I’ve heard this quote a lot, “Comparison is the thief of joy”, and I fully believe it. Comparison is a tricky thing. I’ve thought that I had a handle on comparison and every time I would find myself comparing I would remember this quote and try to think about something else. However, I’ve realized that I compare a lot. This morning in my time with the Lord I was praying about the children’s ministry and praying that I would be effective because “I don’t feel effective” and “I don’t have a large team like other churches” and “I don’t have all of the lights and media and things other churches have”… As I was praying this the Lord was like “Comparison…” and I was like “Right.. comparison is bad…” ….. “ohhhhh!!! COMPARISON!” …. Duh… As I began thinking about the discouragement and thoughts I’ve been having lately I realized I tend to compare a lot. I compare my singleness to others relationships, I compare my ministry to others, I compare my work to others and the list could go on.
One thing this pointed out to me was, spend time with the Lord, listen to Him attentively and call things for what they are. No one likes to be told that they are comparing things and that they shouldn’t, however, that’s what I was doing. Now I can look at things a different way and pray specifically.
Another quote that I really love and think about often is “Don’t compare your behind the scenes with someone else’s highlight reel.” This is so true! Social media is wonderful and is often used as a tool to reach people, I use it for that! However, social media can also have its downfalls. We see the “good” of peoples lives, their accomplishments and achievements, their happy relationships and vacations, their uplifting quotes and verses. But we rarely see their valleys, their down days and hard times. That’s just not something we share, not something we are “proud of”.
These are peoples “highlight reels” their “good times” and all the wonderful things going on, their wonderful relationships with their spouse and wonderful kids raising their hands in worship on Sunday in children’s church. Those are two things for me that stick out, relationships and ministry. I compare those “highlight reels” with my behind the scenes of no relationship and struggle to feel effective in ministry.
Does this happen to you? Do you find yourself comparing your life to others? Your first reaction may be like mine. No way! I’ve definitely got a handle on that! But what discourages you? Take a moment to think, do you find yourself comparing your singleness to others relationships? Do you find yourself comparing your children to others? Do you find yourself comparing your job to others or your ministry to similar ministries? Or comparing where you thought you’d be at this point in life, what you thought you’d be doing, who you thought you’d be with to where you actually are?
Friend, comparison is the thief of joy and the joy of the Lord is your strength. If your joy is gone, your strength is gone. The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians not to compare: “Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load.” The note below that scripture in my Bible says “To compare ourselves with worldly standards or to the lives of others – even other Christians – shows that we lack a proper understanding of God’s will for us as individuals and as part of his body (the church, the community of all true Christians). The only standard by which we must measure ourselves is revealed by God through Christ and His Word.”
Do we have a proper understanding of God’s will for us? I love that it says we should only compare ourselves to Christ as revealed through God’s Word. Get in your Word! Learn who Jesus is, His character, His love for you, His plan for you. Study His Word! Compare your life only to Jesus, to His character.
You are unique.
You are the only you.
No, your life, relationship, singleness, ministry, job, kids, nothing is like someone else’s and it shouldn’t be!
Get alone with God and find out who He wants you to be. You!