I'm not sure if this is true of other cultures, and I am the last to know if it applies as strongly to men, but I have become absolutely convinced that the enemy's greatest weapon against Americans, women, and Christians is comparison and the resulting complacency. (And if you're an American Christian woman, I believe he's trying to set you up for disaster.) We are so surrounded on every side so entirely by things and people that we're told to compare ourselves with, that unless you SEE the depth of the infiltration by our media and society and very actively work to be free of it's influence, you are heading up a very swift, dangerous creek without a paddle to be had. Fortunately, if we can become aware of the situation, Jesus can become our paddle. And with Him we can turn the boat around.
The amount of comparison that we're just expected to make every day is enormous. We don't even see the extent of it because we're so infiltrated. Every time you go to the grocery store, there are 15 magazines with hot, perfect women on the cover. They don't ever bother to explain to young girls paging through Cosmo and Vogue that every cover made has a bill for tens of thousands of dollars for airbrushing and photoshopping services. And that every size 1 model in the two-page Gucci and Armani adds are either born having a hard time putting on weight, or just threw up their lunch in the bathroom.
What about Victoria's Secret adds? I saw about 5 in a one hour episode of Grey's Anatomy last week. Those girls look perfect. But oh, yeah. They've had boob jobs and haven't eaten a full meal in weeks. And how much you want to bet their backs and feet are throbbing from wearing the weight of those wings while filming? I even saw it on a Jack in The Box commercial. Hot, perfect "goddesses" eating a huge bacon burger. Yeah. Right.
We compare ourselves every day to everyone around us and we don't even see it. I didn't realize the extent of it until recently. One day, the Lord opened my eyes to how much I'm living in bondage to comparison and I saw how bad it's gotten. It's hard to flourish as you when you're constantly looking at how pretty and talented and artistic and wise and successful others are and feeling like you come up short. I do this CONSTANTLY and haven't even seen it. I love singing. I actually have a good-ish voice. But I always look at my friends who are great and assume I should just keep quiet. I love art-photography, painting, drawing, etc....but I know phenomenal artists that I always measure myself against. I love writing. I'd actually love doing it for a living. However, I look at several of my favorite people's work and feel completely messy and juvenile. I even compare my weight loss and teaching skills to my Zumba instructor friends and mentors and give up on things too fast because they've lost more weight and teach such great classes. I can't even be at work without watching my co-workers make coffee faster and better than me.
I've come to see the severity of comparison and how detrimental and painful it can be to the body of Christ. When we allow it to take over, we give up trying as much and we cease to function at the capacity and in the power He has intended for us to, and we become ineffective. Insecure. Complacent. Less dangerous to the enemy. Which is exactly what he wants. If we managed to stop comparing ourself to others, we would become pure dynamite. Dynamite that blows the enemy right out of the way.