“Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” 2 Corinthians 10:12
It’s “get your tests back day.” As the teacher walks around the room delivering potential “looks like you’re grounded again” papers, you see everyone’s reaction to their red sharpie number at the top of the paper. Side note: everyone knows that red sharpie shows right through the page, why not go with pink or something a little more subtle?
Anyways, the reactions vary. Some show excitement all over their face, some try but fail to mask their disappointment, and others have extremely impressive poker faces. Once the bell rings, however reluctantly at first, your peers never fail to start asking around what different people made on the test. If I could count the number of times I asked someone or they asked me the classic, “So, how did you do?” question.
Thus begins either our ascension into the league of the smartest in the class or our demotion to the average/below average. What’s more, by comparing our grades to those around us, we see ourselves as either a success or a failure.
Okay, so I “dramatized” it a little, but I wanted to paint a picture (and I don’t think it’s too far off). A picture of how we, at an early age, compare ourselves to others. We compare - like in this case - what we can achieve, but we also compare what we look like, what clothes we wear, what talents we have, or even where we live, with those around us.
Then, we have a tendency to place our value and self worth by where we stand in comparison to our peers. The emotional effect is like a rollercoaster; sometimes we sit high and mighty and other times it feels as if we were pushed to the ground.
God makes it clear in the Bible that we are not to compare ourselves to others. He says that those who do “are without understanding.” Understanding of what? They are without understanding of who they are…who they are meant to be…of who God intends them to be.
You see, God didn’t make me, Cecilia, and say, “Oh snap! I meant to make her hair thicker and make her run faster! I knew I forgot something!!” No, we are all “fearfully and wonderfully made” by God (Psalm 139). There was no mistake in God’s creation of you and me, but rather great purpose and intention. If I’m trying to be someone else, I’ll never be the person I’m supposed to be.
So, instead of either trying to be like others or to be better than them, I am to focus on being the best me I can be. You are to focus on being the best you you can be. That way, we won’t lose sight of who we are. Don’t gage yourself based on the person to your left and right, but rather ask God daily that you would see yourself as He sees you, the one He deeply loves!