Many years ago, Theodore Roosevelt wrote that “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I completely agree with that statement, and would take it one step further. I think comparison also kills progress.
We all have those handful of friends we’re watching. Their lives seem fuller. Friendships better. Careers growing faster. Being used in bigger ways. And often, the more we watch those things happen, the more we are inclined to withdraw and disengage from life. We see our own journeys as less inspired and solitary. It occurred to me this morning that there is only one winner in this process…the devil.
When we draw inward and allow our light to grow dim, we are not fulfilling the mission we were called to. In John 10:10, we’re told that the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. By allowing comparison to stall our efforts because we get caught up in how others are doing it bigger/better, we make it really easy for satan to win.
Meanwhile, we have to come to terms with the fact that God has not called everyone to speak in front of thousands or write bestsellers or travel to countries all over the globe. Many are called to love and serve the people right in front of them. And the good news is that God sees both as being good and faithful servants. There aren’t extra brownie points for those called to a platform with more eyes. The win is when we can end our days knowing we served and loved full-tilt, no matter who or how big the audience.
Last night, I was talking to one of those friends who seems to have the world by the horns. Her life is seen by many. Opportunities abound. And God is using her in big ways. But I know that behind all of it, her life has struggles and challenges, and she often wonders how many of her many “friends” really know her. It’s a reminder for all of us that just because it looks perfect and easy doesn’t mean it is (and ps. those friends that are living “out loud” lives need our prayers and encouragement, because it’s a lot to carry).
Jeremiah 29:11 says that God knows the plans he has for US…not just those people we get caught up comparing our lives to. Plans to prosper Us and give Us a future. Gosh, doesn’t that inspire you to want to do more?
The thoughts that can poison our day are actually killing our progress. Today, let’s determine to get off the compari-go-round and get back to living!