Thursday thoughts: Don't fall into the trap of comparison


Comparing ourselves to others is a trap. It’s hard not to do, but it is definitely not good for us at all. I can see how my grandchildren struggle with this, but honestly I do as well. My older grandchildren struggle with comparing the type of house their friends live in to the kind of house they live in. They compare themselves to others to make sure they are wearing the “right brand” of clothing so they fit in with the others. (As a side note to this, I will always advocate for school uniforms!)

I was taking Liza to school on Monday, and she was telling me how she was not looking forward to the PE class that day because they were doing the running endurance test. Liza can struggle with endurance issues due to some muscle development issues and chronic asthma . She was not looking forward to running because she knew it was not her strongest asset. She told me the last time she did the run she completed 12 laps.

I thought that was great but she said most of the other students ran more. I mentioned that not everyone is good at running. She said her goal was to improve that number. As I was talking to her, I told her that God made us all unique. We all have different personalities, talents, strengths and weaknesses. We have to focus on what we CAN do not what others CAN do. I told her to be herself and run her own race at her own pace.

As I let her out at carpool and was driving to work, God spoke to my heart. Gently, I felt His presence asking me if I was running my own race and focusing on what I CAN do. I pondered this throughout the next few days.

If I am being totally honest with myself and with you I have to say that at times I struggle with comparing myself to others. It’s extremely hard for me to not fall into that trap. Unfortunately, when we do fall into this trap we always seem to end up feeling self-conscious and insecure.

I looked up the definition of unique and it says being the only one of its kind, unlike anything else. The truth is that God made us all unique and we are all special in our own way. God is the creator of all things. He knew what He was doing when He made me and you, as He made us exactly the way He wanted us to be. In Psalms 139:13-14 the Bible says “For you (God) created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

I don’t know about you, but knowing that God knit me together is just amazing for my mind to even try to comprehend. Knitting is creating something handmade and there are tons of things you can knit ranging from socks to blankets and many other items. There are at least 35 different knitting stitches and who knows how many different colors and textures of yarn there are to choose from.

Now put those thoughts into how we are made. We are handmade, carefully created and knit together by God. We are each “one of a kind” created with a unique purpose and individualized gifts designed by God for each one of us. No two people are the same nor are their gifts, talents, strengths or weaknesses the same. Actually, the things that make us different are the things that make us beautiful and able to be used by God.

It seems to me that maybe we just need to practice embracing our uniqueness so God is able to use us in extraordinary ways. In most cases when I compare myself to someone else it usually involves me comparing the other person’s best quality against what could be just my average qualities. That is not a justified or fair comparison. Basically, I am focusing on the other person’s best traits which just makes me feel inadequate.

My focus is on the other person. I’m not running my own race that God has for me. Comparison blocks my path to run the race to fulfill my unique purpose and God’s plan for my life. I think about Moses. In the Bible, he begged God to pick someone else to speak to Pharoah and to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses even told God he was not an eloquent speaker as he was slow of speech and tongue. It makes me wonder if Moses had fallen into the trap of comparison by observing and focusing on someone else who he thought could speak more eloquently than he could.

Yet God still used Moses to go and deliver a message from Him to Pharoah. God just wanted Moses to focus on Him, run his own race and fulfill God’s unique purpose for his life. God’s purpose is much more important for me to focus on than others around me.

My worth is not found in comparing myself to others. My worth is knowing who I am and I AM a child of God. In 1 John 3:1 the Bible says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are.” We don’t need to underestimate our worth because there has never been nor will there ever be another person on this earth just like you or me. Before we were even born God knew all about us and He has a unique plan for each of us.

I want Liza to know she is uniquely created by God for a purpose on this earth. She might not ever be the best runner but that is perfectly okay. I think she gets it honestly because I’m not sure anyone in our immediate family is a great runner. However, my prayer for Liza is to focus on being herself and at the same time I want all of us to focus on being ourselves.

God made us all to be different. Our job is to embrace our unique design and serve the God who made us. Be yourself. Run your own unique God-given race at His pace. And just so you know, Liza increased her laps to 13 this time. God is teaching her to run uniquely at His pace.


Jill Johnson, a staff member at the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, finds spiritual applications in her everyday experiences as a wife, mother, grandmother and Georgian. She is available to speak to your church's women's gatherings. Reach her at