Last week, I had a day where I found myself feeling discouraged and discontent. When I took a moment to take an inventory of my thoughts throughout the day, I realized I had been caught playing the comparison game again. Maybe you’ve done this too? Thought by thought, I had spent the day stewing silently in my soul about who was more stylish, had a bigger house, seemed to be more patient with their kids, had fewer wrinkles, was more accomplished or who seemed to be more able to “handle life”. The list of my thoughts were detailed and long winded. Whenever this kind of comparison takes place, it doesn’t take much for me to slide into “not enough” thinking – as in “I’m not talented enough, thin enough, good enough, etc.”.
As I reflected, I realized: When I’m looking around, sizing myself up to others, it’s as though I’m hustling my own self-worth. When I’m comparing myself to others, it’s as if I’m trying to prove to myself: you are unworthy to be loved and accepted where and who you are.
In my heart I know nothing could be further from the TRUTH.
The next day, I took a quiet walk in our neighborhood, alone, and asked God what He thought about my comparison thoughts. As I stayed with the stillness and waited, I could feel Jesus whispering, rhythmicly, two phrases into my soul.
Look down. And then look up….
Look down. And then look up…
Look down. And then look up…
Look Down. Quieting the noise and distractions around me is essential to being able to recalibrate myself. I need to get my eyes off of everyone else around me and be reminded of what God is doing in my life. Glancing at myself for a moment, allows me to be reminded of who God has made me to be (I am enough, loved and free) and where He has planted my feet. I love the reminder Psalm 40: 2 gives, “He lifted me out of the ditch, pulled me from deep mud. He stood me up on a solid rock to make sure I wouldn’t slip.” Once I’ve cleared the noise around me, remembered who I am and where God’s set me, then I can lift my head and live from an authentic – fully me – place.
Then, Look Up. When I’m comparing myself to others, I’m making it ALL about me – what I do or don’t have, what I am or am not doing, where I do or don’t live. No matter how the list grows, it is still focused on ME. The hard reality is: comparison turns me into a “me-monster”. And the truth I need to remember is: it’s not all about me… it’s ALL about Jesus. In a day and age when we can tend to care far too much about our social media status, we forget we are called to live out a social status here on earth as a servant. When I spend my time focusing on myself and how I measure up against others or how I appear to others, I’m missing out on loving and serving the people right in front of me. If I could lift my eyes off of myself, who are the ones closest to me who are hurting, lonely, struggling or simply need a listening ear over a cup of coffee?
Do you need to look down from the distractions and be reminded of who you are and where God’s planted your feet? Or do you need to look up and see what Jesus is doing right in front of you?