A Cure for OCD (Obsessive Comparison Disorder)

There’s that point in our senior year or even as a recent graduate when we start comparing ourselves to others in the same shoes, especially if things aren’t quite panning out for us. For example, our roommate received a great job offer and we still don’t have one. Or, another friend knows where she’s moving after college and who she will live with. Someone else just got into graduate school. The comparison game begins. Paul Angone, author of All Groan Up, calls this OCD: obsessive comparison disorder. It is so easy to look around at other people and feel that we don’t match up or that God is holding out on us.

When I finished college, I didn’t have a post-graduation plan. It seemed like all of my friends started launching their careers and figuring out their futures. Or, it felt like plans just plopped into their laps while I struggled. I started to question God’s character. Does he have something good in store for me? At this point, I was seriously considering a significant move (from my parents’ home in NY) to live with a former college roommate who asked if I would go in on an apartment together in State College. I was interested—excited even—but I needed to be able to pay the rent. Time was ticking, and I still had no job. Was I destined to live with my parents forever? What’s next?

I needed to exercise, clear my head, and pray. I needed to run. After running for miles in the warm rain, I jogged past a field of lush green grass. I stopped to catch my breath and looked up at the sun breaking through a cloud in the sky. I looked down at the grass and noticed blades spotted with rain, each drop like a marble of brilliant color. A black and yellow butterfly brushed past my arm and fluttered on into the distance. Suddenly, I noticed all sorts of little live things—bugs, birds, weeds, trees—all bursting with life. In a whisper, I sensed God answering my prayer as he unfolded his good creation before my rain-soaked feet. “Look at these,” He said. “I take care of grass, yes, grass—surely I have a plan for you!” If God takes care of grass, lilies, and sparrows, how much more will He take care of us, the crown of his creation? So much more!

Grass and rain

Jesus tells us,

“[D]o not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?


“And why do you worry…? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin… If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:25-34, ESV)

I didn’t get a job offer the day of that jog or even weeks later. But, that green-grass moment filled with me faith that I didn’t have before—faith that God was not going to leave me or forsake me. Faith that he had good things in store for my future. Faith that he would provide my daily bread. God’s whisper to me that day gave me courage to move out of my parents’ house to an “unknown land” (State College) and trust that God would work out the details. More than a decade later, I look back in awe of a God who pursues, promises, and provides. Always.

  • Who are you comparing yourself to right now?
  • How can you look upward at God and around your life (not others’) to notice the countless ways He’s taking care of you right now?
  • How will choose faith instead of fear in this transitional time?