In this day and age where we essentially have access to what everyone is doing, saying, eating, wearing, going, etc just by the click of a button, I can see how hard it is to get caught up in comparison. As I talk to people each day and even experience in my own life, comparing is one of the easiest things to do but also can be damaging to the soul. Comparing is something we learn early in life. We learn to compare what belongs in a specific group or category. We learn how pick out objects that don't belong. Its part of normal early learning but something happens as we get older where it's no longer just about learning but it becomes a way to classify who is doing better, who has more, looks better, etc .
Here is a small list of examples of things people compare...
- how well a child is or is not doing
-pregnancy bellies/pre-baby weight/post baby weight loss :0
I have personally compared these areas in my life AND had people voluntarily compare them for me. Its pretty depressing and unnecessary when you think about it. I remember getting frustrated when someone kept comparing the stage my two year old was in with another two year old at the time. Ok so the other kid has all their colors down, using way more words, and fully potty trained- great! At the time Malachi thought everything was purple or the newest color of the day and thats ok we will figure it all out, and btw she talks up a storm now (at least at home);)
My experience is when I start comparing what I have with someone else (and for some reason its typically with someone who has more than me) in a way that I am upset or sad about where I am, I feel like I am basically telling God that I am not grateful for what he has done in my life. The problem with comparing is that we never truly know what is going on in someone's life outside of what we can see on the surface. I sat in conference before where the speaker was sharing his journey to success and he said that before he truly had the life he was currently living, to everyone looking in from the outside, his family looked like they had it all together, was financially set, had a great job, but that if anyone really knew what was going on they would have seen that they were really drowning in debt, unhappy, and stressed out to no end.
You don't always know the struggles and the hard work it took for someone to get to the place they are at now. We have either all gone through something hard, going through something now, or eventually will go through something in life that will test our faith or may disrupt our footing in life. God didn't promise an easy life to those who follow him. John 16:33, I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world. I heard somewhere that if we all wrote down our troubles and put it in a hat and passed around so that we could all pick a new one, in the end we would probably beg for our own problems back.
Yes some people are going to be doing better than you financially and vice versa, yes maybe another child will know more than your child or get into a better college, maybe someone seems happier in their marriage than you do at the time, maybe someone else takes much better trips and vacations that you do but its ok. Try to focus on the things that are going well in your life. For example, when I'm frustrated that I don't have that certain SUV w/ the 3 rows and all the nice upgrades that I desperately want (ugh my double stroller takes up most of my trunk space now!), I try to think about what we do have, which is two cars that are in good condition and completely paid off. Who knows what the future brings for us one day. Its not an easy task and at times I fail miserably at it but that is almost always when I'm looking at things from the wrong perspective. James 1:17 Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of lights; with him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning. When I look at it from this perspective, I actually get excited about all the blessings God is pouring out on others around me and know there is no need to compare b/c He has His own plan for my life.