By Savannah Cottrell
As Christian young women, I think it’s safe to say that we struggle with comparison, especially with one another. I struggle with this often, whether it’s with appearance, skills, or anything else. It’s easy to fall into the trap of “I’m not as good as her at this,” or “I wish I had her talents” or “her spirit” or whatever.
And let me tell you that comparison can definitely wear down on you after a while. Can you call it motivation? Yes. But does it make it any easier to focus on living our lives and walking with God? I certainly don’t think so.
Allow me to present to you the following idea, something I’ve learned over the past couple of years: compliment, not compete.
What do I mean by that?
Complimenting instead of competing means that you’re focusing less on being – or wanting to be – better than or at least as good as another person and more on encouraging your fellow Christian. So, for example, say that you are attending a Bible study. Your friend arrives in an amazing, brand-new car. Instead of being envious of her car, you focus on her. Not only compliment her on that car, ask her how she’s been. Compliment her in other ways, too. You absolutely never know how her day went; she could have had a lousy day at work, or anything else you don’t know about.
So, can we apply the concept of complimenting and not competing to our faith?
Yes. Yes we can.
1 Thessalonians 5:11a states: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up” (NIV). Paul was writing specifically to the church in Thessalonica, and he was likely addressing their specific needs (the rest of the verse goes on to say “just as in fact you are doing,” which could imply that they were already good encouragers, and Paul could just be giving them a pat on the back and urging them to continue). What if we took that advice along with making every effort to encourage every time we even thought about competing with someone?
So, sure, there are people in our lives who seem like they have it together. Either they’re superstars at their job, or they are great with household management, or they have the relationship or marriage of their dreams, and the list goes on. What we don’t realize is that the people we think are so cool are far from perfect. Though the people we see as “cool” on the outside may appear that way, the appearance usually varies from what’s underneath. And not only that, but those people that we think are cool more than likely consider us cooler for things that we don’t really consider noteworthy. It’s all based on perspective.
At the end of the day, do not bring anyone down. Don’t belittle someone. Likewise, don’t make anyone feel inferior. Instead, encourage everyone. Help them when they need it. When others encourage you, compliment them for it. In turn, you both will be blessed, and you could potentially gain a friendship that you wouldn’t have otherwise had.
Plus, you have no idea how much a compliment can mean to someone.
So, compliment instead of compete, dear readers. You’ll be glad you did.