Someone once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” There is so much truth in that statement. When we focus on others’ lives rather than our own, we generally come away feeling depleted, as if we don’t measure up, or prideful, as if we have the upper edge on another person. Neither extreme is productive or good.
Comparison can happen in all areas of life–relationships, finances, the workplace, with family, even at church. Too often when we compare ourselves with others we feel we come up short. Social media is huge when it comes to comparison. We read the posts and think: Why can’t my life be that exciting? Why can’t my spouse treat me that special? Why can’t I earn that promotion or win that award?
It’s all too easy to view the picture perfect faces and read the grand things others are doing and feel we’re missing out. But what we don’t see is the behind-the-scenes imperfections and hardships hidden between the cracks.
No one’s life is perfect. Jesus said, “In this life you will have trouble.” (John 16:33) Everyone faces struggles. We just often choose to keep those to ourselves rather than bare them to the world.
Authors aren’t exempt from the challenge of comparison either. When we see the success of other authors, we may feel our meager sales or lack of awards make us ineffective as a writer. But the truth is, the Lord can use our work and our writing in whatever way He chooses. Whether we reach dozens or thousands, we must be faithful to write or do what He leads us to and leave the rest to Him.
One personal issue I’ve struggled with in my writing journey has been seeing how some spouses rally around and support their husband or wife in their writing, being their number one cheerleader and reading their every word.
Writing/reading is not my husband’s thing. He has read maybe three chapters from my first novel and none since. He’s helped carry in books and made an appearance at a few of my book signings, and that’s about it.
At times, his lack of interest has been a source of hurt for me, especially when “compared” with other authors whose spouses are with them every step of the way. But this past weekend, made me realize there are all types of support.
I longed to attend a writer’s conference, but back issues due to my cancer made driving long distances impossible. So, my farmer husband (in the midst of the onset of planting season), drove me the 100 miles to the conference, drove home, and repeated the trip the next evening to pick me up. 400 miles in two days! Just so I could attend a conference. That my friends, is a picture of love and support!
Sometimes support looks different than we imagined it. In his own special way, my husband lends me valuable support. He may not read my books or attend all my signings, but how blessed I am to know that he values what is important to me.
So, how do we stop comparing ourselves with others?
Avoid Pitting Yourself Against Someone Else. The best way to combat the comparison bug is to avoid circumstances which put you in that mindset. Comparison leads to envy which Scripture says “rots the bones.” (Proverbs 14:30). So, if social media caused you to compare yourself with others, it’s probably best to give yourself a break or avoid it altogether.
Contentment is key. Paul said, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” ( Philippians 4:11) Whenever you’re tempted to compare your circumstances, life, or family with someone else’s, remember not to dwell on what you don’t have, but look for the blessings the Lord has placed before you and within you. He knows just what we need and made us who we are for a reason.
A Thankful Heart. When you feel yourself slipping into the comparison mode, find something you’re grateful for and offer up a prayer of praise. Nothing steers the heart toward a positive attitude better than gratitude.
**Do you struggle with comparison? What situation in your life are you struggling to be content with?
Stories of faith and resilience on the Midwest prairie & the Civil War Era
Inspirational Historical Romance