When I was about twenty-one years old, I was running on the track at the local athletic club. I was going pretty fast, so I stayed on the outside lane for runners. I remember passing a young teenager who was doing her very best in the inside lane. She was handicapped and pushed a walker in front of her. I ran past her many times during my three mile jog.
I remember feeling sorry for her because she couldn’t go very fast. Toward the end of my run, I wanted to get a good look at her face. I wanted to see the emotions she was feeling. As I looked at her, I was humbled. There was an expression of devoted determination on her face; and I realized that if she wasn’t handicap, she would have run circles around me. I was moved by the effort of her unwavering will.
As I have reflected on that moment, I’ve come to understand the destructiveness of comparisons. That young girl was probably putting more effort into her walk than I have ever put into any of my workouts. On the outside, it looked like I was achieving more; but in reality, she was progressing way more than I was. We compare ourselves with others without realizing the defeat in it. We can’t compare our hearts, our will, our determination, our loyalty–only God can do that. All we can compare is the physical effects, which vary and give little indication of what’s inside of us.
If we compare, then we have judged others and ourselves based on extremely distorted information. It’s a waste of time and energy! Comparing comes so naturally to us, but it’s so freeing to just let it go. It allows us to stop asking ourselves, “Why can’t I be more like her or have what she has?” and start asking, “God, will You help me achieve the beauty of Your unique design for me?!”
“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves.”
– 2 Corinthians 10.12a (NIV)
“Father, God, please help me not to compare myself to others. I realize that You designed my life for a specific reason. I want to focus my attention on my purpose in life and not worry about things that do not matter. I want to be content with the woman You made me to be. Show me how to find peace in an area that I have been struggling.”