Guarding My Eyes So I Don’t Compare Myself

By June 6, 2012General

I’m hoping to teach my kids about serving others this summer rather than just wasting away under layers of sunscreen. But we did go to the pool the other day. And all the college girls in bikinis reminded me: I have to guard my eyes.

We teach our boys and pray for our men, but let me just tell you, I need to guard my own eyes. Because I’m wired to compare myself. And it can happen before I get everyone’s goggles out of the swim bag.

 

Foggy Emma
flickr photo credit


 

The Comparison Trap

Comparing ourselves to others steals from us. It steals our joy in Christ. It blinds us to the ways He’s designed us individually and purposefully. And if we fall in the comparison pit, we will find ourselves sulking in the shade because they don’t have stretch marks.

Maybe you or I don’t physically look like someone else. We may sag or have wrinkles or cover the grey. But I pray we open our ears to the truths from the mouth of our Lord. I pray we have a fresh desire for the favor of our God. He’s the One who looks at the heart, not at our waistline.

He takes our cute little face into His massive hands and says, “Lift your eyes up, sweet daughter, and look at Me. Look at My face. I say that you are absolutely adorable. Believe Me. Believe what I say about you.”

 

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
Psalm 139:13-14

 

Staying on Guard

So when we’re at the pool this summer and we’re tempted to compare ourselves, let’s do three things.

1. Guard our eyes. Look at our kids. Look at a book. Look at the sky. But let’s guard our eyes so we don’t fall into the comparison trap.

2. Remember what He says. When temptation comes, pray and repeat Scripture to Him. Recite the words of our God. Remember true things.

3. Pray for the one we’re comparing ourselves to. Because chances are she struggles too.
 

Comparing ourselves to others will waste our time and steal our joy. And who wants that kind of summer?!

 

How do you guard yourself against the comparison trap? Click here to join the conversation.

 

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Comments

20 Comments

  • Avatar Beth says:

    Thank you for this reminder. I was recently out on a date with my husband and one year old daughter and was struggling with this very thing. I was feeling like the frumpy housewife comparing myself with all the young high school and college girls working in the trendy clothing store. I had to realize that I am in a different season of life but also that I would benefit from taking better care of myself and putting more effort into looking nice for my husband.

    • Avatar lara says:

      You are so right. We do need to take care of our bodies, while also giving ourselves grace for have carried babies in these bodies. πŸ™‚ Blessings, friend.

  • Avatar Heidi says:

    I recently had someone explain comparison like this: the opposite of comparison is REST.

    I can relate to that…when I’m comparing, I am in turmoil inside (evidenced in a variety of ways…self pity, self-condemnation, hurt, etc…notice the focus on SELF), but when I’m confident in who I am w/o comparison, I am at rest with myself.

    This definition has helped me with those “aha!” moments; when I can identify myself not operating in rest, and am off-track, and veering toward comparison. This helps me recalibrate and choose to rest in who I am in Christ. not some made up model of perfection (usually all the best qualities in other women all put together in one idol I’ve created in my mind πŸ™‚ )

    • Avatar lara says:

      Oh girl, that is so good…”the opposite of rest.” And you also nailed it when you said that about creating an idol. That’s exactly what we do. Thanks for the wise word.

  • Avatar Karin says:

    Wholeheartedly, Kat: thank you. Speaking truth into our lives! When I have those jealous moments seeing the thin petite bodies of those young girls, I always say to myself, “Yeah, but – they also haven’t done what I have, which is birth three people. Check back in 8 years or so. I used to look like that but reality happens and comes to all!”

  • Avatar Amanda says:

    Lara, thank you for this heartfelt reminder. I especially love #3, because humility is not thinking less of yourself but more for others… thank you for sharing!

  • Avatar Austin-Lee says:

    Lara, your writing always touches my heart. But this really hit a nerve. Even tho I’m a runner and “in shape” for the most part (ya know, minus that tummy pooch lovingly bestowed by my precious 3 kiddos πŸ˜‰ it doesn’t matter when it comes to comparing myself to other people. Someone always makes me feel just YUCK. And obviously it’s the issue in my heart, not them. Thanks for this…I really needed to be reminded of making the adjustment in my heart, not my workout routine or eating habits. Also loved the part about praying for those whose body I would like to have, haha. So often I’m all “yeah well SHE hasn’t had three kids and a c-section”, and that is nothing but my insecurity talking. I don’t want this attitude for my daughter, and I am realizing so much how I need to not want this attitude for myself as well.

    • Avatar lara says:

      That last thing you said is so key about not wanting this attitude for our daughters. Yes! Me either. In fact I watched my daughter that day at the pool and she kept staring at the older girls. I found myself praying for her, that she wouldnt be bound up with lies over her identity — ultimately finding her worth in her God. Blessings, sister-friend.

  • Avatar Donna says:

    Thanks for sharing an all too common situation we find ourselves in. I recently came across something along these lines and it’s helped me a lot. Love is about sacrifice. As mothers, we have chosen to sacrifice our bodies to bear children. Yes, many of us are left with extra weight, stretch marks and things just not where they used to be. But, because of the sacrifice of love, we can bear these leftover signs of pregnancy with a new outlook. My children are young adults and I still find myself comparing my body to younger women’s. What a snare the Enemy has used to speak untruths to us.

    • Avatar EB says:

      DITTO DONNA!It is so hard not to want to be what we used to be. I. Battle this daily. I am working g hard with God’s help to remember that I am beautiful I. His eyes. I really would like to just get to a healthy place!

  • Avatar Suzie (from Sydney) says:

    Thanks Kat. Great post, really GREAT. Thank you. I’m going to link your post on my facebook page, this is a message we all need to hear πŸ™‚

  • Avatar Suzie (from Sydney) says:

    Apologies to Lara, I should have said great post to you as the author. Thanks Lara, you wrote exactly what I needed to hear πŸ™‚ I’m grateful Kat asked you to post today πŸ™‚

    • Avatar lara says:

      Thanks, Suzie. No need for recognition, but thanks for that. All truth is His. Praying we live in the freedom He intended. Be blessed!

  • Avatar Dena says:

    When I’m tempted to covet I try to look for the beauty in the other person as I would a friend. I say to myself, “She’s a cutie. She’s going to make some man very happy. She has a good knack for dressing well.”…. or something like that. Then I remember and feel thankful that I don’t have to attract a man, I already have one that loves me, I don’t have to go through all my pregnancies again, I already have my children and then I feel so thankful that I can just enjoy the relationship I already have instead of having to go through first dates and the first years of marriage again.

  • Avatar Dena says:

    Oh and for those of you who are suffering from a fashion dilemma as I was until recently, here is a link to a great website that has some posts on it that can help moms find a good balance in fashion.
    http://youlookfab.com/2009/10/07/10-casual-outfit-formulas-for-mom-on-the-go/

    That link is for the winter version. Those in the summer season now can click on the highlighted sentence on the top. It will take you to another page. Look for the places where she talks about options 1 2 and 3. They are great outfits for summer that you can mix and match your clothes in and look appropriate for many motherly duties. πŸ™‚

  • Avatar Elizabeth says:

    we spend a lot of time at our community pool (in Texas in the summer we almost never go outside unless we are in water) and unfortunately I find myself doing the opposite! I look at other moms and think, “wow, at least I look better than her, I might have a muffin top but she…..” It is just as deadly and offensive to God. We do need to remind ourselves that he created all of us! thanks for the post!

  • Avatar Michelle says:

    Lovely post and reminder! I tell myself that when I compare, I’m lessening the chances of making friends with another person, and what if they (or I) really need a friend that day? Comparing always seems to get in the way of relationships, doesn’t it? It also gets in the way of feeling confident in Christ, and maybe that confidence is something you can share with someone, even someone with tighter abs than you πŸ™‚