We’ve all been there.

Sitting in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, or any office for that matter, is not my idea of a good time. As seconds turned to minutes, and the minutes dragged on, while anxiously awaiting to hear my name called, I decided to pick up a magazine.

I scanned the cover, then flipped through each page and thought to myself, “Wow, these women are beautiful. Look at her hair, her eyes, her symmetrical nose… The 2018 Lexus LS just came out. I sure wish I could own that beauty… These houses are incredible. What do these people do for a living to be able to afford houses like that?!” It didn’t take long for the envy to kick in.

I walked into the doctor’s office feeling great about the car I drive, the home I live in, the way my hair and nose and eyes look, but as I flipped from one page to the next and started comparing my life to the lives of the people in the magazine, I couldn’t help but to feel the jealousy festering inside of me. Social media has the same affect. It only takes a few seconds of scrolling through your news feed to see someone on a luxurious vacation or buying a new home or car. And don’t even think about joining one of those moms’ groups on Facebook. One scroll down the page and suddenly you begin to feel inadequate. How do these women have the time to make hands-on sensory activities, three organic “Pinterest perfect” meals a day, all while taking their toddlers to music class, play dates and mommy-and-me yoga?

You can wake up feeling like you’re doing just fine, then suddenly feel the joy being sucked from you. “How will I ever compare? I wish I could afford to stay home and do those things. Am I neglecting my son? Is he going to resent me one day for working?” Whether it’s comparing your parenting, your looks, your salary, your IQ, your home, your car, or something else, comparison is an ugly game, and Jesus warns us not to get caught up in it.

Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
— Luke 12:5 NIV

In today’s culture — with social media, reality television, magazines and billboards everywhere we turn — it is impossible to ignore the beauty, luxury and wealth that is all around us, but the one thing we can change is the way we see ourselves in Christ.

Psalm 139:14 says that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” We have heard the verse time and time again, but once we recognize the power of it, our lives will begin to change. When you feel inadequate or insecure, remind yourself that we were created in God’s perfect image, and that he doesn’t make mistakes.

It’s vital for us to remember that the only opinion we should be concerned about is God’s opinion. Are we living our lives in a way that is pleasing to him? Are we striving to be more loving, kind, gracious and giving? His evaluation of us is ultimately what matters. The only one any of us should be striving to be more like is him and him alone. Not a single person we could even begin to compare ourselves with could ever compete.

So then, what should we do? How do we keep comparison from robbing us of our joy? One of the more powerful antidotes to combat comparison is praise. Instead of wishing we had more beauty, success and wealth, we can begin praising him for the things that we have been blessed with. Thank him for the unique gifts he has given to you. Turn your mindset of comparison into one of appreciation, and everything will change.

After all, comparison is the thief of joy.