There are times when I struggle with comparing myself to other people. I often measure my level of success based on the achievements of others. In doing so, I’m left feeling yucky and disappointed. I strongly dislike when I negatively critique myself. Or, falsely motivate myself to achieve something based upon what I’ve witnessed from others. Well today, the spirit of comparison presented itself and attempted to destroy what I set out to accomplish.
My husband and I were intentional about creating a workout schedule. We discussed the plan of action and I was extremely motivated to get started. When we started out on our walk, I went into prayer and began to thank God for who He is to me. As I was silently in prayer, my husband said, “Let’s pick up a light jog.”
Immediately, I went from praying to complaining.
My Initial Thought
We hadn’t walked long enough to warm up our bodies. It’s cold and I don’t feel like running.
I pushed myself to pick up a light jog. My attitude had shifted from praising to complaining and it was obvious. I wanted him to know that I was not happy and what I was willing to participate in. I no longer felt motivated to continue and I wanted to quit. Instead, I kept going, I kept pushing, and I kept telling myself, “Toya, you got this.”
Then here comes this nasty little spirit of comparison attempting to make its presence known. Yes, I fell into the trap. Yes, I let my guard down. Yes, I allowed negative thoughts about my husband, who is my motivator, to creep in. At a certain point in our workout, I began to compare the minimum effort I was giving to the maximum effort he was putting forth:
He’s doing too much.
Look at him with his weighted vest and where I am with a tiny weightless backpack. He is much stronger than me.
He knows that my ankle hurts.
He’s just trying to outdo me.
I am too slow. I will just slow him down.
He’s always trying to leave me.
Ugh, this is why I don’t work out with him.
I’m never going to be able to keep up with him. He’s faster than me.
I’ve gained too much weight. He’s fit and in shape, this is too easy for him.
My line of thinking was becoming a stumbling block for the both of us. Because my husband knows that I can be a brat, he adjusted his intensity for me to have my moment.
God pricked my heart and whispered, “Take your eyes off your husband and focus on yourself. He’s doing what is needed to achieve his goals. Stop comparing yourself. Stop complaining and run your race.”
Instantly, my attitude changed! Whew, I had to repent. I had to ask for forgiveness and in return forgive myself for the self-inflicted attacks.
“God if you can do it for him, surely you can do it for me. Give me the STRENGTH to RUN MY RACE!”
I was reminded of Ecclesiastes 9:11 & Matthew 24:13, “The race is not to the swift….but to the one who endures.”
I had to gird up my loins and run my race. At that moment, it no longer mattered how fast he was going, how strong he was, or the strength that he had to push himself past his comfort zone. What mattered was that I needed to take my eyes off him and stop comparing myself. I needed to get over myself and stop complaining. I needed to focus on the task at hand and not hinder him nor myself from accomplishing our goals.
Often, our attitude and negativity not only effects those around us, but it kills our spirit. Yes, the spirit of comparison will kill your spirit. It will make you discredit yourself and who God created you to be. It will cause you to lose focus of what God has in store for you, where’s He’s trying to take you, how He’s strengthening you, and how He’s building your endurance to keep going.
If we must look left or right to get a glimpse of what others are achieving, let it be in reference to a testament to God’s greatness. Let it be motivation to say, “God, I thank you for blessing those around me. Father, I thank you for the marvelous work you have started in others. Father, I thank you for the marvelous work you have started in me.” Close the door to the spirit of comparison.
I love how eloquently the Amplified Version records Galatians 6:4:
“Each one must carefully scrutinize his own work [examining his actions, attitudes, and behavior], and then he can have the personal satisfaction and inner joy of doing something commendable WITHOUT COMPARING HIMSELF TO ANOTHER.”Galatians 6:4 (AMP)
Amen and amen again! I must (we must) examine our own ways and ensure that we’re lining up with God’s will [that is pleasing and perfect for EACH of us]. Failure is using comparisons to reach unrealistic expectations. The path to success is establishing realistic expectations.
Do not knock someone else for hustling harder than you. Do not hinder them from moving forward. Do not compare yourself to others to measure your level of success. Instead, completely unveil yourself to the power of God and allow Him to strengthen you to “Run Your Race” both physically, mentally, and most importantly spiritually. Resist the enemy and dispel the spirit of comparison.
When I took my eyes off my husband, I was able to run faster. I was able to push myself harder. I was able to go past my comfort zone to maximize my workout. Glory to God! Do not miss the move of God by comparing yourself to others. Focus on the tasks God has for you to accomplish. Appreciate those who are motivating you to “Run.” At times, you race will become uncomfortable but do not quit. Keep pushing and remember, faith and endurance will take you to where you need to be.