Don't Compare, It's Not Fair...(to you or to them)
So, the topic of comparison is a big deal these days, no? I mean, with the constant barrage of social media sounding its alarm at all hours of the day and night, with posts about others who are accomplishing so much more than we are, looking so much more beautiful and just doing life so much better, who can blame us for comparing what we do and are to everyone else? I’ve heard it said many times “don’t compare your every day life to the highlight reel of someone else’s.” Such great advice, and such truth, but not always an easy task.
I look at comparison as a double-edged sword. Both sides are dangerous and will take us nowhere good. On one side is pity, self-loathing and a defeated mentality that says “I am insecure and will never amount to half as much as that person.” On the other side is a poisonous combination of arrogance and self-love with a mentality that says “I am so much better than they are, thank goodness I have my stuff together.” I think we all have experienced the danger of comparing ourselves to others. I have this little saying, “Don’t compare. It’s not fair. To you or to them.” We know the dangers that comparison comes with for us, but what about the person to whom we are comparing ourselves? We often don’t know their whole story. We don’t know what has brought them to the place they are right now. We don’t know how late they stay up at night just to get their new business up and running. We don’t know how many countless hours they have spent rehearsing or practicing with no one watching to get that position on stage. We don’t know how long they have been taking night classes while they work full time with a family to take care of just so they can make a better life for themselves. I feel if we knew the backstory, we would be more prone to celebrate them than to compare ourselves to them. If we can’t celebrate with people and their successes, then we aren’t ready to be celebrated ourselves.
As I look back through my prayer journal for the past year, I have written all through it “you are enough”. “You are enough.” Flip a few pages, skip through a few days - another journal entry. “You are enough.” Not my words, but words from my Father. “Sharon, you are enough. I have called you with a specific calling and you are enough.” It wasn’t until I read back through some of these that I picked up really quickly that this must be an issue and one that needed to be dealt with. I have been a Christian since I was 5 and was raised in church and in a loving, God-serving home. I KNOW that I am enough. I KNOW that He has called me with a specific calling. I KNOW that He loves me and I can be secure in that. I KNOW all of this. I KNOW it mentally. But I needed it in my heart. I needed it to sink down to my innermost being so that when comparison rears its ugly head and I’m tempted to think I’m not enough, I won’t give place to it. So in His kind and loving way, Jesus brings His message to me. And to ensure that I understand it, He asks me to think about running, of course.
Everyone knows that when you’re racing you can’t be distracted by others running beside you. You can’t feel threatened if someone is running faster than you, or is further ahead than you. Race day comes and I may be running with thousands of people, but my race is my own and my pace is my own. If I start getting distracted and trying to keep up with those that have a faster pace than I do, I will get burned out and have a hard time getting back that energy to cross the finish line. I am out there to run my race and to cheer on the others running with me.
We have to be confident in what God has called us to do. We have to realize that someone else’s path is not ours. Let me encourage you today. Your path is special. Your path is unique and designed just for you. All along the way you will see others going different ways, but someone else’s direction is not yours. Hear and listen to the voice of the Father for you. He knows what He is doing. Just keep your eyes on Him and stay in your own lane. When we are focused on what the Lord has given us to do, we can securely and confidently celebrate with others as they run their race. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to “..support one another. Keep building each other up…” (The VOICE translation) May our focus not be on comparing ourselves to others, but on celebrating and supporting others and building one another up! Let us link arms and impact this world for the Kingdom!