One of the biggest strengths women have is our ability to foster community. We find a variety of ways to come together because we enjoy each other’s company. The beauty of community is found when we focus on our commonalities. By highlighting the areas we share, we foster relationships and build trust with each other, thus minimizing competition and rivalry. It energizes us knowing we are not alone in our current stage and season of life. It can even help us feel a little less crazy at times.
Comparison has the exact opposite effect on us. Oftentimes when we compare ourselves to others, we focus on the differences and draw conclusions based on our belief systems and pride. It’s rare that we can remain objective in this kind of mindset. Rather, we create a narrative that either elevates or lowers our status based on the other person. For example, we might see another woman who is put together well and conclude that she is vain, self-centered, or couldn’t maintain a certain lifestyle if she was like us. Or we might see a woman whose children don’t eat the healthiest of foods and conclude that she doesn’t care for them as much as we care for our children. In either scenario, our assumptions are not based on facts and most likely based on our own insecurities. Insecurity is an opportunity for us to forget our true identity because it’s rooted in pride. We elevate our thoughts and opinions so much that we judge others. We consider what we are currently going through, whether good or bad, and hold others to our standard, rather than remembering that God is the ultimate standard. This can create an environment of jealousy or envy instead of the sisterhood we were meant to have.
The story of Cain and Abel comes to mind when I think about the dangers of comparison. Even though this is about two men, the principles can be applied to anyone. In Genesis 4, we see that Cain and Abel, sons of Adam and Eve, had completely different occupations. Abel tended the sheep and Cain tended the field. They both did something unique yet complementary. They both gave an offering to the Lord, and, for reasons we won’t delve into here, the Lord was only pleased with Abel’s offering. Cain, instead of acknowledging Abel’s better sacrifice and making amends with God by bringing an acceptable offering, kills Abel based on his comparison of the Lord’s response to their offerings. His identity was in his offering and when that wasn’t good enough, he did what he felt was needed to feed his ego. Even after the Lord warned that sin was “crouching at the door,” Cain chose to give into his pride and take the life of his own brother, thus letting sin “rule over” him (Gen. 4:7).
How often do we do this to fellow women? While we may not kill the body, we kill character and credibility. We discredit women who are doing what they can to show up every day, all the while barely hanging on. Instead of having compassion and empathy, we tear down and ridicule and criticize other women for the things they are doing differently than us. We forget about community and the shared life experiences, and, instead, distance ourselves from one another, leaving others feeling isolated and attacked. The Bible calls us to “bear one another’s burdens,” not to give others more burdens to bear (Gal. 6:2).
There is such a stark contrast to community and comparison. In community, we uplift each other. In comparison, we tear each other down. In community, we create space for others. In comparison, we keep others out. In community, there is vulnerability. In comparison, there is perfectionism and people-pleasing. In community, we speak the truth of God’s Word. In comparison, we speak the lies of Satan. In community, our identity is intact. In comparison, we walk in insecurity. Community unites while comparison divides.
Joy is the Solution
Former President Theodore Roosevelt famously stated, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” When we walk in joy, we not only feel better emotionally but our bodies also benefit from being in this state. Joy allows us to rest. Joy enables us to be free from what others say or think about us. Joy helps us to have clarity of mind about who we are. Comparison robs us of joy because it coincides with a lack of gratitude. We don’t know how to appreciate where we are or what we have, therefore we subconsciously look for those who we can tear down so we can feel better about ourselves. When we walk in joy and gratitude, we realize we are not in competition with anyone else no matter how much or how little they have. When we remember who we are, daughters of the Most High God, we realize He owns everything—there is more than enough to go around! We can celebrate each other’s wins and comfort each other in loss. When we walk in our proper identity, we can be aware of our differences and not allow those to divide us. If needed, we can disagree in a respectful way because we know we ultimately have one another’s back. In community, there is joy and gratitude. In comparison, there is strife and discontent.
As you consider these things, I invite you to reflect on your own life. Have you been fostering community, or have you walked in comparison? Are you confident in who you are as a daughter of God or are your insecurities louder than God’s truth? Are you walking in joy and able to celebrate or empathize with another woman or are you secretly wishing for her to slip up a bit?
Please know there is no condemnation if comparison has been your default. At some point or another we all fall into it. Yet when we do, we can thank God that He allows us to repent. Thank God He provides us with not only His Word but also with tools to remind us of who we are. If you have been walking in comparison and have allowed it to distract you from who you have been created to be, I would recommend She’s Not Your Enemy: Conquering Our Insecurities So We Can Build God’s Kingdom Together by Jenn Schultz. With reflection questions, journaling prompts, and accompanying videos, this resource can help you regroup and refocus on who the real enemy is. It is my prayer that we would look for ways to reject comparison and build community for the glory of the Lord today!
Athena Avellanet is a devoted wife and mother of four beautiful children. She is passionate about empowering women to walk closely with God and find their true identity in Him. Through her insightful teaching and authentic sharing of personal experiences, Athena encourages women to be who God created them to be right where they are, from the kitchen to the corporate office. Whether it’s through uplifting posts, speaking engagements, or face-to-face conversations, Athena’s genuine desire is to embolden women to embrace their unique journeys and find rest in God’s unwavering presence.