Alluring, Dangerous Comparison - Encouragement Café - March 15, 2017

Alluring, Dangerous Comparison
By Beth Mabe Gianopulos

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

“No lusting after your neighbor’s house—or wife or servant or maid or ox or donkey. Don’t set your heart on anything that is your neighbor’s.”  Exodus 20:17 MSG

Before I knew it, I had wasted an hour scrolling through Facebook and Instagram.  When I finally put away my phone to go to sleep, I did not feel peace and contentment.

Instead my heart was churning.  I was overcome with jealousy and self-deprecating thoughts. 

As I scrolled through my news feed, I saw pictures of a friend and her family on another vacation.  Everyone looked so happy and relaxed.

I couldn’t help but remember our most recent trip – that trip left me exhausted, frustrated, and sleep deprived.  My family had spent many of our days bickering over where to eat, what to do, and who was bothering who in the car. 

I also saw a friend’s post about her beautiful, peaceful view where she drank her coffee each morning.  I was filled with envy because I was lucky to even get a cup of coffee this morning.  My view wasn’t of a beautiful flower garden with butterflies – I drank my coffee while fighting traffic on the way to work. 

When I saw a post about another friend’s job, I was immediately frustrated because she had just said yes to my dream job.   

As I looked at the posts, I began to wonder:

Why is my family so dysfunctional? 

Why do I have to work so hard?” 

Will I EVER have time to sip my coffee on the back porch?!?!

In a moment’s time, social media had transformed a perfectly normal day into a depressing and frustrating night.  Theodore Roosevelt didn’t have social media, but he realized the dangerous seduction of comparison when he said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” 

Comparison is so dangerous that God specifically spoke to his people about comparison in the Ten Commandments.  God instructed his people:

“No lusting after your neighbor’s house—or wife or servant or maid or ox or donkey. Don’t set your heart on anything that is your neighbor’s.”  Exodus 20:17 MSG

Comparison is so alluring, yet so damaging to our soul, because comparison strips us of our power.  Comparison causes me to think, “I deserve what she has.  Why can’t I have that, too?  I will never have what he has.”  Comparison removes us from God’s will and focuses us on our will. 

However, we do not have to be slaves to comparison!  When I see my friend leisurely sipping her coffee in the morning, instead of immediately jumping to jealousy, what if I stopped and thought, “How can I build a few extra minutes into my morning so that I can quietly sip a cup of coffee?”

Or, when I covet my friend’s job, what if I took time to consider how I can restructure my work day to spend a little time doing something that I am passionate about at work?  When I see my colleague’s perfect family vacation, what if I thanked God for the amazing family that I am blessed with and lowered my expectations for perfection?

 Do not let comparison steal your joy.  When you start to feel comparison creep in, remember that you do not need to be conformed to this world, but instead, you can“be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” Romans 12:2.

Jesus, when I am tempted to compare my life to others, help me focus instead on the blessings and gifts you have given me.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

© 2017 by Beth Mabe Gianopulos.  All rights reserved.

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Originally published Wednesday, 15 March 2017.