By Rachel Gardner
We all know that crippling feeling of comparison, of sizing up our lives against others’. Comparison steals our ability to be fully content because Satan likes to find our weaknesses and exploit them. We know that feeling, and so did the disciples.
John 21:21 says, “ When Peter saw [John, another disciple], he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!’”
Jesus basically says, “Why is my relationship with John your concern, Peter? You should be concerned with following me.” What Peter is feeling is comparison, jealousy, and fear of missing out on something better. It is what we as humans, and especially as women, feel all the time.
Peter asks, “What happens to John?” But he really wants to know, “What happens to John compared to me?”
I find myself in Peter’s same place of confusion and frustration, often asking, “Lord, why does she get this thing I also desire, but you’re keeping it from me?” Ultimately, someone else’s walk with Christ is of no concern to us; it is between her or him and God.
A good friend and mentor of mine gave me this exercise to do when I’m feeling overcome by comparison. Either in your head or on a sheet of paper make two columns. In the left one write, “Why is it that ___” and fill in that blank with whatever you find yourself coveting or comparing, and continue doing this for as many topics as needed.
Now in the right column write, “You follow Me” after every single statement. Why? Because He gives you freedom from every single one of those statements that bring you to your knees with despair.
Yours might look like:
Why is it that Jane has a job and I don’t?…You follow Me.
Why is it that my friends are married and I’m still single?…You follow Me.
Why is it that Ella was admitted to that school and I wasn’t?…You follow Me.
The point is that Jesus is working in wonderful ways in your life even if you are not aware, so don’t let another’s life distract you from God’s goodness in your present. Plus, you do not know the hardships those things might bring the people on your list or which people they have on their own list, because if we are honest, we all have a list.
Talk to God about your struggle with comparison. Cry out to Him with all your pain and hurt and confusion. He listens and yearns to give your soul rest from its tossing and turning (Matthew 11:28-30) Then live your life in confidence, not because you have a handle on comparison, but because Jesus does, and He carries that burden for you. “You follow Me,” he says. Now, let’s follow Jesus together.