It’s a common theme in women’s ministry: Don’t play the comparison game. Don’t compare yourself to others, we often say, because you are great just the way you are. You are devaluing yourself, we claim, when you don’t think you’re as awesome as the woman who lives up the street. In most cases, when the comparison problem comes up, we think of it in terms of what we are saying about ourselves, and we pat each other and we coach and we say, Don’t do that to yourself.
But, I would argue that there is a bigger issue at stake than our own self-esteem. We aren’t just devaluing ourselves when we compare. We are turning another woman into an ideal to be possessed. We are looking at our own friends and neighbors and wanting what they have. There’s a name for that. It’s coveting.
We don’t generally think of coveting in terms of other human beings. We think of houses and cars and fat bank accounts. Yet, even in scripture when God gives the Ten Commandments to Moses, He specifically directs men not to covet their neighbor’s wife. God is speaking in terms of a man wanting to have someone else’s wife for his own. But how is it really any different to look at another man’s wife and wish that we had her legs? Or her hair? Or her talents and abilities? Think of how many women we see on a daily basis that cause an ache inside of us because we wish we could steal parts of them for our own?
The problem with comparison isn’t that we don’t think enough of ourselves. It’s that we think too much of ourselves. We want more glory. More attention. And we have swallowed this world’s lie that the way to get all of those things that we want is to be physically beautiful with talent to spare.
The world is always going to try its best to wrestle our minds away from what is true and right. It’s going to try to tell us that we aren’t enough and that we should want more than we have been given. It is trying to breed dissatisfaction in a heart that has already been perfectly satisfied by the Savior. Why do we continue to listen so intently to the noise?
In Christianity, we get the benefit of a sacred sisterhood–women who know and love our Savior, who are running this race with us, arm in arm. It would be a terrible thing to let our coveting pull each other down into the mire. Let your sister flourish in her gifts. Don’t envy her the things that God has given her. She is so much more than legs and hair and talents, and so are you. Trust the Lord in what He gives and in what He doesn’t. Rest in a satisfied heart and stop letting the world tell you that you need anything more than Jesus. He is enough.