May 24, 2022
Freedom From Crushing Comparison
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"The Lᴏʀᴅ will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lᴏʀᴅ, endures forever." Psalm 138:8a (ESV)
When my husband and I walked through multiple miscarriages after our firstborn, I became acutely aware that we didn't fit the mold of other families.
People constantly asked us if we "only" had one child, and I struggled to answer. While my friends were having their third babies, I was struggling with secondary infertility.
One of my closest friends at the time, Laura, already had two children, and she and her husband wanted to wait awhile before having any more. But when I walked into their home one afternoon, she looked at me with tears in her eyes.
"Ann." She didn't even say hello. Her husband sat across the room with a pained look on his face, and I knew what she was going to tell me in a split second. "We're pregnant."
We hugged long and hard, both of us in tears. She knew what hearing this news would cost me. She knew how dearly I wanted another child - and how they hadn't been planning for this one. "I wanted to tell you in person because ... because I'm sorry. I wish it was you, Ann," she whispered into my ear. "I'm so excited about this child, but I don't want to hurt you."
Was I happy for them? I tried to be. But my own sense of loss - and the lack of fairness in it all - overwhelmed my joy. I felt so deeply ignored by God, so completely unseen.
Why, when Michael and I had been crying out for another child, would the Lord bless our friends with a child they weren't even trying to have? Why was it so easy for Laura and so hard for me? What was going on?
These questions of comparison often fill our lives: How come she gets to be healthy when I'm fighting a chronic illness? Why does she get to hold down a steady job when anxiety keeps me from functioning? Why is she married and I'm not? Why can't I have a better job like him? Why is her life so easy when mine is so difficult?
Comparison, either from our own hearts or from the mouths of others, is a daily reality for most of us, and it can cause deep pain. And especially when others get what we desperately want, the voice of comparison can start to weave subtle but troublesome lies into our relationship with God - that perhaps He loves others more than He loves us or that He listens to others more than He listens to us.
But friend, those lies, which will try to steal your peace, are not the truth. God is at work in your life, and His plans and purposes for you are distinct and important. The Bible declares: "The Lᴏʀᴅ will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lᴏʀᴅ, endures forever" (Psalm 138:8a).
And so the choice is before us: whether we will let the lies of comparison keep us in anxiety and fear ... or we will look to the Lord for our purposes to be fulfilled and for our identity to be secure in Him.
We do this by keeping our hearts grounded in the Word, and by choosing to focus on Christ's love and goodness. Even with the hardships we face, God's Word offers us freedom from comparison when we realize we are uniquely made for His purposes and He is working out all things for our good: "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28, ESV).
The Lord hears you. He sees you. Even if life isn't turning out how you expected, God has goodness and peace for you.
He has not forgotten you.
Lord, help me to walk in Your peace even when others get what I desperately want. Keep me from comparison, and help me to look to You for my purpose and identity. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
If you ever feel stressed or overwhelmed by the struggles of life, make sure to grab a copy of Ann Swindell's beautiful, faith-stirring 40-day devotional, The Path to Peace: Experiencing God's Comfort When You're Overwhelmed.
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Connect with Ann over on Instagram, where she shares her heart about finding peace in Christ.
FOR DEEPER STUDY
2 Corinthians 10:12b, "But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding." (ESV)
Are you currently measuring yourself against others? If so, how can you choose to trust Christ with your identity and purpose today? Let us know in the comments!
© 2022 by Ann Swindell. All rights reserved.