The Comparison Game
The Comparison Game is a game we have all been playing since the beginning of humankind. It's a game we play every day on the way to work, in the office, on social media, and even at church. It's that feeling you get every time you open Facebook or Twitter, and see the (seemingly endless) highlights of all the great things your friends are doing. Similarly, it's very easy to start playing the comparison game in ministry. All of the ministry groups/pages on the internet are extremely helpful, but they can have the opposite effect if you aren't careful with how you look at them. Ultimately, the comparison game is a game you will never win.
When we play the comparison game we are doing one of two things:
1. Tearing Others Down
We tear others down to build ourselves up. We try to feel better about our own lives by talking negatively about others. When we do this, it only proves that we are less comfortable and confident in ourselves and our abilities, which just leads to a continuous cycle of negativity. Great leaders surround themselves with other great leaders instead of singling out the so-called "weaker" leaders.
2. Tearing Ourselves Down
We look at the amazing events, environments, and blog posts from other leaders, and we can't help but feel inferior. It can be easy to have a big pity-party about how great everyone else's ministry is, but it's extremely unhealthy for us and our ministries to think this way. I'm certainly guilty of this one myself. Instead, look at other ministries or leaders and use their success to help spark your creativity to help you become a better leader.
So, how do we stop playing this addictive comparison game?
1. Ask God for help.
When we ask God to help us stop comparing our lives to others, we are admitting that we see the problem and are willing to work on it. None of us are strong enough to handle life on our own. Lean on God for His strength and guidance.
2. Change the way we think.
That sounds really hard, but this is a fundamental change. When you look at another leader or ministry, don't ask yourself if they are better than you. It's like we are comparing apples and oranges when we compare ourselves to other leaders. We are not better than one another, we are simply different. We may all be doing the same type of ministry, maybe even under the same title, but each of us have our own unique talents, gifts, strengths, and approaches to ministry. We all have something different, not better, to bring to the table.
3. Take time to thank God.
When you find yourself playing the comparison game, stop what you're doing and take some time to be thankful. You can make a list of all the things you are thankful for: your talents, job, family, possessions, etc. Don't make the list to compare yourself to others, rather take time to thank God for all of the things he has blessed you with. It's hard to make comparisons when you are being thankful for what you have.
This topic has been on my heart and mind for a couple of weeks and I will be completely honest in saying that I struggle with this. It's a bad habit that I am working to improve on each day. I hope it has touched your heart, and helped you in some way. What are some ways you have learned to stay positive and fight the comparison game?