Today is Thursday. Thursdays are my husband’s day off. I usually take days like today to write and work on some things that I don’t normally get to with “little helpers”.
I choose the morning to be the most productive because, let’s face it, I’m getting older and once lunch time hits, I’m ready for a nap.
I pulled into the parking lot of a major home furnishings store that has a restaurant in it. It wasn’t quite time to open yet so I sat in my car.
I watched as other customers began to pull in and park. Majority of the cars were shiny, clean, expensive. The moms that jumped out of those nice vehicles were either dressed to impress or just coming from whatever yoga class they attended this morning.
Then it was my turn. My turn to get out of my car. My car. Our second vehicle is nothing compared to the other vehicles in the lot this morning. We were given this second-hand car so that we weren’t a family of five bound to share one vehicle. We’re very grateful, but… in comparison our 1999 sedan with a mismatched door does not measure up.
Just to paint a better picture for you, the interior door handle on the driver’s door came off so in order to exit the car you need to use a wrench to pull the door lever. Do you see what I’m saying now? In a car show we would be in the junkyard category.
I got out of my tan treasure and grabbed my purse.
My purse. The purse I am using today is a major name brand bag that I received for my birthday a couple of years ago. My purse is worth more than our car.
Listen, my point is, our lives are just one big confusing comparison.
We compare cars, handbags, clothes, jobs, finances, spouses, kids, houses, circumstances, schedules, churches – you name it.
So quickly I am able to make a judgement when comparing my life to another person’s life. I either size them up or size them down, and vice versa.
Have you noticed something about comparison though?
Comparison is a thief of JOY!
Measuring up to a standard that is not meant for you hurts and fails. Yet, we still work to fit in whatever shape someone else’s life is in or try to make someone else fit inside the shape of ours. Joy cannot grow in an environment of hostility or comparison because it is planted in the soil of contentment.
I am at my most joyful self when I stand on the blessing of whatever pages in my story I’ve been gifted. My life is unique and my story is my own, so to stand toe to toe with someone who is not me and measure my worth based on the failure of that comparison is detrimental to my purpose.
Purpose comes from the God-given breath in my lungs to honor him in the midst of my individual story. Only when this purpose is enough for me am I able to cultivate overwhelming joy in my life through the contentment I have in Christ. When he is enough for me, I am enough for me.
We want to be liked. We want to belong. We want to be loved. We want meaning.
Being liked, loved, having meaning and belonging all come from the One who designed you and fights for you. Instead of comparing our lives to one another, what if we began to compare our lives to the life of Christ?
Here is what happens in my life when I change my perspective and mirror my heart to my Savior’s heart.
Heart to heart:
- I see my life with true eyes.
When I begin to look at my life through the lenses of someone else, I lose my vision and become blind to God’s work in my life. Numerous times Jesus healed the blind. In fact, when Paul’s sight was restored at his conversion in Acts 9, he was immediately changed and compelled to action because he could clearly see.
“Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.” Acts 9:18-19
- The truth grounds me.
I am able to stand firm on the truth of who I am because of who God has declared me to be. I am known by God and therefore he is the only one to measure my life against. I know his truth by the Spirit, whom I received when I surrendered my life to the Lord in obedience. I am forever with the truth and my life is held in the hands of my Lord through the Spirit.
“And I will ask the Father, he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him or knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17
- My joy depends on my faith in God.
When I believe, accept and stand on the faithfulness of God my joy is overflowing. I live in contentment and not comparison. I am full and not empty. I encourage and don’t tear down. My joy becomes contagious because it comes from a holy foreign place – everyone craves it. Joy is an attribute of God’s heart. Joy is not found in this world but only in the One who created it. So, I will choose joy by placing my worth in my God.
“Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart”. Psalm 119:111
When I stack my life against the blessings of the Lord I am filled with joy and see clearly the truth of who I am. Only when I live in this way am I able to be content with my own life and celebrate the blessings of others. This perspective on life is what fuels joy and defeats the crippling disease to compare.
“I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in robes of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations”. Isaiah 61:10-11