Why is summer such a hotbed for the comparison game?
It starts in, oh, I don’t know, January or something when the stores start putting out bathing suits. The shame starts right then. Why don’t I exercise regularly? Why did I have those extra…ahem…five Oreos last night? Why did I let another year go by without losing that weight I was going to lose before I turned 40 (I’m now 41)? Can you still call it baby weight when the babies are 12 and 8? If I start now I can still have by summer that “bikini body” all the magazines talk about…really they make it sound so easy. But if I’m brutally honest, deeper down, I’m thinking, “I’m ashamed at how I haven’t taken care of myself. I’m ashamed that everyone can see my lack of self-control and discipline. I have less value in people’s eyes if my body doesn't look as good as someone else’s. I must be accepted by other people or I have no worth.”
Please tell me someone can relate!
Oh, and can we talk about the summer vacation comparison game? When I’m feeling insecure and I look on Instagram, I swear everyone’s summer is all planes and beaches and mountains and bucket lists and my summer’s all crumpled Sonic straw wrappers and dusty baseball equipment and “can I have one more snack?”
Friends, I know you don’t need me to tell you that comparison is a recipe for dissatisfaction and a feeling that you’re just surviving until you lose the weight or take the vacation or remodel the kitchen or whatever. I know you don’t need me to tell you that we always compare somebody else’s best to our worst. That (gasp!) sometimes people purposely make their Insta-lives look better than they really are. You’re smart. You know that in your mind, even if it hasn’t reached your heart. So what’s at the root of all of this anyway? Isn’t it the feeling that if we are compared with someone else and don’t come out on top, then we are not as valuable? We are not OK? We need to be “fixed” in some way before we can be acceptable?
Even though bikini bodies and the Bible may seem like they are completely unrelated, the Word of God has plenty to say about our value and worth in the eyes of our Heavenly Father. To flip the switch from surviving to thriving, we have to change the lens through which we’re viewing ourselves and our lives, and to let the Spirit of God remind us that we have already been accepted. More than that, we’ve been CHOSEN by God.
This is a fact that’s sometimes hard to conceive of and easy to forget. God knows literally everything about us…who we are, what we’ve done, what we’ve thought about ourselves and others, and He has chosen us anyway. Just plunge into that truth for a minute and let it rehydrate the parts of your soul you’ve been trying to hide for fear you’ll be rejected. He’s the God of the universe, and He’s chosen you.
So how do we make this truth a daily reality for us? Here are a couple of thoughts:
First, let’s turn our gaze off ourselves and others, and back to Christ.
Second, let’s look at ourselves through the lens of Christ.
The culture we live in is really, really good at telling us what we lack and what we need. Have you ever seen a commercial that said, “you’re good like you are…carry on!” But God created us, and through that act, imbued us with inherent value. And as we see in Romans 8:38-39, nothing can take that away: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Third, let’s turn our gaze to others, in a healthy way.
In Colossians 3, after Paul reminds us to seek the things above, not earthly things, he instructs us to put to death a number of things that used to define our lives before we knew Christ. Then, in verse 12, he says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience…” What if we took the critical thoughts we have about ourselves and asked God to help us see where others might struggle with the same thing? And we used that as an opportunity to connect rather than compare? What if we asked God for the grace to see the cool/fun things others are doing and be able to be happy for them rather than sad for us.
Over here at EtchLife, we designed a whole Chosen Collection because we need this constant reminder of who we are in Christ. The message consistently draws people, and we love seeing how people use it to wrap themselves and their loved ones in this truth. Here are a few of my favs...
This encouragement art straight from Colossians 3:12...some of my fav colors, and I think it would be perfect on a bathroom mirror as a daily reminder.
This canvas and leather Bible cover isn't specifically about being chosen, but I love it! It's beautiful and simple, and it helps keep my Bible/journal/pens/pencils/whatever all together so when I'm ready to sit down for some quiet time, it's all there and ready.
Last but not least...the Chosen trucker hat. Because trucker hats make me feel cooler than I really am.