Comparison: The Thief of Joy

Today, I had a heart to heart with a good friend of mine. Someone I love dearly but then again I love all of my friends dearly – 😉😙. I am truly blessed to have friends that I can call sisters. Friends that I can be 100% real with and vice versa. Today’s heart to heart was deeper than it has ever been. We cried. We shared. We cried some more. This wasn’t out of the norm as we have cried and shared many times in the past but this time around we shared some things with one another that most people would be too prideful to ever admit. I will not disclose our conversation but I will share a devotional that pretty much sums it up. It’s a lengthy message but I know it will bless you as it did me.

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📝 Written by: Amber Vaughn
Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt

How often in life do we play the comparison game? It may be a comparison of jobs, homes, marriages, locations, faith, clothes, parents, cars, and yes even our dear children, how smart or cute they are or aren’t. If we are truthful with ourselves, we are all guilty of comparing ourselves and our lives to others. The biggest problem with comparisons is that it blinds us from being content and seeing clearly the path God has set for us. If we spend most of our time looking to the right and left, we will drift away from the path God has uniquely set before us.

Hebrews 12:1-2 says:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

God lays before each of us a race that we must run, and everyone’s path is different. When we compare our life with someone else’s, we are forgetting that their journey looks different than ours, and our callings may not be the same.

These unhealthy comparisons remind me of my early morning runs near my home. While running, I find myself comparing my pace to the other runners around me. I often become discouraged when one of those runners (who look like they have been running 10 mile marathons since kindergarten) so gracefully passes me by. My thoughts of comparison abuse me with things like, “Just stop. You will never get to that point in your running. Man you are slow. Look how fit she is!”

The problem with this thinking is that it clouds my mind from what I set out to accomplish, and I lose focus on why I started running in the first place. It’s not until I begin to think on my own personal goals that I begin to get my positive focus back. Yes, that person may have lapped me, but I have beaten my personal time for my run that day. She may be running at a faster pace, but today I added another 1/2 mile to my distance and am back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Can I get an AMEN!

The same goes for our walk with Christ. We must not waste our lives measuring our race with someone else’s. What is most important is that we are walking in obedience rooted in faith on the path God has called us to, and we are celebrating our small victories.

In 2 Corinthians 10:12‬ Paul says, “Oh, don’t worry we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!”. Paul is basically saying that it is not wise for us to compare ourselves with others. We have to remember man does not set the standard, Jesus does.

Going back to Hebrews 12:1-2, Paul says at the beginning of verse 2 that we need to look unto Jesus. When we focus on Jesus, we focus on where he is calling us, what he has set us out to do, and how he is challenging us during this time to handle our finances, family, or time.

This picture of Michael Phelps racing South African Chad Le Clos in the Rio Olympics has circulated the internet. In the picture, you can clearly see Michael’s focus is forward toward his path to the finish line. But Chad Le Clos’ focus is on Michael. Any runner or swimmer knows that where your gaze is, your body will take you. If you are looking to the right or left, the likelihood of you being able to run straight ahead successfully at your personal best is slim to none.

We cannot run the race Christ has set for us if we are too busy looking at everyone else’s race or path. We must run ahead on our own road, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus. If we don’t, we will begin to drift off and end up in a mess God did not intend for us. So let our vision lead us straight along the path that embraces Christ and his calling over our lives and not the senseless comparisons of our lives to others.

Lastly, in verse 1 of Hebrews 12, Paul says “Let us run with endurance the race set before us.” This race we are running is not a sprint. It’s like a long distance run and everyone’s pace is different. It can take time to get where God has truly called you, but don’t look at someone’s else pace. Let Jesus be your standard for running your race. Use your full potential in the race and don’t become discouraged and give up.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

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