Be Satisfied WITHOUT Comparing Yourself to Others

We all do it. We compare ourselves with others. When we don't measure up, we feel defeated. God wants us to be satisfied WITHOUT comparing.

I don’t talk about my running days very much here on my blog, because … I’m not running anymore. And based on my photos, one might wonder if I ever did. (Hmmm … sounds like comparing, doesn’t it.)  But today, I will talk about it a little bit.

I first started running in 2002–training for the Houston Marathon. It was hard and painful. Throughout my training I ran with a group of people whose body shapes were as varied as you can imagine. But I had my eyes on those runners who were lean and fast. They were in the green and yellow groups. I was not. I was in the red group. For the first 3-4 months of my training, I always came in last–often missing the seminar given at the end of a training run.

Part of marathon training here in Houston (and probably elsewhere) is running a series of warm-up races that increase in distance, so you are ready for the final 26.2 mile competition. After those races, or after a particularly grueling training run, I always compared my time with those who finished long before me–or those who finished 5 minutes ahead of me. Often I felt defeated, like I would never reach my goal.

One friend in particular constantly encouraged me, saying things like, “Dianne! Be proud of yourself! You worked hard on that run! You finished! You’re doing great!!”

It was hard for me to feel that way, because as Christians, we aren’t supposed to be proud. But Galatians 6:4 tells a different story.

“Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others,” (GW).

“Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else,” (NLT).

IMG_2977This pride isn’t arrogance. It isn’t sinful. It is simply being satisfied with a job well done. Knowing you worked hard and accomplished something. My marathon? I finished it in 5:23. I trained hard. I worked hard. I did my part–and God did the rest. Eventually I figured out that it was OK to feel good about my accomplishment without comparing myself to everyone else.

There are so many other areas in life where we compare ourselves to others. You’ve probably read a dozen articles about it, too … you know …

Comparing ourselves with others who

Seem happier and more successful based on what we read on Facebook
Homeschool and we don’t
Are super creative with parties when we’re doing good to pick up a cake from Kroger
Can make a perfect crust
(We think) have a better body shape

The list goes on and on. Probably the worst of all is comparing ourselves with people we think have it all together spiritually. Oh, how that hurts us. One my favorite verses, especially during my running days, is Hebrews 12:1 …

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” (Hebrews 12:1 NIV).

No one is running my race, and I’m not running anyone else’s. Neither are you.

We can’t legitimately compare ourselves with others, because they have a different race. They have a completely different set of circumstances–their road is completely different.

You can’t compare your 5K time on a road race with someone who is running a 5K in a warrior run. The terrain is completely different. You might be running on smooth asphalt, while your neighbor is trudging through mud, climbing walls, and other crazy hazards. On another day, you might find yourself running through a wooded trail. Different races, different results.What does it mean to live--without? Some people live without hope. God says live without grumbling! If we are His, He sees us without blemish. #write31days

The bottom line? We run the race God marked out for us. He is cheering us on. He is the only one we need to please. And you know what? We already please Him. He loves us so.



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14 replies

  1. YES! God spoke to me earlier this year about this! False humility is in itself sinful because it is not giving God glory and honor for all He has done in and through you. Recognizing your talents and living through them and being proud of that is honoring God’s work. Do we think God expects Billy Graham or Beth Moore to be like, “I haven’t really done much with my ministry”? HECK NO! God expects them to be like, “Look at all God has done with my ministry! Look at how He has used me!”

  2. Oh thank you! I never put the emphasis on the “Marked out for you” part of that verse. That takes weight off shoulders. A wonderful reminder that we all have our own gifts and strengths and paths. Thank you!

  3. Great post! And wow, I can’t imagine running a marathon. That takes some serious mental fortitude.

  4. Great post! I’ve seen many comparing their writing to others on this #write31days… I appreciate the reminder that my race is MY OWN and no one else’s. Keep up the good work!

    • Good word, Tammy. I’ve caught myself a few times thinking … all these women have done this at least once before … probably since it started … blah blah blah … Yes … we are here to please ONE and ONE only!

  5. Yes, yes, yes! We bring so many problems on ourselves when we compare ourselves to others. It’s ok to look and learn, but we need to avoid the “poor me” syndrome if we don’t feel we measure up. He gives His grace for whatever He wants us to do, and that’s all we need. I love how you brought out the different kinds of runs – great analogy. And I agree there’s a difference between being satisfied in a job well done or seeing how God has used something vs. personal pride.

  6. Oh, Dianne, how I needed to hear that! I have a race that’s marked out just for me. When I focus on that race, I will be satisfied and complete. Thank you, my friend.

  7. Dianne…Loved this today. How true that our race is unique to us as God designed it to be. It sure humbles the heart, doesn’t it? Thank you for a great post. Sharing it on my blog FB page. (Fellow CBB-er)

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