I was only eleven years old when I first realized I wasn’t as pretty as another girl. I remember vividly the way it all unfolded—the realization that I didn’t measure up. It was the summer before my sixth grade year.
“Denise” was the other girl. She and I lived near each other, so every day we rode to school together, and during the summer, we carpooled to day care. It was at that ill-fated day care center that I met the young and handsome Scott. I don’t remember much about that summer, but I do remember this: I liked Scott, and Scott liked Denise.
(Was I really that young when I started holding out my heart to a boy for approval?)
As we spend time looking at Christ Himself, you and I will be set free from the bondage of comparing ourselves to others.
Before then, it had never occurred to me that someone else might be better than me. More worthy of affection than me. Prettier than me. My tender heart pulsed with the sting of rejection.
I began to examine Denise and measure myself against her. She had golden brown hair. Mine was almost black. Golden brown must be better, I quickly concluded.
Her eyes were a clear blue. Mine were green. Blue must be prettier, I thought. I even got blue contacts when I was in seventh grade because I still thought my green eyes were ugly.
Her clothes were definitely cuter than mine. So there was that.
And my front teeth were bigger . . . and I had freckles . . . and bruises on my legs.
Most importantly, Denise was a year older than me and already had curves. I was about as curvy as a ruler, and would be exactly that shape for several more years.
Do you remember the first time you felt like you didn’t measure up to another girl? Maybe you’re even feeling this way right now. I’m still tempted to compare myself to others every single day.
Well, let’s all agree to stop this nonsense right here and now. Here’s what I want you to do (and I’ll do it, too):
1. Turn your eyes away from that other girl.
Are you feeding your mind with images of other girls and thinking you come up short? Are you comparing yourself to someone else you know—her looks or talents or accomplishments?
The apostle Paul spoke of teachers in Corinth who were doing this very thing, trying to gain higher positions among one another. “[W]hen they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding” (2 Cor. 10:12b).
We must learn to recognize those thoughts of comparison and reject them.
2. Turn your eyes away from that guy whose approval you’re craving.
Your life’s story will have many characters, and most of them will come and go. You’ll have success and failure, acceptance and rejection. The praise and approval of people is a fickle thing. Just look at celebrities or politicians—how quickly their popularity comes and goes!
It’s the love of God that will be the one constant factor in your life, and the sooner you can trust that, the safer and more satisfied your heart will be.
3. Turn your eyes to Jesus.
Did you know that Scripture teaches that when we gaze upon the glory of Christ, we will not only be free, but we will actually be transformed into His image?
“[W]here the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:17b–18).
As we spend time looking at Christ Himself, you and I will be set free from the bondage of comparing ourselves to others. As we find our acceptance in Him, we will be set free from the shame that comes from being rejected by guys or friends or anyone else.
As we gaze upon His beauty, we will become more beautiful in ways that won’t perish or fade. In His love we find true freedom.
Is there something you need freedom from today?