do not shy away from. If you ever have questions or don’t agree with me, that is fine. I don’t think healthy societies are built on agreeableness. They are built on differences and the freedom to have hard conversations with the goal to uphold truth and reach that end. So, thank you for real and true conversations.
If you don’t follow me on social media, you can find me @shandafulbright.
I am on Facebook under the ministry name only. I am not active on that personally, but I am on Instagram most of the time and do not have time for multiple social media platforms.
Today, we are talking about comparing. I mention in my Reflections of Eve study that women compare and men compete, but I also believe that when women compare they end up competing. To me, this makes relationships so hard. I have a very few number of friends who do not compare or compete with me and I don’t with them, but it’s usually the ones I’m not as close to and wouldn’t consider my BFF’s. Isn’t that weird and sad?
So, how do we get out of this comparing and competing attitude? Because it really will destroy our relationships. It’s where the seed of jealousy takes root, it’s where judging occurs, and it doesn’t breed anything healthy.
I have 3 boys and I don’t have any drama in my house.
My boys don’t get involved in drama and they don’t have girlfriends yet because we have a no dating rule in my house before 16 so we’ve been drama free.
And I’m gonna say it, and I know my audience is mostly female so this may cause you to start hating on me, but ladies … we are more drama than men. There, I said it. I don’t know why, but it seems as though my girl friends are all up in the drama and our guy friends don’t care. It’s sooo different.
So we need to talk about this today because I realized something the other day as I was thinking on the ontological argument in apologetics … and I’m not going to get into that today … but the thought brought me back to Genesis 1 and it was mind blowing to me.
So we’re going to talk about that today and why we compare which leads to competing and all of this shows we are chasing perfect.
- Where did comparing and competing come from?
- What does comparing ourselves with our friends do?
- What can we do about it. Because let’s face it, it’s hard.
So, where does comparing and competing come from?
When you think about it, to compare something means you are evaluating its differences and similarities. But why? Why do we compare things? First, the act of comparing requires at least two things. And in this case, we are talking about comparing ourselves with others. In some ways that can be beneficial, For example, when someone sets a good example, I see where I come up short and strive to be like them.
But if we’re honest, that’s not where the act of comparing usually leads us. Also, comparing requires we compare at least two like things. For example, I usually don’t compare myself to men. I don’t compare myself to how men perform in the gym, and I don’t compare their bodies to mine, and I certainly don’t compare their wardrobe to mine.
I am feminine and I like all the girly things and I’m good with it.
But that means that women will likely compare themselves to other women because we have so much in common. For one, we care about things men don’t care about as much like our clothes and hair and how we look. We are mothers and we value how we parent. We are wives and we take care of our homes. When there are others who do the same things, it’s easy to compare ourselves to them.
Social media has made comparing ourselves to others even more of an issue because we see into the lives of our friends all the time. We see what they eat, hear about their anniversaries, their kids accomplishments, when they’re put together, their date nights. And it breeds comparison.
But that’s life now. It wasn’t always this way.
Comparing and competing wasn’t always a part of life. Let me tell why and then I’m going to tell you why it’s important to understand this. Ok?
When you go back to Genesis 1-3 .. which are 3 of my favorite chapters of the Bible. I wrote Reflections of Eve about 2 years ago and I do not think it’s perfect at all. In fact, I want to go back and rewrite the study and make it more in depth now that I can relate so many apologetics lessons to it (maybe one day). But I hung out here for so long and I’m telling you, all of life’s lessons are in these chapters.
But as you read through chapter 1 of Genesis, we see some repetition when after each day, God saw that it was good.
Now I want you to notice the word good.
That is a word that shows value. And you may wonder, why didn’t God end up saying it was better? Why didn’t He say it was best? Why the word good? That word doesn’t seem like hyperbole, right? When I talk about my husband, “I say you’re the best husband”. So why good?
Because good was the standard. There was nothing less than good and there was nothing better than good. The world was perfect and so was Adam and Eve, so our vocabulary had no need for words of comparison.
Even when God saw that Adam was alone, He did not say that it was bad. Again, there was no bad because there was no concept of “less than” yet. God said it is NOT GOOD that man should be alone.
So He made it good by giving Eve to Adam.
That’s chapter 2.
Now, let’s enter chapter 3. Here is where it all changed. I find it odd that the serpent got Eve to want better. He got her to compare herself to whom? To God. He said, “You can be like God …” and he convened her that she needed to be better or to be more than the good creation of God. And she ate.
Is this where comparison was birthed? Of course it is. How do we know? At the end of chapter 2, Adam and Eve saw that they were naked and were not ashamed. In chapter 3, they eat and all of a sudden they notice they are naked. Let’s compare the Adam and Eve before the fall to the Adam and Eve after the fall:
Before the fall, they walked with God. After the fall, they hid from God.
Before the fall, they were naked. After the fall, they covered themselves up.
They went from good to bad. And from this experience, from our fallen nature, we compare ourselves to others because we are striving to be better.
What does comparing ourselves with our friends or others in our lives do?
I’m going to be very honest with you here and tell you that if you compare yourself with other in your life, that’s your fault, not theirs. If I compare myself with others in my life, that’s my fault.
So I’m not going to talk to you about the one you’re comparing yourself to today, I’m going to talk to you about why we do it and what comes from it. Because it’s not healthy if it doesn’t make you better.
Comparing leads to jealousy:
We have countless examples of this in the Bible. Joseph’s brothers were jealous over him because his dad gave him a coat and did not hide his favoritism. Was it Joseph’s fault that his father favored him? They ended up selling him into slavery.
Comparing leads to bitterness:
Martha compared herself to Mary in Luke 10. Martha was upset because she was cleaning and Mary was learning from Jesus. She was wrong in her comparison. She could have done the same thing, but she chose something else.
Comparing leads to strife:
Rachael and Leah were two sisters who shared the same husband. Talk about comparing. They fought over who would sleep with him, who had the most kids, who Jacob loved most. I mean, comparing and competing was a way of life and brought no peace to the household at all.
Comparing leads to hatred:
King Saul was so jealous of David that he ended up trying to kill him several times. Saul heard the songs sung by the maidens in the land that Saul killed his thousands but David his ten thousands and the Saul knew David was a better warrior than him. This caused roots of bitterness to grow until Saul looked to murder David.
I want you to take note that it was the one who compared themselves who ended up being the most unhappy in the end. It was the one who compared themselves who ended up doing heinous acts and destroying the relationship. Because when we compare and then we start to compete, someone has to come out on top. Someone has to be the last one standing.
And in many cases, the drive to win brings out the worst in us.
I’ve been the one who has compared myself to others and I’ve been on the other end of comparison. Neither end is fun. Neither end is productive. I’m a lot older now and have learned a lot about friendships and to be completely transparent, I don’t have a lot of close friends. My family are my closest friends because it’s really hard to have honest friendships where people don’t compare themselves to you.
So how do we stop comparing ourselves?
There are a few things we have to realize when we compare ourselves to others:
- We are insecure. When we are constantly trying to find out how valuable we are when we compare ourselves to our friends, we’re insecure. That’s just it. You are looking for value in outperforming our outdoing someone else in the room.
2. We try and prove we’re good enough. Comparing ourselves to others brings external indicators that we are doing well. We look for validation from being better than the other person and that truly isn’t what God wants from our relationships.
3. It destroys the relationship. I’ve said this before, but comparing and competing with others is going to change the dynamics of your relationship. Do you want that?
I’m not going to tell you that you need to love yourself.
If you’ve listened to me long enough, you know that I hate that message. It is all over social media with women influencers and it’s a cheap message. Because it’s not possible.
We gravitate to it because we are insecure. We gravitate to it because we don’t measure up and there will always be someone better than us at something. Someone will be prettier, smarter, fitter, stronger, and any other ER because anything that ends in ER is a word that compares. We live in that world now.
But what I do believe is that my value comes from God.
When I say I don’t care that much what people think of me, I mean it. I care a little. I care here and there, but I don’t care enough to where it makes me feel bad about myself. My value comes from God. I am created in His image.
Your value comes from God. You are an image bearer. There is nothing you can do to make Him love you more but there is nothing on this earth that can make you realize this either.
That’s one of the reasons I’m not a feminist. I am not insecure about women not being valued as much as men in society. Now, don’t get me wrong.
I am all about men treating women like ladies.
I teach my boys to pump my gas and help me clean and do their chores and speak to me with respect. But my value isn’t determined in what I do, the title I carry, the friends I have, my social media interactions (don’t get me started on that), or the money I have.
If we compare ourselves to those who have those things, we are putting a cheap price on ourselves as image bearers.
And one of the things we must remember is that we are not going to be the best at everything. I wish I could sing, but I can’t. Do you think I’m going to compare myself to someone who can? Please! But I should applaud those who can and encourage them to keep going.
In reality, it comes down to the heart. Where is your heart?
Are you trying to create value for yourself or do you realize the value you have because you are created in the image of God?
If not, you will always struggle with comparing but that means you will always struggle in your relationships.
I want to close this up today by saying that comparing can be beneficial at times but it depends on whether or not it makes you better. Proverbs tells us iron sharpens iron. We make each other better. Are you making someone better just by being around them? Are your relationships give and take?
If you struggle with comparing yourself and know that you have low self-esteem, that is something I hope you’ll pray about. It’s going to eat at you until you find the value in your relationship with the God who created you. This may take some time and some diligent study, but it’s definitely possible.
If you have questions about this or anything else, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll catch you on the next one.