8:00 AM She’s looking in the mirror and wondering what it would be like if her eyebrows were a little more arched, and her new blouse hung from her shoulders like it did on the mannequin’s symmetrical frame. “Maybe if I lose a few more pounds…”
10:00 AM She lets out a sigh of disappointment as she skims through Instagram on her study break, completely bitter over the opportunities other women have been afforded. “When is it my turn?”
12:30 PM She’s wishing she wasn’t sitting alone in Panera, as she hears a group of friends planning their next girl’s weekend in Nashville. “It’d be nice to have friends like that.”
3:00 PM Despite her usual eye-rolls and skepticism, she’s actually considering the funky DIY skincare regime she saw on Pinterest- as she waits in line at the grocery, eyeing the Photoshop-manufactured skin on Covergirl. “If I could have that glow…”
7:00 PM She’s counting every character flaw as she longs to be slightly more assertive, a little louder, and a tad bit more confident as she wrestles with whether or not to speak up in class.
11:30 PM She brushes her teeth, scrubbing hard enough to make her gums bleed. “A few shades whiter and a few degrees straighter is all I’d ask for,” she murmurs through swishes, as she prepares for bed and another new day of the same game of comparison and jealousy.
Do you know this girl? I can’t say I’ve never met her. I can’t say I’ve never been her either.
I’ve had days that just seem to be dictated by the comparison game- jealousy and bitterness leaking into every moment. Maybe you’ve been there too. Maybe you’re there right now.
So many women have shared with me that one of the most difficult aspects of jealousy is that is doesn’t go away. It nags like a swollen mosquito bite; the more you try to ignore it, the worst it itches. And when it finally does go away, another bug comes right along and gives you a new bite to scratch.
Can we find any respite from this plague?
Like farmers anticipating the hum of locusts, we’ve got to understand our environment.
Our western world runs and operates on competition. Tech companies are constantly releasing the next big (or small) gadget that is sure to beat the one released 7 months ago. Athletic teams are searching for the best, in order to be the best. And while these aren’t inherently bad occurrences, this competition makes its way into the corners of our every day life:
Just behind the centerfold of nearly every women’s magazine, lies a spread of “Who Wore it Best” and “Hot or Not.”
These subliminal messages have a direct impact on our interaction with the world.
From a 12 year old needing that Abercrombie logo (or whatever overpriced clothing tweens are fighting their parents for these days), to the second semester freshman hoping to get into the “pretty girl” sorority, we want the best, so we can be the best. Sound familiar?
We scroll the Internet, jotting down mental notes of how we can improve our image until we’ve completely normalized competition at the expense of our own intrinsic value.
But we weren’t meant to live this way. If you’re in Christ Jesus, you’ve been set apart from the rest of this world- not because you’re better, but because your god is better. (1 Peter 2:9)
Read these words form the apostle Paul:
“Do not be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2
Just before this, Paul had encouraged his readers to offer their bodies as living sacrifices to God- living for the Lord rather than for man. This is so contrary to how we live today. If we’re being honest, despite our tattoo reminders and lock-screen memory joggers, we constantly sacrifice our body and our souls to this world- often before we even eat breakfast. We choose to please and impress those around us, rather than honoring God with our lives.
Paul urges us to not be conformed to living life this way. Just because we live in the very thick of this game of comparison and jealousy, doesn’t mean we have to play along. We can choose renewal instead.
How? Here are six steps:
- Setting our minds on things above, rather than things of this world (Colossians 3:2), asking, “Does this competition that I’m so desperately trying to win actually matter in the grand scheme of eternity?”
- Confession and repentance– telling God where we are and asking the Holy Spirit to change our desires.
- Dwelling in the Word and in prayer. Apart from God, we cannot be renewed or refreshed.
- Submerging ourselves in a godly community of other’s seeking renewal and exhorting you in your efforts.
- Choosing purity when the media offers comparison, gossip, and competition.
- Worship– glorifying the Lord instead of glorifying ourselves, despite the temptation and platforms for our own advancement at our very fingertips. It’s acknowledging our position: God is holy. We are not. He alone is worthy of praise.
We receive so much from our environment that we have to hit reset and refresh every morning, the same way we hit snooze. Renewal has got to be a priority in our every day routine as godly women if we have any desire to alleviate the itch and the pain of comparison.
I don’t know what time it is where you are. I don’t know how many times you’ve compared and competed yet today, but I do know that you were made for so much more. You’ve got a purpose beyond one-upping your roommate, and feeling bitter after you’ve caught up on Snapchat. You were meant to worship with your whole life- mind, body, and spirit. And that starts with renewal.
The plague…it’s real. And I don’t suspect it to let up any time soon. But don’t fear- your King is coming and He’ll make all things perfect, and pure. In the mean time, grab a citronella candle and renew. Your heart is worth it.
With Love & Freedom,