Thursday, August 1, 2019

Comparison: The Thief of Joy

By: Tara Smith

Image courtesy of: Getty Images

An excerpt from my devotional book "Remain: 50 Devotions to Abide Like You Belong" (Available at the link provided as well as Amazon and Barnes & Noble):

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”- Galatians 1:10

“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to thepaths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.” -Proverbs 4:25-26

Theodore Roosevelt coined the increasingly popular phrase, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I couldn’t agree more. Comparison demolishes relationships and stunts growth. I’ll admit I have personally shown some serious ugly in a state of comparison. 

The trickiest part about it all is that our intentions are typically good. We want to be a better mom, wife, homemaker, friend, etc. So, we look around and we start to compare our lives. But instead of getting inspired and encouraged to rise up and be what God has called us to be in these areas, we obsess over the canyon sized chasm we see between our life and the lives of women we admire who are doing these things well. Our good intentions of growth quickly transform into a twisted victim mindset.

That’s just what Satan would want of us, isn’t it? —to spend so much time worried about how we measure up to other women that we have no time to build one another up or do great things for the kingdom. The devil is so discrete and so insidious in that way. When we take our eyes off of our Creator, our minds and hearts automatically turn inward. When we open our minds to self-doubt and comparison, we are giving the devil a foothold in our thought lives.

John 15:16 says we have been CHOSEN and appointed by God to bear fruit. Nowhere in there does it say that we’ve been chosen to bear fruit only if someone else hasn’t already produced that type of fruit or only if we’re feeling comfortable and capable of the whole fruit- bearing process. It’s as if we are saying, “Sorry God, I’m not feeling like you did a good enough job on me, so I’m just going to sit back and sulk while other women change the world.” He didn’t ask if we’d be good enough to bear fruit. He says that we were made “enough” when He created us and that we need to stop walking backwards through life trying to get ahead to something we have had all along.

Pray with me: Lord, know my heart and mind. Help me to recognize when I am comparing myself to someone else or even to different versions of myself. Help me to believe that You saying I’m enough is all that I need to be enough. Help me to live loved and to be outwardly focused. Allow me to take my eyes off of myself so that I can see the needs of others around me and celebrate the women in my life. I pray against Satan’s schemes to try to tempt me into self-pity and victimization. You are my protector and my source of peace. In your great name I say, Amen.

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