The Comparison Game

Ballet 5:8

No matter where we go in life, we all eventually face situations where we are among a pool of people all of whom are being evaluated.

We interview for the job; we apply for the scholarship; we run for the office, etc…. In the dance world, this phenomenon is known as the audition. In every one of these situations, we face the great temptation to compare ourselves to others and let the evaluation of our comparisons impact our thoughts, feelings, attitudes and behavior.

Consider some of the thoughts that may go through a dancer’s head during the audition:

“She is so thin and beautiful and she just has that special something about her. Just looking at her makes me feel so ordinary.”

“I have nothing to worry about because I have all the right connections. This one is already in the bag for me!”

“She is so talented and experienced. I wish I could be more like her.”

“Everyone here is better than me. Why am I even here? Why even try?”

Playing the comparison game is a natural thing to do in the world that we live in. But the Apostle Paul encourages us to:

“…not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2 (NIV). 

Did you know that even the disciples struggled with playing the comparison game? In John 21:15-22, we find a conversation between Jesus and Simon Peter. Jesus has just given Peter the charge to “Feed my sheep.” Jesus then goes on to tell Peter a little bit of what His calling would look like, not all of which was positive. Jesus then commands Peter to “Follow me.” At this point, Peter starts playing the comparison game. This is evidenced by what he does next. Peter turns and looks at another of the disciples (John) and then asks Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answers this question by essentially saying that John will have a different situation or circumstances to deal with. Then he asks Peter the question to end all the comparisons – “...what is that to you? You must follow me.”

In this conversation, Jesus redirects Peter’s thinking to where it should be. Rather than focusing on John and his situation/circumstances, Jesus wants Peter to focus on following Him alone. Notice that Jesus does not try to reason with Peter about his comparison. Rather, He rejects Peter’s comparison. It is as if He is saying to Peter, “Don’t even go there.” Instead, He just wants Peter to follow Him as he lives out the calling that he has been given.

All of us struggle with comparisons from time to time and we would be wise to learn this important lesson along with Peter: Jesus never asked Peter to be more like anyone else. In fact, when Peter tried to compare his situation to someone else’s, Jesus simply said “What is that to you?” He only asked Peter to follow Him as Peter followed the instructions he had been given.

Has God instructed you to go on the interview, apply for the scholarship, run for office or go to the audition? Great! Go do it with all you heart knowing that Jesus only asks that you keep your attention focused on Him in the process. And if your mind starts to wander into the minefield of comparisons, why not reject those thoughts just as Jesus instructed Peter to do?

“But she is so thin and beautiful and she just has that special something about her.” What is that to me? My job is to follow God in what I am called to do.

“I have nothing to worry about because I have all the right connections”. What is that to me? My job is to follow God in what I am called to do.

“But she is so gifted and experienced.” What is that to me? My job is to follow God in what I am called to do.

“But everyone here is better than me.” What is that to me? My job is to follow God in what I am called to do.

Christians Living Healthier
Ginger Hill

This post's author, Ginger Hill, is a certified wellness coach and speaker with over 15 years of experience in helping people adopt and maintain healthy lifestyle habits. She is the founder of Christians Living Healthier – a business formed for the purpose of inspiring and assisting Christians to take steps toward healthier living through wellness coaching, education & program design so that the people of God can be good stewards in order to fulfill their calling effectively. For more information, please visit www.christianslivinghealthier.com or visit the CLH Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/christianslivinghealthier .