Comparison: Killer of Creativity

I once came across a great quote that has impacted me ever since I first heard it

‘Comparison is the killer of creativity’

What are the real dangers of comparison, and how can we avoid it?

I’m currently at the University of Nottingham studying music and let me tell you, there is a huge amount of incredibly (and I mean incredibly) talented musicians around me. I see these people pretty much every single day, and every single day I have to battle with comparison. It is so easy to look around and say, “I’m not as good as them”. Which, on paper, may be true; I may not be able to play that piece as fast as they can. I may not know as much about the life of Mozart as they do. But does that mean I’m any less ‘good’ than they are?

First, we need to look at our definition of ‘good’. If we intend ‘good’ to mean how skilled we are, then, of course, there will be some people that are better than us. For example, I have never taken any serious athletic training in my life. So, of course, an Olympic athlete is going to be better at running the 100m that I am. They are more ‘good’ because they have trained in those skill sets. But what if ‘good’ means so much more than how much we have improved in a certain area of life?

In Genesis 1, we read of God creating the universe. After each day, he looks back at what he’s created and we read something along the lines of ‘God saw that it was good’ (Genesis 1:18). But something profound happens after God has created man. Genesis 1:31 says, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” To put it another way, the universe without mankind was simply ‘good’. But now that humans have entered into creation, it is ‘very good’. What does this mean?

The Benson Commentary on Genesis 1:31 says the following:

 “...man, the masterpiece of God’s works, and his visible image and deputy here on earth, was now formed and constituted the head and governor of the whole. And all these wonderful works being connected together and dependent one on another, till the last link of the chain, was made and added to the rest... this being now finished, the whole was complete and very good.”

To put it another way, the mere existence of humans made the whole of creation move from ‘good’ to ‘very good.’

Another thing that strikes me is the way Genesis is laid out. It is written in the way that a temple-building script would have been written. Traditionally, after the whole of the temple was built, an image for the god of that temple would be placed on the outside of said temple so that everyone knew who was being worshiped there. For example, an Asclepion temple would have an image of Asclepius on its outside.

Take note of what is said in Genesis 1:27:

‘So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.’

We read that God has created us in his own image. To put it another way, we are his image bearers. God has put mankind into his creation as a kind of ‘image’ on the front of a temple. In just the same way that temple builders would build the whole temple and then place the image of the god on the temple as the final act in the building process, God has created the entire universe and then placed us, his image-bearers, right into the center of his creation.

We are his image bearers. We are the image of God walking on this earth. He breathed his spirit into us - that alone means we are absolutely incredible. We are more than ordinary because our God is extraordinary. And we are (to put it cheesily) the apples of his eye.

So, when we believe that we are no good, that there are people better than us, we believe a lie. We believe that the truth of us being very good in God’s sight can be changed and moved when we look at what other people have to offer.

But it was never about skill sets. It was never about what you could do. It was always about and always will be about Jesus creating us very well. We are good because Jesus says we are. It really is that simple.

God says, “You are amazing because I created you that way. I see things in you that other people don’t. It’s only my opinion that matters. And if I say you’re incredible, it means that you are.”

God isn’t like an embarrassing dad on the sidelines of an athletics track, saying, “Well done, you’re the best!” when his son is quite blatantly coming last in the 100m sprint. Sometimes people say to us, “Don’t worry, you’re still really good” and we can just tell that they are empty words and the person doesn’t really mean it - it almost feels like a consolation because really, we did come last, and we aren’t as good.

But that’s when we’re basing our definition of ‘good’ on skills, as opposed to who created us.

God says, “You ARE good. There is no comparison in this. I love you because I created you. Your goodness isn’t based on you; it’s based on who created you.”

Just because someone says you aren’t as good as the next person, it doesn’t take away the truth of what Jesus says about you.

If you feel that you’re rubbish compared to everyone else, that isn’t the truth. No matter how real those feelings seem they aren’t the truth. The truth is what Jesus says because he is truth. And he says that God created you. And if God created you, then you are very, very far from rubbish.

I’ve written on my whiteboard ‘Don’t forget who you are’. I’ve done this with the hope that every single day I will be reminded of my identity in Christ. My whole life is wrapped up in Jesus, and he is the best thing this world has ever known. So if I am his, and if his spirit lives within me, and if he created me, then that means I am amazing.

God created you, and he created you well.

Alice is 18 and from England. She gave her life to Jesus about 5 years ago, and was baptized in July 2015. She feels that she is called to creative evangelism after receiving many prophecies from various people. She's a keen musician, photographer, writer, and speaker, and she hopes to involve all of these passions when sharing the love of Jesus to the world. She looks forward to moving to a city to attend university, engrossing herself in youth culture and wider communities.