The second mistake Elijah made is revealed in his prayer: “I have had enough, LORD…. Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors” (1 Kings 19:4). A second cause of depression is that we start comparing ourselves with other people. Most of us have fallen into the trap of thinking, “If I could just be like so-and-so, I’d be happy.”
When we start comparing ourselves with other people, we are asking for trouble. The Bible says it is both unwise and harmful (2 Cor. 10:12). We should not compare ourselves with somebody else because everyone is unique. There is only one person that you can be, and that is you. If you are always trying to imitate other people and act like them, you are going to get depressed. You have to be honest with yourself and be who you are. That is all God wants. That is all he expects.
When we start comparing ourselves with other people, we fall into another trap: we tend to compare our weaknesses with other people’s strengths, forgetting that those people are also weak in areas where we may be strong. Moreover, we try to motivate ourselves through criticism and condemnation. We do this by “should-ing” ourselves: “I should be able to be like that person. I should be able to act better. I should be able to accomplish it. I should be able to stop it”—as if whipping ourselves verbally is going to motivate us! Nagging doesn’t work when we do it to another person, and nagging ourselves with self-criticism doesn’t work either.
Rick Warren, God’s Answers to Life’s Difficult Questions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008).
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