Comparison is the Thief of Joy

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The holidays are a difficult time for many. Everywhere you go happy families are out & about and couples are as easy to find as a Starbucks. It’s this sort of cheer that leads dreary thoughts to come about. Thoughts like “everyone else’s life is so ‘together’ and mine is so not” or to silently start humming Hunter Hayes’ song “Everybody’s Got Somebody But Me” everywhere you go.

Why does this happen? Why is it that we are just fine until we start looking at our life in comparison to someone else’s? I think at some level we assume everything as beautiful and seemingly perfect on the outside must be just as flawless on the inside. And here is where the problem begins.

There is a popular quote that goes “Don’t compare your behind the scenes life with other people’s highlight reel!” What we see in the day to day snippets of people’s lives isn’t a true image of who they are, and what battles they face. Because we all face something, whether it’s health-related, money-related, relationship-related etc. Jesus told us we would have trouble in this world, but to take comfort in His victory.

John 16:33 “ I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

It’s simply impossible to escape difficulties in this life. But we can share in Christ’s victory and our redemption. So the next time you see someone with a picture-perfect façade just know you only see a single frame in their film and you don’t know the whole story.

Theodore Roosevelt said “comparison is the thief of joy” and I couldn’t agree more. When I find myself measuring my life to another’s I become saddened, distressed and full of self-pity, but when I focus on the plans God has for my future, the clouds are lifted and my future is bright. Stay strong! Good things are on the horizon for us all! Keep your eyes on the promises of hope, not society’s measure of success and happiness. One important thing Paul the Apostle taught us is that we can learn to be content in any and all circumstances.

Philippians 4:11-13

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

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