The Truth of the Matter

Why do I compare myself to others all the time? A better question is, why do I compare myself to the version of myself that I dream of becoming but am far from? You know, that version you post on social media. The version of yourself you imagine you will be someday but never seem to become. Yeah, that one!

Trying to become who you want to be or who you think you should be can be so frustrating!

Social media has most recently been to blame for this distasteful behavior. We have all heard of the risks that too much exposure to these online comparison traps can cause and the dangers that trigger us to compare ourselves to these “highlight reels” seen in our daily feeds. These images prompt us to want to become what we see as we scroll, or they can bring on the depression we experience when we feel far from “normal.”

Self-love and self-acceptance have been touted as the cure. We are told to embrace yourself and love yourself just as you are. Hmmm, I don’t know about you, but being told to love myself and not look around at what others have isn’t as easy as it sounds. In reality, it’s impossible, even if every TV show, movie, commercial, and those awful social media platforms try to promote it every chance they get. If you ask me, it is just another way to feel like you are falling short.

But I am a Christian. I don’t compare myself to others. I am not discontented with my life. I am saved and forgiven. I am #blessed.

I go to church, and not only that, but I also serve there too. I have memorized bible verses, and I pray every day! I have surrendered my life to Jesus, and I am very much madly in love with Him. I want to obey Him at all costs and let Him use me as He sees fit.

I wish that were enough.

If I am being honest, I am still trying to be someone I think I should be rather than who God has created me to be. I’m like the rest of the world, in a trap of comparing myself to those around me. Without knowing it, I have dreamed up the ideal version of who I want to be, and I offer it to God as a living sacrifice. I say take me as I am, but make me like…her. Her, being the selfie version of me, is the one my prayers are built upon.

Can you relate? Do you feel like you have created an ideal version of yourself at some point in your life? Do you feel that if you could become more like that person, you would be better or even more Christian-like? If you are honest with yourself, have you ever prayed to become like that person rather than Jesus?

As I mentioned before, self-love and self-acceptance are not the cure. Serving at church and being a baptized believer isn’t either. Wait…what? It’s not?

The only cure is repentance.

What we experience when comparing ourselves to others or trying to become someone apart from God results from a belief system rooted in works, self-righteousness, and pride. This belief system survives the sinner’s prayer and the waters of baptism. It is a belief based on a lie that we can fix and save ourselves when we become like who we dream of. Or, if I am being honest, who we approve of- someone who is perfect and does not need saving.

Please don’t misunderstand; I am talking about the thought process linked to this behavior, not our state of salvation as a whole.

Although I know, believe, and recite the verse from Romans that says, while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me. Yes, while I was still a sinner, He died for me. This Truth was more like something I believed enough to save me but didn’t understand enough to live by.

I need saving, and so does my mind, and so does the image of perfect me in ALL its flawless beauty, actions, and service to God. That part of my thinking is saying no thanks, Jesus, I can save myself. The thoughts and actions I am talking about are not harmless comparisons or a Holy desire to change. It is not an innocent attempt to be better or improve. It’s also not the world’s fault or the day in which we live. It is sin. It is my fault. It is my no thank you, Jesus, I’ll do it myself attitude of heart. Yikes!!!

BUT JESUS!! Thankfully, just as He promised, He would start and finish the work of salvation and would be the author and finisher of our faith. He is keeping His promise, as He always does. He is kindly and gently revealing that the big bad monster of social media is not to blame. He’s pulling back the curtain on a lie that has been embedded in us since the beginning of time; we can do it ourselves and become whoever we want to be.

The mother of all lies!

The Bible clearly tells us we can do nothing apart from Christ and that we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

We cannot be whoever we want to be, but we can be more like Christ. We can be more of who He created us to be by allowing Him to continue to create us and align our thoughts with His.

In repentance, a true disengagement with the lie that says we can be whoever we want to be, and a surrendered acceptance of the Truth that says God made us and said it was good we can stop trying to be someone we were never meant to be and start living a life of fullness WITH Jesus as He continues to create us in His image.

Will you let Him continue to unveil who He created you to be? As we stop embracing the lie and start embracing the Truth, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will become the people He has made us to be, and the unveiling of who we are will reflect even more of who He is!

Lauren McNeely has appreciated the value of the written word since her youth. She enjoyed drafting poems to help process the world around her as a young girl, writing in her daily prayer journal to do the same, and writing a children’s book to commemorate her niece’s first birthday. Using words to express a feeling or new insight has been a helpful resource throughout the years. Lauren has a ravenous curiosity, and her favorite question to Jesus in their prayer time is “Why?” Her love of writing and the desire to know what is on the heart and mind of God has never left her short of topics to write about. She enjoys sharing these revelations with anyone who will listen, but mostly with her amazing husband, Eric. She is also quickly learning that her two-year-old son Ari has the exact inquisitive nature and shares in his mommy’s love of the question, why?!