Quit Playing the Comparison Game

by Twila Belk

For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].
Ephesians 2:10 AMP

Linda brought several boxes filled with handmade pottery to our meeting and gave each of us the opportunity to choose one item as a gift. She had a wide variety of beautiful pieces—vases, plates, pots, and bowls—which made for a tough decision. I gazed at the assortment and considered the options, and then I discovered a pot I couldn’t resist. It had my name written all over it. Unlike any of the other pots, it was full-bodied, lumpy, lopsided, and had a warped mouth. I loved it.

My special acquisition now sits on a shelf in my living room and serves as a visual reminder of how the Master Potter created each of us differently. I share the unique characteristics of that pot, at the risk of sounding peculiar, because I’m that kind of  vessel. A unique creation God can use mightily for his work.

I know that. I teach that. Yet sometimes I get distracted by a person named Penelope Perfect. If I fall into her trap, she causes me to doubt who I am and leaves me in a state of discontentment.

You know Penelope, don’t you? She …

  • is witty, charming, and wise;
  • makes her own clothes, is a fabulous cook, and maintains a spotless house;
  • has obedient, well-behaved children who excel in everything they do;
  • leads a weekly international Bible study;
  • publishes a new best-selling book every month;
  • is an eloquent, hilarious, and dynamic communicator;
  • runs a fortune 500 company and owns a private jet;
  • established multiple charities around the world;
  • plays fifteen musical instruments—some while standing on her head;
  • has a flawless body with muscles and curves in all the right places;
  • and when she enters a room, awe-inspiring music plays and heads slowly turn.

We can find Penelope on Facebook, in meetings, at church, and lots of other places, reminding us of how perfect she is and how much we lack. She’s dangerous!

We might say, “Why can’t I be more like her?” We might envy her life. But doing that is unproductive. It undermines our confidence and strength and causes us to question our purpose.

One day I had an aha moment while reading Psalm 139:16, which says, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” If I’m so set on being someone else and living their ordained days, who will do the things I was created to do with my ordained days? Who will tell the stories that only I can tell? Who will touch the lives that only I can touch?

No one can do me like I can do me. No one can do you like you can do you. God gave us our own ordained days to do things nobody else can do.

We’re incomparable. Let’s be strong in who we are.

Penelope Perfect is a dangerous person, Lord. When she distracts me, she causes me to forget who I am. She tempts me to be just like her. But you didn’t create me to be like anyone else, Lord. I’m incomparable. And you have things for me to do that nobody else can do. Who will do them if I don’t? You have a purpose and plan for me, and it’s not Penelope Perfect’s purpose and plan. Help me to be strong in who I am. I want to be the best me I can be, and I want to serve you in incomparable ways. Thank you for the one and only me!

This devotion is an excerpt from The Power to Be, (c) 2018 Twila Belk. Used by permission of BroadStreet Publishing.

twila belkAbout the Author: Also known as the Gotta Tell Somebody Gal, Twila Belk  loves braggin’ on God. Whether she’s writing, speaking, or teaching, she offers hope and encouragement for people to fix their eyes on him. Twila is the author of The Power to Be: Be Still, Be Grateful, Be Strong, Be Courageous and Raindrops from Heaven: Gentle Reminders of God’s Power, Presence, and Purpose as well as five other books. Mom to three grown children and Grandma to three precious little boys, Twila lives with her husband in Iowa, not far from the Mississippi River and the home of American Pickers, John Deere tractors, and Whitey’s ice cream.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner 51veIj1tu+L._SX344_BO1,204,203,200_from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Twila’s new devotional book,  The Power to Be, please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: Do you ever have problems with Penelope Perfect?

 

 

22 thoughts on “Quit Playing the Comparison Game

  1. Yes, I tend to go to “guilty gal” mode when things that I expect of myself don’t get done. Laundry, dishes, grading (teacher), emails…This is something I am working on. God has a plan for me, my life, and my work. I have to let enough be just that, enough!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You said, “God has a plan for me, my life, and my work.” Amen! That’s exactly right. (I’d like to think that God has a plan for somebody else to do my dishes and laundry, but so far no one has come along to do it.) Thanks for commenting, Cindy! 🙂

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  2. The YOUNG Penelope Perfect tries to give me grief from time to time. While my 60-something year old self doesn’t want to go back to my 30s, I do want to finish strong. I want to live well all the days He has ordained for me, bringing Him glory.

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    1. I’m like you, Melynda. I don’t want to go back to my 30’s, although I’d like to have some of the energy I had back then. 🙂 God can use us to bring Him glory in big ways and will help us finish strong.

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  3. This was perfect timing for not only what I needed to hear but also for what I am sharing in my study this week. In Romans 11 there are no imperfections shared of the great men of faith — only what they accomplished through God. Thank you so much for this.

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  4. I do this everyday! I’m the oldest working in a Salon full of beautiful ladies who are half my age and compare the clothes and cars they have and it makes me depressed almost daily. I try not to do this because I know it isn’t healthy but the thoughts creep in. Thank you for this message. I’ll try shifting my focus.

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    1. Kristie, I’ve learned that whatever we focus on becomes magnified. It’s true in so many areas. I’m praying that you’ll be able to shift your focus, as you mentioned. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worthwhile.

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  5. I have always heard that you are comparing yourself to a snapshot of someone else’s best especially when we look at our friends lives on social media. We each have a “particular race” to run.

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    1. That’s an excellent reminder, Sue. When we’re comparing, we’re looking at someone else’s best. We don’t see all the other stuff behind the scenes. We need to focus on our own particular race. Thanks for commenting.

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  6. This was so good! Comparisons is a destructive in who God created us to be and to be used uniquely for His greater purpose in taking away the creativity and feeling ill-equipped, but God has created each one of us “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

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