Of all the insights our pastor has shared in his sermons, one has stuck with me more than any other ~ “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
There is so much truth packed into that tiny phrase. Why is it we tend to downplay our own circumstances and glamorize everyone else’s?
We all fall into the comparison trap from time to time, wishing we possessed someone else’s looks, personality, or lifestyle. We look at others and think they have it better or easier, when in reality, they are no more exempt from problems than ourselves. Yet somehow, contentment escapes us, and we find ourselves thinking we’ve come up short.
Often writers are prone to similar thoughts. We tend to compare ourselves with other authors, wondering if we measure up. Those who are yet to be published look with eager longing at those who are published. First-time authors often compare themselves to more established authors, wondering why the better-known author’s books gain popularity and theirs don’t.
It reminds me of the story of the Fisherman’s Wife where the fisherman catches a magic fish who grants him one wish. The fisherman, who lives in a broken-down shanty, wishes for a new house. When he returns home, his ecstatic wife greets him at the door, so happy for the new house. But she soon tires of it and pleads with her husband to go back to the fish and ask for a bigger house. This goes on until they are living in a castle and eventually a grand palace. Each time the wife grows discontent and wants more and more. At last, the magic fish tires of her greediness and restores everything to how it originally was.
While comparison (discontent) steals our joy. contentment is the key to joy. When we choose to be content in the circumstances the Lord has given us, a sense of peace and thanksgiving will flow out of our lives.
Each season of life holds its joys and challenges. Instead of getting caught up in the comparison trap, let us “learn the secret of being content in any and every situation,” (Philippians 4:12)
God has a plan for each of our lives. He alone knows the circumstances we need to be in. It’s our job to trust Him and to rest in His promise: “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.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
What advice of Scripture helps you to beat the comparison trap? I’d love to hear your input!
Read how God works in the lives of Cynthia’s characters in her Inspirational, Historical Romance (Prairie Sky) Series:
BOOK 1: UNDER THIS SAME SKY
BOOK 2: UNDER PRAIRIE SKIES Both available on Amazon.com.