It has been said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I don’t know who penned those words but I know every woman, young and old, needs to hear and believe that truth, myself included.

I’m not sure when it’s learned or how, but we as girls have a natural tendency to compare, to copy, imitate, and compete. Yes, you would think competition is a male tendency based on centuries of athleticism but if you think back to elementary school, junior high, or high school (ugh . . . ), you’ll see the highlight footage in your mind’s eye. We were often competing against each other for popularity, attention, position, and affection. We dressed, acted, and conformed to peer and social pressure. We didn’t dare carve our own path.

As Christian women, why do we still struggle with comparison? Having been in ministry for a while now, I’m familiar with the struggle of comparing my gifts to those of another—my role, opportunities, callings. And now I’m seeing it in my younger sisters just starting out in ministry, in life.

This is a path that leads to disappointment and truly does steal the joy God intended for us to have by fulfilling our own calling.

In John 21, we find the disciples just finishing a beachside breakfast with Jesus. Nice, peaceful scene, right? Jesus begins to tell Peter of his unique calling, (verses 18–19) a difficult one for sure, but one he was created for, gifted for, and a destiny the Lord would bless. But Peter ponders, looks at John, and asks, “What about him, Lord?”

What about him? Will he also have this destiny? Will his life end the same? Will he get to do things I won’t?

No matter how we phrase our prayers or concerns to the Lord, He sees our heart. And His answer to Peter is His answer to us all, “What is that to you?”

In our lives, our ministry, circle of friends, marriages, and our station in life, we as followers of a holy and loving God know that everything we have comes through His hands and is given to us for His glory.

But, how easy it is to take our eyes off our blessings or gifts and yearn for something else. “Wish I could sing like her. Wish I lived in that house and had her life, her kids, her husband, her look, her metabolism” (no seriously, I’ve wished that last one). And while most of that is our flesh nature, it plants a seed that if left unattended can grow into dissatisfaction and loss of appreciation for what He has designed for you: your gifts, your calling, your path.

We are each uniquely and wonderfully created to be who God designed us to be for His good works and His good purpose. There is no one like you. As the Lord states, we are His masterpiece.

When the Lord reminds us in Jeremiah 29:11 that He has plans for us, it’s to encourage us that there is a life designed and planned specifically for you! A life to bring hope and a future. Your life.

A life filled with coffee stains, cars that won’t start, tears, painful loss, and tempestuous storms, yes—but also a life where He will use your voice, your skills, your talents to point someone to Christ. You have a purpose that Christ has only chosen for you. Don’t miss it!

Need proof? In Hebrews 12:1, God shows us by stating, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us!”

You have your own lane to run in this race, your own track shoes, your own finish line—and it’s clearly marked out for you.

Comparison sticks us on the sidelines in our Christian walk. If we can’t be like her, then why try? “I’m not good enough” is a lie from Satan. You weren’t created to be her, and I guarantee that her life, while seemingly perfect, is full of trials and tests you don’t want and weren’t created for.

Today, I encourage my sisters, young and old, to exercise the gifts you’ve been given, get off the bench, and get in the lineup. Be content with the countless blessings you have been given. Open and use your gifts!

You are His finest work, His sonnet, His beloved. Sing your song, and dance your dance, even if it’s unlike any other. Especially if it’s unlike any other. We, as a body, need you to be you!

Live your life for His glory.

You can choose joy!