Javian, 24, Tennessee, USA
[As told to Then God Moved editor Adira Polite]
Two years ago, my husband lost his job. My husband’s a believer and incredibly honest person, so it came as a shock to us both. While interviewing for new jobs, he began working a lower-paying job. We hoped it’d be temporary, but time after time, he didn’t get the call.
This loss was not in my plan for my life. The plan I had was perfect: we’d get married, pay off all of our debt, buy a beautiful four-bedroom home, travel the world, and go on missions trips. I did everything in my power to make these dreams reality. Still, my plan didn’t work out. I had to come to terms with the fact that input doesn’t always equal output; we can work hard and do the “right” things to honor God, but we might not get what we want. I was frustrated — and that frustration only grew when I saw other people living out parts of the life that I had meticulously planned for myself.
Comparison is a battle for many of us. I used to try to fight it by building myself up. “You’re awesome, you’re amazing, it doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing.” But, as I learned in the days after my husband’s termination, looking inward doesn’t work. To teach me this, God led me to the Book of Joshua. He showed me His faithfulness to the Israelites, His sovereignty, and His plan for them.
Then, in the Book of Hebrews, I found my memory verse for the year: “Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23). I realized that, contrary to the world’s teachings, the reason we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others isn’t because we’re “just as good.” It’s because God has perfectly crafted unique journeys for each of us — journeys designed to accomplish His will.
Comparing your life to someone else’s is like comparing apples to oranges. If something is in God’s will for your life, it will happen in His timing and in a manner that brings Him glory. Period. If you’re jealous of another believer’s life, then you’re jealous of how God is using them for His glory. And if that’s true, then you want the glory that belongs to God. You’re jealous of God’s glory! That’s the same sinful desire that led to Satan’s fall. That’s dangerous.
This desire for what someone else has — known as “coveting” — reveals that something in our relationship with the Lord is lacking. When we don’t have faith in Jesus, we have a constant desire to fill a void and find our value elsewhere. Money, fame, recognition. But anyone who’s gained those things will tell you that those things don’t fully satisfy. Christ satisfies.
Learning to trust in Him alone brings so much peace. We give ourselves anxiety when we try to control our own lives and at the end of the day, we’re turning our goals, and the illusion of control, into idols. We’re trying to be the god of our own lives.
That’s not to say that we can’t have desires. We’re human. But all of our desires should flow from our foremost desire: God. As Scripture instructs, “In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:6). God knows the desires of our hearts. We can trust Him. Comparison stops where faith in Him starts.