How to Break Free of the Comparison Trap

Margaret —  June 23, 2014 — 25 Comments

How to Break Free of the Comparison Trap

I think we’re all guilty of falling into the deep pit of comparison. Comparing our families, Instagram filtered lives, incomes, church attendance, jobs, talents, Pinterest-filled homes, and more. We glance to the left and to the right, internally measuring ourselves up to those around us.

Am I good enough? Smart enough? Successful enough?

Comparison leaves us frustrated, empty, downright stuck, and leads us to deeper levels of discontentment.

It’s said: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” 

comparison_free_print-1

Download this free printable, here.

Scripture reminds us of the dangers of comparison:

“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” –Galatians 6:4, MSG

“But in all this comparing and grading and competing, they quite miss the point.” –2 Corinthians 10:12, MSG

Instead of comparing ourselves with others, God calls us to fix our eyes on one person only—Jesus. God wants us to keep our eyes on him and find our delight in him alone.

“Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering… Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.” –Romans 12:1-2, MSG

Each week, we're diving into The Sacred Echo book and Bible Study during the online Summer Bible Study.

This week:

  • Watch. Session .004: You Follow Me on the DVD.
  • Write. Respond to the second session of homework in the workbook.
  • Read. Chapters .007 & .008 in the book.
  • Interact. Share what ideas or phrases catch your attention. What God is challenging or showing you through the material. How we can pray for you. And of course, you're welcome to send in quirky questions, too, since I'll be interacting with them throughout our time together. Leave your thoughts at MargaretFeinberg.com or on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using #SacredEcho.
  • Gather. Set a time to meet with your small group face-to-face, schedule a Skype date with your long-distance friends, and join the online community on Wednesday, June 25th at MargaretFeinberg.com.

To purchase the Summer Bible Study Special (which includes a copy of the book, workbook, and set of the DVDs), click here.

*This week’s memory verse: Psalm 84:2

It Took Me Years to Learn this Lesson in Obedience

Download and print this week’s memory verse. Stick it in your Bible, hang it on your mirror, frame it for the kitchen table.

Okay—let’s get started! Click here to leave your answer to the question below as a comment.

On a scale of 1-10, how easy is it for you to fall into the comparison trap? What tactics or disciplines do you use to break free of that trap?

*Original Photo Source

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25 responses to How to Break Free of the Comparison Trap

  1. Tara Lantieri June 23, 2014 at 4:40 am

    Unfortunately…honestly 10. Someone always has better hair (in my case that means straighter – LOL), better abs or a better house…OR they pray more eloquently and trust God deeper than me.

  2. Same for me a 10 for sure. I am always comparing myself to others. I will say I am very content with my life but still compare myself with others

  3. Honestly, I’ve been struggling with comparison big time for a while. Feeling sorry for myself probably doesn’t look good on me. :/ Seeking to cultivate gratitude in my life.

  4. In certain places, a 10 definitely! At church, I am a ministry team leader. There is always someone who seems more Godly, purer, sweeter, kinder, etc. When I am with other moms, I should be better at organizing, getting shape, making my kids eat healthier, etc! It’s not fun and I fight it constantly because there is a small kernel of truth in it sometimes!

    • It is so difficult when working in church and ministry becomes area of comparison. I know the feeling, Sonya.

  5. I know I am constantly putting myself up for comparison. I look at others and wish I could maintain my body to look like theirs. I listen to friends pray and feel so inadequate and inferior. I evaluate my walk with Christ and see myself stumbling and faltering while others run the race with assurance and grace. I compare and I always find myself wanting.

    • You definitely aren’t alone, Mary. Praying for you today. May we walk as people set free from the comparison trap.

  6. Melinda Lancaster June 23, 2014 at 11:51 am

    It seems that I fall prey to comparison most when things go wrong. Ugh.

    The Message really brings light to the dangers of comparison. I’ve read these verses many times and somehow missed the point.

    Good post. Thanks!

    • It’s so easy to line up our failures next to others’ successes. You aren’t alone in that, Melinda. Hug to you!

  7. I too can fall into the comparison trap easily…especially in one specific area…I am an identical twin. My sister and I are involved in very similar ministries. We live within a 5 minute drive of one another. We share many of the same friends. And, just this past Fall, my sister and her family began attending the church my family attends. We have been compared all our lives…school teachers, friends, even strangers comparing our similarities and differences. Living so close and being together so often it is hard not to compare ourselves with one another. As we’ve been attending different churches the majority of our married lives (over 25 years), now I do struggle with that sense of being compared to my sister in ministry areas…and falling short to the definitely more outgoing, social personality she has which attracts many. THANKFUL that God sees us individually and knows us personally and praying He will keep my eyes fixed on Him alone.

    His,
    Joy

    • Wow, Joy! What a unique perspective. I have never thought of the implications of comparison between twins. So grateful God sees us as individuals, too!

  8. Can I plead the 5th?? Love Romans 12:1-2 especially in the Message version. If we could only learn to live our lives out in the context of Romans 12!

    Hugs and prayers to you,
    Donna B

  9. I loved this suggestion on how to break free of the comparison trap from Connie on Facebook:

    “I sit down and make a “Thankful” list! Look at what YOU have been given! Write down 5 things every night that you are thankful for on that day. Keep these things in a book so when things get bad you can look back and remember how BLESSED you are. Works for me every time. I also Thank God for these wonderful blessings.”

  10. In the last year I have been working really hard to stop comparing my life to the lives of others. I would have to say I am about a 6-7. HOWEVER, the past few weeks I am feeling the comparison trap creeping back…my hubby has not had a day off in 28 days, we have no vacation plans, and it seems everyone is posting beach pictures on Facebook! I am feeling jealous, I am feeling like a bad planner because there is no plan, feeling like a bad mom because our son sees everyone else on vacation and keeps asking if we are going to. Wishing I could be content where I am and with what I have.

    • You aren’t alone in feeling that way, Lynn! I could use a beach vacation, too. :) Praying for you and others who are experiencing the binds of comparison. Thanks for sharing!

  11. More tactics on how to break free of the comparison trap from Facebook:

    Seth Woods:
    #1 Focus on God’s mission.
    #2 Repeat.
    It changes our focus from self to others.

    Sheryl Germany:
    In my prayers every night, I thank God for all my many blessings & ask his blessings for others. Keeps me grounded.

    Deborah Griffin:
    Let it go and remember God created me this way, on this path for a reason!

  12. Recently I asked for prayer about “Barriers” I never realized at that time comparison is just that. A wall. Maintaining
    Friendships have always been difficult
    for me, and is one of 3 things I have been praying about. I now believe the comparison trap is the culprit.
    What Bible verse best explains why we do compare.

    • I think you’re right, Mae. Here are a few verses to consider:

      “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” –Galatians 6:4, MSG

      “But in all this comparing and grading and competing, they quite miss the point.” –2 Corinthians 10:12, MSG

      “Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering… Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.” –Romans 12:1-2, MSG

  13. Coming from such a dysfunctional family has caused me to never know who I really am so I have spent my life trying to fit myself into all their peg holes. I struggle with comparison daily it seems and nothing good ever vomes from that. But God is faithful and is working on me minute by minute when I let Him.

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