The Comparison Trap
As we resume school after a week off, we’ll also be picking up a new memory verse tomorrow:
Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else. – Galatians 6:4
I’d venture to guess that I’m not the only parent who has children who sometimes compare themselves to a sibling and, in their own minds, come up short. Or superior.
I’d also hazard to guess that I’m not the only homeschooling parent who has a younger child to whom learning comes easier than it does to an older sibling – a child who is surpassing an older sibling in one or more areas.
These things don’t do a lot for a kid’s self-esteem. I hope that learning this verse will remind my kids that it’s not just Mom who is telling them that we all have different strengths and weaknesses, different gifts and talents; that you have to take pride in who you are, as God made you and not worry about what someone else is doing.
That’s a hard lesson with which to come to grips. We, as adults, still have a hard time with this one, don’t we?
It doesn’t matter if you’re comparing yourself positively or negatively to someone else, there is always going to be someone smarter or dumber, skinnier or fatter, wealthier or poorer than you. The comparisons really are irrelevant.
But, sometimes it’s hard not to compare. I even read a comment recently by Jennifer Fulwiler on her blog, Conversion Diary, where she said, half-jokingly, something along the lines of basing her self-worth as a human being on her blog stats (or maybe it was Twitter) numbers. She is not the only one who has been guilty of that – at least, half-jokingly. And, how sad is that?
In Psalms, David reminds us that we are:
…fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Ps. 139:14)
God made us just the way He wanted us to be. I don’t think that means that we need to become complacent and not work on improving our areas of weakness, but it does mean that He knew what He was doing and we shouldn’t base our self-worth on anyone’s opinion of us – real or imagined – except God’s. He is, ultimately, the only One we have to please.
photo credit tim evanson on flickr
Absolutely true! We can’t afford to compare our kids to one another or our home schools to anyone else’s. I have 2 kids that are so different from each other and I have to constantly remind myself that they are SUPPOSED to be different (with differing gifts and talents). Thanks for this post.