Why The Comparison Game is No Biggie
I’m mostly fine.
In general, I am okay.
I’m a fairly positive sort of person so I don’t have trouble on a daily basis with discouragement.
…but every once in awhile, I see something or hear something and it makes me sad!
I saw a post on Instagram awhile ago and it was by a young vlogger. I want to highlight some things…
“The past year of her life has been so joyful!”
The truth is, while I am alright I wouldn’t say I’ve had a whole year that was all together joyful. It hasn’t been unhappy! But innocently joyful? I don’t really remember the last time that I could say, “Wow! My year was perfect!”. I’m sure I had them but it’s been so long I forget.
“Early stages of marriage, setting up a new home, moving to a new community, meeting new friends, building a new life together…”
Again, yeah, not so much! I have done all those things but they weren’t during a joyful period of my life.
The early stages of marriage? Not joyful. Either time.
Setting up a new home? I mean, yeah. That was joyful. I did a lot of it alone.
Moving to a new community? Ummmmmm…. I don’t think the word I would use was joyful. Maybe anxiety-ridden? Drama-filled? Culture-shocked?
Meeting new friends? I made one! But that’s my fault- I am a hermit! I don’t enjoy hanging out with other “normal” couples still (hey now, there’s some honesty for ya!) and tend to avoid adult human beings. The few times I do reach out, something generally seems to happen. I made a nice new Canadian friend down the street and she’s since been bed-ridden for about six months and doesn’t want visitors. One of my best friends from moved away, and then another one. I have one left who lives close- she’s a flight attendant! Most other people in my area work full-time which means long hours in the city or live in South Jersey. I am one of the few (possibly the only) mom home with my children on my street. Yes, this was a long rantity-rant about it! In short- no, not really making new friends.
Building a new life together? I can take a breath and say we are. It’s not perfect, it’s not easy, but yes, we are building a new life… finally.
Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” I actually had to Google if that was a Bible verse or not, because I wasn’t sure! It sounds like it could have been. The more I read the more I saw that quote wasn’t very Biblical at all. In fact, the Bible often talks about comparison as being something we do to edify.
Take this often quoted verse:
“Brothers and sisters, someone in your group might do something wrong. You who are following the Spirit should go to the one who is sinning. Help make that person right again, and do it in a gentle way. But be careful, because you might be tempted to sin too. Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to do this, you are only fooling yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Just look at your own work to see if you have done anything to be proud of. You must each accept the responsibilities that are yours.”
-Galatians 6:1-5 (ERV)
I mean, it says that we should help to make right the person who is sinning, first things first. That’s not minding our own business at all.
And the second point, is when it talks about comparing ourselves to others, they’re talking about in regard to thinking how awesome we are, while they’re such sinners. We’re not to do that! We’re to look at our own sinful ways and smarten out ourselves as well. No looking down on others to build ourselves up.
We’re not to compare ourselves and be like, “Why did they get all those blessings, when I’m so wonderful?!”
We are also not to want and be jealous of other people’s lives.
“Do not covet your neighbor’s house. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” -Exodus 20:17 (CSB)
But I’m not coveting, I’m not comparing, I don’t think I am better than that girl (at all!). I think God protected her and kept her safe, I think that she made wise choices, I think that she deserves and is a testimony of God’s goodness and she is the fruit of her mother’s faithful womb.
It just makes me a little sad.
Sadness is not something God desires for us. A sad heart needs more Jesus. He knows our pain. He knows how it can hurt to sit at a dinner with “normal” couples and listen to their funny stories about their trips and their new endeavors they’re going on as partners in life.
All I ever wanted was a family. That’s really it. I had many dreams but it was the one and only thing I had ever been sure of.
I don’t know if you know the story of Hannah but she was a woman who had deep pain, much in the same way, except that she wanted a child. Her husband had another wife names Peninnah (I mean, that’s part of the problem right there. I watched Three Wives, One Husband, I saw what’s up!) and she would taunt Hannah because she couldn’t have kids.
“Her rival would taunt her severely just to provoke her, because the Lord had kept Hannah from conceiving. Year after year, when she went up to the Lord’s house, her rival taunted her in this way. Hannah would weep and would not eat. “Hannah, why are you crying?” her husband Elkanah would ask. “Why won’t you eat? Why are you troubled? Am I not better to you than ten sons?” -1Samual 1:6-8
Ha. Ha. Ha. Life of a baroness second wife? No, thank you. I’d want a child, too!
Anyway, Hannah lived heartbroken until one day, she got tired of always looking, feeling and being so despondent that she prayed her heart out like a crazy woman and God heard her prayer.
“Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door[a]will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” -Matthew 7:7-8 (CSB)
Satan tries to trap us with self-pity, envy and steals our joy when we compare “our miserable lives” to the “obviously much more joyful” ones of those we see around us (on on social media!).
I say, instead of trying to ignore it and pretend it doesn’t exist- use that comparison to edify.
Ask yourself, where did I go wrong? What mistakes did I make that led me to sin before the Lord?
Maybe you were like me and you got all caught up in the sex, drugs and rock and roll. Maybe not. I don’t know.
Whatever you find, ask God first for forgiveness. Then, be a Hannah and pour your heart out to God- ask Him for what it is you want and believe that He will give it to you!
“Who among you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?” -Matthew 7:9-10
God wants to give us good things.
Just like how I want to give my son his allowance when he makes his bed in the morning, stops the sass and helps with chores.
I’m rooting for him to get it every week because I know he’s saving up for his trip to his uncle’s wedding in Europe. Little does he know, I’m going to give him extra money to spend anyway. So when he doesn’t earn his allowance, he’s super angry and throws a fit and I’m the worst mom ever and everything in his life sucks! (Direct quote)
Don’t do that to God. Edify yourself. Be happy for those you see who are doing well. Ask and wait. Good things will come to you too when you have the right attitude!
It’s not circumstances that make us blessed- it’s our perspective.