The Comparison Trap

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By Melissa Miller

During my high school years, I used to pole-vault. Even though I’m typically afraid of heights, I felt drawn to this sport. There was something about raising the bar and achieving new heights that felt exhilarating. The first time my dad came to one of my track meets, I couldn’t wait to show him my new sport. I knew I had the lower heights in the bag, no need to start there. So I waited until a few rounds passed until I jumped in. Even though I practiced my minimum heights a thousand times, my nerves kicked in. Dad was watching this time - I wanted to make him proud! I had three chances to make the mark … and in all three I couldn’t get my bum over the bar. My cheeks flushed red when I looked up at my dad. I felt like I must be such a disappointment.

This memory reminds me of motherhood. We try our best to get our darn bums over the bar in hopes that we will please our Heavenly Father. Yet, often we find ourselves feeling like we’ve come up short. We look at other moms who seem to be scaling the bar, and wonder why we can’t be more like them.

Do you ever ask yourself why can’t you be more like that mom or why can’t your kids be like those kids? The comparison trap is certainly an easy one to fall into if we aren’t careful. At the click of our fingers, we can see pinterest-worthy motherhood in every category. From the mom with the black-belt kids to the mom with Marie Kondo organizing skills, it’s easy to look at their lives and feel like we’ve fallen short. Even worse, is when we start to strive to become something we aren’t - or prod and push our kids to become something they aren’t. Yikes! 

You see, the enemy uses comparison to try to make us feel like a child standing against a door frame with our hand on top of my head. “How tall am I?” we ask. 

The devil takes the pencil and draws a line a few inches above us.

 “Not tall enough.” He chides.

In spite of this treatment, we somehow keep handing the pencil over and he keeps drawing the line higher and higher. 

Never quite enough. 

Spending time dwelling on our “not-enoughness” is exactly what the enemy wants. It takes our focus off of our unique God-given strengths and our great God. It robs us of the precious gift of quiet trust and contentedness in God and who He has created our family to be. 

God warns us about comparison in 2 Corinthians 10:12, “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”

What I’ve learned is that my dad is already proud of me. Sure, my earthly father … but more importantly my Heavenly Father. He’s proud of you too. We already have His pleasure because of what Jesus did for us. 

So, you set out to wake up earlier and failed. You aren’t working out as much as you know you should. You lost your temper. You mapped out a new chore system, and it only lasted a week. Guess what all this makes you? Human. God is not disappointed in you. Just like my father wasn't disappointed in me that day I couldn’t get my bum over the bar. My dad was there because I’m his child and he loves me, not because he cared all that much about whether I could vault myself higher than the other girls. 

For years, people spent countless efforts trying to measure up to the law. There was a line, and Jesus shattered it with His death, burial, and resurrection. Without Him, we find ourselves spiritually pole-vaulting all over again. We just can’t reach high enough, can’t be holy enough or good enough. The miraculous work on the cross, all wrapped in love, gives us the gift of enough. We could slave away our entire lives and never earn or deserve this gift of grace. When we declare, with confidence, the truth that we are enough, we do so with a disclaimer in our hearts:We are enough...because of Jesus. When we open up our hearts to this truth, there is no room for comparison. 


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Melissa Miller is married to her best friend and has three children. She serves alongside her husband at Canvas Church in San Diego, CA. Melissa works for a marriage ministry, and is passionate about helping marriages and families thrive. Melissa and her husband are in the process of adopting internationally. She enjoys reading, writing, cooking, and beach days with her family. Check her out on Instagram and Facebook!


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Melissa Miller

Melissa Miller is married to her best friend and has three children. She serves alongside her husband at Canvas Church in San Diego, CA. Melissa works for a marriage ministry, and is passionate about helping marriages and families thrive. Melissa and her husband are in the process of adopting a child from the Philippines. She enjoys reading, writing, cooking, and beach days with her family. Check her out on Instagram and Facebook!