We’ve hear it a million and one times… comparison is the thief of joy. It won’t make you happy, you’ll be miserable and it will keep you trapped to other people. And yet we still do it… ALL THE TIME! It’s one of those issues we all agree is wrong and detrimental, and yet it’s also one of the most widely accepted habits in our world, almost to the point where it’s considered normal and part of everyday life.
Yes comparison is something that everyone has or is dealing with, but it didn’t originate with our modern technological world, like so many would like to believe. “It’s not our fault! It’s our modern society!” Absolutely not… Comparison is an ancient problem that’s been around since the days after the fall of mankind. When Cain and Abel both offered sacrifices to God, Abel’s was accepted but Cain’s was not. Immediately Cain began to compare himself to his brother and this led to quite the turn of events.
Now, this might seem a bit extreme, but comparison doesn’t produce any life in us, but rather discontent, frustration, greed and possibly even anger. It’s a ploy of the enemy he’s been using since the beginning and his goal is to steal away your strength and in turn, disrupt your future.
We all know the famous words of Teddy Roosevelt, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” We know, we know, comparison doesn’t make us happy.
NO! It is literally stealing away your joy!
But why is that important? Let’s compare this quote with scripture…
So now if comparison is the thief of joy, and the joy of the Lord is your strength, then that must mean that comparison ultimately zaps you of all your strength and energy! Can you see the subtly in this! We all know comparison usually makes us unhappy with ourselves, but I bet most of us haven’t ever thought of it stealing away our own strength.
Have you ever woken up ready to take on the day? You get inspired by new ideas and you can’t wait to implement them into your blog, brand, business, home or life. Then you open Instagram and the scrolling begins. You pass over photo after photo of insta-perfect lives with their insta-perfect kids, the perfect fishtail braids and perfectly scripted captions (perhaps just what you were wanting to share that day, but now…) You start to compare yourself to the numbers under their profiles and slowly you begin to question if your ideas are really that good after all.
You go about your day with a little less enthusiasm as before and by the day’s end, you’re exhausted and mentally drained, yet you really haven’t done much. Or is this just me?
I would get super excited about what I wanted to do and the things God was showing me, but then I would log on to social media and without even fully realizing it, I would compare myself to every other blogger out there… “well she’s got this program, maybe I should be doing that. Well she’s got this many followers on her podcast, maybe starting one is a stupid idea after all… “ It’s a never ending cycle of comparison that is quite quickly chipping away at my own strength. Before I know it, I feel as though I’ve worked an entire day and it’s only lunch time! My ideas seem small and insignificant and I quickly dismiss them as child’s play.
Although this is an age-old problem, our modern society has definitely made it a million times easier to make comparison a daily part of our lives, like drinking our morning coffee. But if this habit of comparing ourselves to other people in our lives (and usually those we’ll never meet) is truly this troubling on our souls, then what’s the answer? How can we combat this comparison game in a cyber world?
Hannah was a woman well versed with comparison…
While she held the heart of her husband, his other wife held their 10 children, leaving Hannah with a lonely spirit and a sense of failing as a wife. Everyday, she had to look across the breakfast table at Elkanah (her husband) and his “other” wife as they got their children fed and ready for the day. She probably noticed the look on Elkanah’s face as he looked into his son’s eyes. She could also see the look on his other wife’s face as she gloated under the admiration of the man they both loved.
But Hannah's breakthrough didn't come while stalking and sulking over what she didn't have. She turned to God for her answers and got back more than she could have possibly imagined. She brought her petitions to Him and trusted God to be her defender, provider and ultimately, to get her sense of worth and value from the One who made her.
Scripture records these next five words which I believe God is trying to speak to all of His daughters today…
Hannah went on to have a son named Samuel who became one of the most well-known Prophets of the Most High God, anointing both King Saul and King David to the throne. God’s plan for Hannah was quite unique, but it didn’t come to pass until she gave her worries, comparisons and frustrations to God, allowing Him to speak His will into her existence.
God has a plan for your life but it isn’t going to look like HER life or HER calling or HER purpose.
And you won’t find His plan for you by looking at someone else’s life, comparing your insides to her outsides and competing with someone who isn’t running your race. If the shoe isn’t fitting right, then it’s probably not your size! And if you’re tripping up and not getting very far, then you’re probably trying to run someone else’s race.
We need to stop getting so distracted by what’s going on around us and begin to press in to what God is speaking to us individually. He formed you for a purpose, crafted you for a reason and scribed the story of you life in eternity. But it doesn’t happen automatically. God partners with us to accomplish his will and we are joint heirs with Christ to do good works on this earth.
Here’s a crazy thought, do you realize that your race doesn’t finish after your life on this earth? We will be spending an eternity with God in his Kingdom and if we don’t learn to run our race well here, then we’ll certainly learn to there. I don’t know about you, but I want to give it my all down here so I can experience everything God intends for me in this life and the next.
You are an original and you won’t live up to your full potential while you’re trying to look like someone else. Fight the habit to compare and give yourself a mental detox. Refocus and realign your thoughts on God’s thoughts and listen as he whispers to your soul, “I remember you. You’ve never left my mind.”
In a world of cyber comparison, be the exception and give others a reason to find value and worth within themselves.
Feeling stuck in your bible reading and unsure where to begin?
I totally get it! Check-out my Drawing Near Bible Reading Plan that will help you lean into God’s presence and understand the true heart of your Maker.
Whatcha waitin’ for girl, let’s get started!