A few months ago, I came across a quote by Theodore Roosevelt that resided as the background on my phone for a week or two. I read it every time I checked the time (which is much more often than I would like to admit) and I thought I understood it in all its perceived simplicity.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Six simple words to a depth which I still don’t believe I fully conceive. Because I, as I have walked through nearly twenty-two years of life, have known in nearly every moment the depths of comparison and how often I have allowed them to steal my joy. If you’re still reading this, maybe you have too.
The other day I rediscovered some old images from a photoshoot I got to do with a talented friend. When she sent them originally, I remember being critical of them, but looking at them now I got to see myself as lovely for a moment. It couldn’t have come at a better time after I had spent the day psychoanalyzing the number of likes I had on my Facebook profile picture.
There are SO many negative things that stem from that deeply rooted comparison. It’s ugly. It rears up its head when we especially don’t need it’s company. It tears apart healthy friendships and eats away at fellowship with the Lord. I wonder how much it breaks His heart when we compare ourselves with His children around us.
Once I realize the thought process I’m getting caught up in, I try to turn away from it – searching for verses and quotes to try to make myself remember that comparison that leads to bitterness is bad and I should just stop. Of course, it’s not quite that easy…
This time around, I found another quote, however:
“We won’t be distracted by comparison if we are captivated with purpose.”
It comes from Bob Goff. Wise words.
Friend, let your comparison fuel joy rather than steal it. This is the challenge, to find purpose and pursue it.
To leave no room for comparison.
And maybe when she gets more comments or likes than you and you’re wondering why or becoming resentful, you might reach out and compliment her too.
Or perhaps, when you feel like you don’t get the acknowledgement you deserve, find someone else to gift with what you feel you missed out on.
The way we share love through genuine compliments is a way to defeat the hold that comparison can have in our lives. It’s also away we live in our purpose in Christ, by showing His love to those around us.
As for joy? Well, that’s yours to keep and to share with those around you too and you’ll want to when comparison loses the space it once had in your heart.