During the recent gasoline shortage, I found myself with an empty tank.
After finally finding a gas station with gas, I began to fill up my car when the person behind me got out of his car.
“Don’t take it all!”
I glanced back at him, trying to see if he was making a joke.
Aside from this being extremely uncomfortable and awkward, this interaction got me thinking about the concept of scarcity and how we act when we feel like there isn’t enough to go around.
Scarcity causes us to become selfish. Entitled. Jealous. Judgmental. Bitter.
When we think about scarcity in terms of toilet paper, gas, or hand sanitizer, it seems comical at best and annoying at worst.
But then I realized how often I treat God’s favor like a commodity that’s about to run out.
Even though there is more than enough of God’s goodness to go around, I’ve recently felt threatened by the success of other women—by my sisters in Christ.
Maybe it’s the season of life I’m in, or that we’re all in as we put our lives on display on social media.
But for whatever reason, I often feel myself slipping into that scarcity mindset in my friendships when I see other women attaining the things I wish I could achieve.
Have you felt that sense of competition before?
Maybe it’s with the woman you follow who has a blossoming career. Or the one with the adorable children who always seem to be happy. Or the one who always has an incredible vacation lined up.
It’s whomever you look at and think, “I want what they have.”
It’s okay if that feels painful to hear. It makes me cringe, too, because I know how susceptible I am to comparing myself to other women when I should be congratulating them.
Slipping into a scarcity mindset is dangerous because it doesn’t just make you ungrateful for what you have––it makes you bitter towards others for what they have.
Scarcity is a destroyer of friendships.
But our God is not a God of leftovers. He’s not about that last roll of toilet paper or that last drop of gas in the tank.
He is a God of abundance.
His provision for us might look different from His provision for someone else. But He always, hands-down, gives us what we uniquely need.
So, here are five ways to help fight the scarcity mindset in our friendships and start living with an abundance mindset today!Here are five ways to help fight comparison in our friendships and start living with an abundance mindset today!
Five Ways to Stop Competing with Your Sisters in Christ
#1 – Celebrate your friends’ victories.
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. Be in agreement with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation.” Romans 12:14-16
Instead of throwing a pity party when you see the women around you receiving the blessings you want for yourself, make an intentional effort to cheer them on.
Romans 12:15 teaches us to rejoice with those who rejoice. When our friends and sisters experience something good, we get to share in it.
And that, in it of itself, is a blessing.
We often act like there can only be one “winner.” But even if that were true, it’s not about winning. Their triumph is not at our expense.
We fight the scarcity mindset in our friendships by recognizing that their victory does not equate to our loss.
If we’re all working to bring a little more of heaven to earth, then we’re on the same team. So, we can share in the same joy.Their triumph is not at our expense; their victory does not equate to our loss.
#2 – See friends as guides, not competitors.
“Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Instead of feeling threatened by the fact that someone is walking the road you want to walk, rejoice that they’re helping to pave the way!
We were never meant to pursue our calling in isolation.
When you feel tempted to gossip, criticize, or speak negatively about a sister, pray for her instead.
Send her a message of encouragement. Like or comment on the very post that caused those feelings of jealousy. Ask her questions about her experiences and thank her for leading the charge.
We fight the scarcity mindset in our friendships when, instead of seeing other women as competition, we choose to see them as guides and partners.
#3 – Check your own motivations.
“For I am not conscious of anything against myself, but I am not justified by this. The One who evaluates me is the Lord. Therefore don’t judge anything prematurely, before the Lord comes, who will both bring to light what is hidden in darkness and reveal the intentions of the hearts. And then praise will come to each one from God.” 1 Corinthians 4:4-5
I don’t often think about the reality that I might be “that woman” to someone else. The person they look at and compare themselves to.
This realization has helped to create a sense of accountability in my life.
Before I share something on social media, or even in person with my friends, I ask myself if I’m sharing it solely to make them jealous.
I don’t want my words to make other women doubt the goodness of God in their lives.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we know our true motivations.
We know if we’re sharing something to give glory to God or to glorify ourselves. If we’re sharing to make someone feel inspired or to make them feel inferior.
We can’t always control the conclusions others will draw about us, but we can certainly keep our motivations in check.
We fight the scarcity mindset in our friendships by carefully inspecting our motivations and purposefully redirecting them for the benefit of others.We can’t always control the conclusions others will draw about us, but we can certainly keep our motivations in check.
#4 – Stay focused on your unique calling.
“Let your eyes look forward; fix your gaze straight ahead. Carefully consider the path for your feet, and all your ways will be established. Don’t turn to the right or to the left; keep your feet away from evil.” Proverbs 4:25-27
Comparison is often a symptom of insecurity.
When we criticize the calling of other women, we miss hearing our own.
We don’t have our eyes fixed on the road set before us if we’re too busy looking at the women around us.
Ultimately, if our identity is not grounded in Christ, we’re prone to those feelings of jealousy and bitterness.
To root out unhealthy competition with other women, Jesus alone must be our identity. And we must set boundaries to protect that identity.
If scrolling endlessly on Instagram or following certain people causes you to grow bitter, then take a break. Unfollow them. Fast from social media for a few weeks.
Staying focused on our calling requires intentionally––it requires keeping our gaze fixed on Jesus.
God has a unique calling for each of us. What a shame if we were to miss out on His goodness when we were too busy envying the women around us.
We fight the scarcity mindset in our friendships by remembering that each person has a unique purpose and calling.
#5 – Realize that no one is actually deserving.
“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and rich in faithful love. He will not always accuse us
or be angry forever. He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our offenses. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His faithful love toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:8-12
It’s not up to me to determine whether other women are “deserving” of the blessings they’re receiving because I myself am not deserving. None of us are.
Humility and gratitude are surefire ways to defeat the scarcity mindset in our friendships.
Humility keeps us from thinking there are things God owes us or that we’re more deserving than someone else.
Gratitude keeps our hearts in the right place as we actively acknowledge that we already have all we need.Humility and gratitude are surefire ways to defeat a scarcity mindset.
A few final thoughts.
“Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!” Lamentations 3:22-23
True friendships are based on authentic care and appreciation for what each person has to offer.
Fighting feelings of scarcity will help us cultivate healthy friendships that last.
When our friendships become a scale to weigh our own self-worth, we’ve missed the point of friendship.
So, the next time you begin to feel that sense of bitterness, envy, or comparison towards another woman, remember that scarcity is nothing more than an illusion when it comes to the goodness of God.
His blessings are endless and so we need not hoard them.
His mercies never end. In fact, they are new every morning.
–Hannah Jessen Conway
Hannah Jessen Conway is a blogger who intentionally pursues themes of faith and culture, women’s empowerment, and social justice in her writing. From 9 to 5, she works in communications and marketing, telling the stories of local nonprofits and churches in the Raleigh area. She’s a proud teacher’s wife, rescue dog mom, and Jesus follower. You can usually find her reading a book on the beach or in a local coffee shop. Read more of Hannah’s writing at Re-Glory.com or connect with her on Instagram and Facebook.