I don’t remember ever asking anyone how much they weigh. On the other hand I’ve been asked that question too many times to count.
As a teenager my extended family (women only) held a weekly weigh in after Sunday dinner. Who weighs in after dinner? My extended family did. At the time I didn’t realize I could refuse to step on the scale. Instead, I went along to get along.
As each woman stepped on the scale her weight was recorded in a blue spiral notebook. I was the heaviest in our group and I felt very insecure about that.
I think the tendency to compare myself with others started around elementary school. I remember thinking that Elsa was faster at skipping rope and Heidi was better at math. This scenario played out time and again. In my estimation I didn’t do well in looks, smarts, or personality.
For years I compared myself to others. It was an internal dialogue and my very own private struggle. I knew it wasn’t healthy. I just didn’t know what to do about it.
One day I remember thinking how my thoughts probably grieved the heart of God After all His Word says that we are loved, valued, fearfully and wonderfully made. There I was negating all of that with the silent conversation in my head.
I don’t know that I am an expert in choosing contentment in a culture of comparison but I do know that I no longer struggle in this area. Now I am able to celebrate the strengths and gifts of my sisters without experiencing jealousy, self- loathing, or insecurity.
While each of our journeys are unique I will share some of the things that were helpful to me:
I submitted my thoughts and concerns to God in prayer. I made a commitment to intentionally obey God’s Word and refuse to worry and pray instead.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
I made it a point to spend time in prayer and reflection several times per week. I reflected on God’s goodness on His good and unique plans for my life. I reflected on His Word and relied on His promises for my well-being.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:10 NLT
This was the most challenging area for me. However, I made a concerted effort to risk transparency with a few women. The more I developed a close circle of friends with whom I was honest helped me grow in confidence.
A friend is always loyal,
and a brother is born to help in time of need.
Proverbs 17:17 NLT
The comparison trap deprives us of the meaningful life God planned for us. I co-authored a book called Messy to Meaningful and chapter 4 is about finding your value in God’s Word. You can check the book out at messytomeaningful.com.
Are any of you struggling with insecurity? Are you comparing yourself to others? Can you see yourself adding prayer, reflection and community to your life?
You can choose contentment in a culture of comparison. I’ve shared my story with you and I’d love to hear your story too.