I’ve thought a bit recently about comparison, and the trouble it can cause. Most of us have heard the quote from Theodore Roosevelt – “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Why is that?
It is said that when we compare ourselves to others, we either raise ourselves above them in pride, or we sink below them in despair or perhaps envy.
I think this is a particular struggle for women, because we are such social creatures. We are constantly seeing ourselves in relation to other women. It is impossible not to compare.
And I don’t think this is a bad thing. I think there is a third way, “comparison redeemed”, if you will.
If we are truly content in Christ, finding our identity and satisfaction in Him, and when we see other people through His eyes, then we don’t need to be afraid of comparison with other women.
If we notice a woman who is more proficient than us in a certain area, in humility we can thank God for her good example. If we notice a woman who is struggling in some way, we can pray for her, knowing that we are no more or less than her in God’s eyes. And we may have opportunity to come alongside her with some practical help at some point.
Something my Mum often modelled for me growing up is the way she sought out good examples in other women, and applied what she learnt to her life. She was, and is, always looking for other women who did things better than her. Not so she could despair or envy them, but so that she could improve.
She was always being inspired by other women, and is herself an inspiration to many.
As I think over all the women in my life, I can think of specific women who inspire me in:
- their faith in God and dedication to studying His word
- their home management skills
- their great sense of style
- their cooking skills
- the way they approach parenting
- the way they selflessly serve others
Of course none of us will be perfect, we all have strengths and weaknesses. We all have particular sins we struggle with.
But I don’t think it helps anyone if we are so afraid of comparison that we miss opportunities for personal growth, or for aiding another woman in her personal growth.
In Christ, we are all equal. So let’s compare notes, and grow in Christ together.