I Think God is Holding out on Me

It’s never enough. We double tap, we snap, we share. And it’s never enough. Someone always has it better, someone is always happier, thinner, and every other “-er” you can think of. And we want it. We want “-er” so badly because we feel good to be noticed. We want people to like and applaud us. Applause is the sound our culture and generation loves so much.

“I want you to love me like I love me!” Our culture screams, “Self-care,” and, “You do you.”

“It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks.”

But we’re hurting. All of us. Why has “self-care” generation turned into the such a self-obsessed, attention-hogging, empty, and jealous generation?

Is it ironic? No. Inevitable? Yes.

I would love to write about how I defeated comparison once and for all, as if it’s not something I battle. But we’re talking present tense here, because like most struggles, they come back again. Sometimes they’ll resurface in a different area than before. I know I face comparison in different ways than I did at 18 years old.

If I pretend comparison doesn’t exist, I ignore a huge problem in my life. I think we all struggle with this. We always hear discussion around social media, and how it’s a comparison black hole. I am uncomfortable living a life that is always looking to the next best thing, the next best upgrade, the next season of life, and the person next to me who has the next best thing.

It’s my search for “enough” that has kept me running after things that are really not designed to fulfill me.

You know what that “thing” is for you. I know what mine is. Sometimes more than one thing comes to mind.

With each area of comparison we question what God is doing, or what he’s not doing. With comparison, we mostly question what he’s not doing on our time and our agenda. We question God’s heart when we have our eye on something that looks better.

It sounds a lot like Adam and Eve when they ate from the tree. God told them not to eat from one tree. Satan tempts Eve and she starts to believe that God is holding out on her by asking her not to eat from this forbidden tree. Isn’t it funny that what looks like God holding out on us is actually just his protection?

He gives us this entire garden and to protect us from destruction, he creates boundaries. These boundaries are purposeful, but they look an awful lot like hindrances to what we love. What if we truly believed God wasn’t holding out on us? We would live with more freedom, purpose, and joy in each season.

So how do we tackle this? How do we get past the rotten comparison that our good ol’ friend Pinterest says is “the thief of joy”?

Here are some thoughts to help you navigate:

Comparison attacks the areas we care about the most. God made us the way we are for a reason–for purpose. But with those qualities come a responsibility to use them well. If we aren’t careful we can idolize these areas that we care about. Soon enough these comparison traps are our idols. For instance, we might be idolizing recognition or fame when we compare social media likes. We might be idolizing our body image we compare it.

The ladder of thankfulness helps you climb out of the rut. Being thankful is hard when you’re complaining…and complaining is hard when you’re thankful. You really can’t have them at the same time, so which choice wins?

My prayer is that you will choose thankfulness. You see, thankfulness is the key to freedom from jealousy, greed, and coveting.

I don’t want to fear lack of; I want to rest in abundance of. When we are too busy looking at what others have, we miss the gold right in front of our eyes. Eve thought she was lacking something. If we can get good at identifying the gold, that is a thankful heart, we will rest in our abundance that God has provided.

Fear implies I’m in control, but rest implies God is in control. And how good is Jesus at multiplying small amounts of things anyway (hint: very good)? We can rest in his control; we can rest in abundance.

It’s not about me. In the end, comparison focuses on “me” rather than God. If I’m going to really get this thing right, it has to be about a life after God’s heart and not a mountain of blessings.

So how can I practically process this in my own life when the comparison monster creeps its way in? Well, here are some questions I ask myself to dodge the monster’s unwelcome stay in my heart:

Where/how does comparison show up in my heart?

What does my comparison reveal that I am fearing? What do I believe God is holding back from me?  

What is God’s truth about my comparison?

Can I trust God to fulfill my desires? Be honest, and think of ways he’s been faithful in the past.

So now we’ve identified the areas. How do we change our hearts? It always begins with thankfulness.

What is the JOY of this area (what are you thankful for)?

What is the work of this area (what is God asking of me with what he’s given me)?

YOU have purpose, promises of God on your life, and you are called to do extraordinary things whether you believe it or not. God created you to live in this moment, to influence the specific set of people around you, all for his kingdom. Living with eternity in mind is our goal as we pursue his call on our lives. If you ever need a reminder of that, you can read any of these Bible passages: Philippians 4:6-13, Hebrews 10:19-39, Psalm 139, and Proverbs 4:25-27.

Here’s the challenge:

If you need to create a habit of thankfulness, draw a ladder (or imagine one if you’re not the drawing type). Add a rung on the ladder for every thing you’re thankful for. Look at the rungs and see what God is doing! Look at his faithfulness and provision over your life.

And watch yourself climb out of that pit, girlfriend.

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