Watch: Lori’s testimony
Lori explains how her childhood moulded her into a person who was constantly comparing herself with others, until the Holy Spirit showed her the truth and set her free. Praise God!
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There was this inner voice within me that was always checking if I prayed well enough, did I quote as many Bible verses, did I sing worship songs as loud as others.
Hi, my name is Lori. I have been a Christian for more than eight years. Jesus rescued me eight years ago after I was going through one of the most difficult periods in my life.
He restored me and reassured me that He has never forsaken me, and in fact, He has been waiting for me to return to Him — same as how the prodigal son wandered off from the father for many years and finally returned home, and his father welcomed him with great joy.
However, when I first became a Christian, there were still lots of strongholds within me that blocked me from fully experiencing God’s love. Until I was willing to lay myself down to submit all my strongholds and blockages to God, I could then experience the true freedom that God intended for me.
One of the strongholds that had been holding me back was constant comparisons with others. This can be traced back to my upbringing.
I grew up as the only child in the family. My parents had very high expectations of me growing up, especially my academic performance.
My parents always got upset at me, especially around exam time, which they needed to discipline me to study. My mom would take the same school bus with me to school, so she could stay with me to review test or exam materials for an hour by a staircase nearby the school entrance, before I could even go to class. I felt so embarrassed that I was the only one accompanied by an adult on the school bus, not to mention that my schoolmates would see me standing there with my mom every morning by the staircase, which was quite humiliating.
I was not very talented as a child nor had great memory. My academic performance was only okay and that was not something my parents were very proud of.
I had a cousin who was the same age as me. We both went to the same primary school but attended different classes. My cousin always ranked number 1 in her class for the six years in primary school, while I only ranked between 10 to 15 in my class.
It was very convenient for my parents and other family members to compare both of us based on our academic performance, and she always received all the praises. Not only did she do well academically, she also participated in many after-school activities or joint school competitions, which she also did well and had awards for.
Meanwhile for me, because my academic performance didn’t meet my parent’s expectations, they wanted me to focus on studying only and did not allow me to join much other after-school activities.
Also, I was quite chubby as a child. I was discouraged to learn any sports or physical activities. This constant comparison with my cousin as well as with my other classmates made me become very self-conscious and even low self-esteem growing up.
Even when I was in high school and college, I often compared my grades, my appearance, my recognitions with my classmates. I became so self-aware to the point, even pretentious, so that I could impress others. Eventually, I even lost touch with how I was feeling and only operated in a very rational mode to justify my performance.
I also tried very hard to fit in and wanted to be recognised.
This mentality carried on to work. I always compared myself with others in terms of job performance, salary, status, job title, and even relationships. The constant striving to outperform brought lots of judgement, sense of unfairness, dissatisfaction in myself, and constant complaining. I ended up constantly chasing for things that I thought others had but I lack.
I came back to Christ eight years ago after a heart-breaking relationship. But since the comparison stronghold has been rooted in me for so long, that became just auto pilot.
As a Christian, I would compare myself with others when I prayed, when I worshipped, when I served.
There was this inner voice within me that was always checking if I prayed well enough, did I quote as many Bible verses, did I sing worship songs as loud as others, did I even clock up as many serving hours as others. Basically, everything I did, I did that for performance because I wanted others to recognise the “better” me and to fulfil my desire of being “better”.
Because the spirit of comparison had been in me for so long, I didn’t know its impact had been so significant, until God graciously revealed to me during one time of prayer.
During the prayer, Holy Spirit revealed to me that my upbringing, especially how I grew up being compared within the family, had such a strong impact on the person I became as an adult. In fact, not only was I constantly judging myself and others, deep down, I was even judging God and doubting why His blessings to others are bigger than His blessings to me.
All these inner judgements on myself, others, and God were blocking me from receiving the joy God has intended for me.
God further revealed to me that constant comparison had been holding me back from receiving and appreciating His provisions and blessings because I could only see what good things God had provided to others, but never able to enjoy the blessings that God had for me.
My focus had become what I lacked in life and constantly seeking and praying for those things I perceived I lacked, instead of praising and appreciating God for what He has been providing for me.
Thankfully, God is gracious and He wanted me to be freed. I was led by Holy Spirit to repent and to forgive those who have spoken words of discouragement or condemnations to me.
I lifted up all the perceived lack — which are all lies — to Jesus and replaced them with God’s promises.
I was also reminded that we are all God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Jesus so we can do good things God has planned for us long ago. And God is able to create very unique masterpiece so all of us are different. There is no comparison in God’s eyes because all His children are unique to Him.
Although we are all created in His image, His work in all of us is different and He loves us equally. I don’t need to outperform in order to gain His love. As a result, I feel very content and joyful.
The burdens I felt before were lifted as I handed them to Jesus, who is way more powerful and victorious than I am. My relationship with God has also improved as I could see Him as a loving Father who cares, instead of just wanting to discipline me. God saved me by His grace and I can not take credit for it. It is a gift from God. My salvation is not a reward for what I have done, so none of us can boast about it nor rely on our own effort.
Praise to the Lord Jesus, I am now free from all the comparison stronghold.
I no longer compare myself with others. I truly believe and trust that how much more will Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him, when us humans know how to give good gifts to our children.
Everyday, I am reminded of God’s goodness, and His grace is abundant and it is all I need. What’s on earth here is just temporary and will just come and go.
I also became more aware of God’s presence and work in my life and am able to identify how indeed His footprints have been all over my life. He has walked with me. With Jesus, I have everything. Without Jesus, I am nothing. God knows exactly what I need before I even ask for it and He always provides more than what I have asked, so why even need to compare?
I think when we look into our lives, there are definitely times where we can be in doubt or even question God, “Are You real? Can You hear our cry or feel our suffering?”
My experience tells me that indeed God is very real and He is always by our side, watching us every minute, and even during our sleep, He rejoices over us.
And the best thing is He is always available and very approachable. He awaits us to call on Him. We don’t need to be shy to speak to God as He is all-knowing already. God welcomes our submission and He is always ready to answer and bless us, more than we can imagine. Trust in Him and rely on Him and you will find that His footprints and blessings are indeed all over our lives.
If you can relate to my story but are not sure how to approach God, I encourage you to speak to Jesus as if He is your best friend. He is ready to listen, to comfort you, and even wipe your tears. There is nothing we need to hold back from Jesus, because He loves you and He cares.
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