Comparison will always kill joy, whether it's comparing UP or comparing DOWN.
It is interesting to consider that when we compare, if our hearts are yearning for self-pity, we compare up.
If it's about our home, we compare ourselves to the gal at church or the rich cousin with the nicer home. We don't compare ourselves to the poor women at church who just got evicted from her apartment because her husband lost his job. Nor do we, in that moment, compare ourselves to the woman whose situation is slightly worse off (financially speaking).
If it's about our appearance, we compare ourselves to the woman who can afford nice things, the one who gets regular mani/pedis, the one who buys department store makeup and has a gym membership. We don't compare ourselves to the woman who has an even *TIGHTER* budget than our own.
OR COMPARING DOWN?
And when we compare, if our hearts are yearning for pride and self-worth, we compare down.
If it's about our home, we compare ourselves with the woman who hasn't a clue about decorating, or the one whose house is a pigsty. When our soul's goal is pride, we don't compare ourselves to the woman with slightly more organizational know-how or design flair than we possess, or to the woman who has a better knack for putting colors and fabrics together.
If it's about our appearance, we compare ourselves to the haggard woman, the one with frumpy out-of-date clothes, or the one who is overweight and out of shape.
No matter which way it goes, comparison is ugly, tempting us to compare ourselves to the rich and beautiful for self-pity, or to the poor and ugly for a sense of superiority, never the opposite.
And I'm not encouraging any of us to make the opposite comparisons, necessarily.
For the most part, I think we should avoid comparisons, although, very occasionally, comparisons can be helpful (i.e., Last summer, when a friend received heartbreaking news, it put my own woes and temporary grumps and gripes in perspective of her great loss, and gave me good perspective. Her hurts silenced my complaints.).
Mostly, though, I think we should opt to dropkick the comparisons to the curb, and feed our minds with truth.
DON'T COMPARE, CONSIDER
Instead of comparing, the Bible encourages us to "consider" certain things--
- "Fear the LORD and serve him... consider what great things He has done for you." ~1 Samuel 12:24
- "Stop and consider the wondrous works of God." ~Job 37:14
- "Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble, the LORD delivers him." ~Psalm 41:1
- "Whoever is wise... let him consider the steadfast love of the LORD." ~Psalm 107:43
- "Look at the ant, o sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise." ~Proverbs 6:6
- "In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other." ~Ecclesiastes 7:14
- "Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." ~Matthew 6:28-29
- "Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!" ~Luke 12:24
- "You must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus." ~Romans 6:11
- "I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us." ~Romans 8:18
- "Consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world... so that no human being might boast in the presence of God" ~1 Corinthians 1:26
- "Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, but encouraging one another." ~Hebrews 10:24-25
- "[Look] to Jesus, ...who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted." ~Hebrews 12:2-3
- "Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith." ~Hebrews 13:7
When we keep scripture as our standard, rather than people, our perspective changes.
We begin to consider all the things God has done for us... all the things He has done, period. We consider ourselves in light of eternity, and consider ourselves in light of the vast universe He holds and cares for each day. We get a vision for life that is bigger than ourselves & our comparisons.
Look to what GOD tells you to focus on, rather than what Facebook, magazines, Pinterest, and even your own deceitful heart, tell you to focus on.
Comparison kills; considering Scripture gives life.
Chickens image courtesy of bplanet/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net