17 May Thieves of Joy
We’ve all heard it said that comparisons are thieves of joy. I think that’s true, but even truer is the fact that the enemy himself is a thief and comparisons are weapons in his arsenal. Lately, I’ve realized that comparison is my default mode. Whether it’s my skin, my hair, my house, my personality—I am constantly tempted to compare myself to someone around me. I’m embarrassed to admit that, more often than not, I take the bait. The consistent theme? I never measure up.
It’s easy to make comparisons to the women we see on television, or on magazine covers, but lately I’m much more disturbed by the comparisons I make to the actual women in my life, the women within my sphere of influence. Comparing myself to them is a total tactic of the enemy. If he can keep me distracted—by envying one friend’s shiny hair, or another’s outgoing personality—I’ll be less inclined to bless them, to serve and encourage them, to even engage them. Why? Because all of my energy will be sapped; it will be wasted on comparisons, on wishing for another set of circumstances.
I’m learning that envy is deceptively arrogant. I don’t envy something for the sake of envy–it’s because I want to have that thing! I want a different set of circumstances; one in which I have that girl’s skin, or this girl’s body, or yet another girl’s personality. Ultimately, what I’m saying is that I know better than God. If I was in charge, I could have created something more valuable. This is such an offense my Creator! If He wanted me to look or be like someone else, then I would. But instead, He made me just as I am. He knit me together in my mother’s womb and counted the very hairs on my head. He is the Creator and my role is to accept, love, and care for the things He entrusts me with.
“If He wanted me to look or be like someone else, then I would. But instead, He made me just as I am.”
I’m still in the thick of learning this lesson right now. I haven’t made it to the other side and claimed victory, but I’m getting closer. As I’ve sought Him about it, one word consistently comes to mind: thanksgiving. It is so tempting to look around and bemoan all of the things that I don’t have. But He calls us to give thanks for the things that we do have—all of which are a gift of grace. I deserve nothing, and yet He longs to be gracious to me. When I shift my thoughts towards thanking Him for all that I do have, I am eager and energized to love others, and to love myself.
We must learn to trust the way that He has designed us and yield to the purposes which He has for us to accomplish. God created us to influence those around us. It’s an impossible task if we are constantly looking to the person beside us and measuring our gifts or goods to theirs.
I’m praying for myself, and all of us, that we will learn to embrace what God has given us. That we will learn to celebrate the beauty we see in others and the beauty that we see in ourselves. Otherwise, comparisons will not only steal our joy, they will render us ineffective for His kingdom.
What about yourself do you compare to others? How does the truth of being a daughter of the King free you from comparison?