The Thief of Joy
--From the archives--
One of my greatest friends in the world once told me, "Comparison is the thief of joy." I heard today that that actually came from Teddy Roosevelt. That statement has been a staple in my life over the past few years. I have shared it with many friends and clients. It is a motto I stand by in word, but many times, I still fall in the comparison trap.
Comparison sneaks in.
Losing a baby hasn't helped.
Social Media is a death trap, by the way. It feeds our temptation to compare more than anything I have ever experienced. I scroll down, and what do I see? Every day someone else I know tells the world they are expecting a baby. I see ultrasound pictures of babies at 10 weeks (the week I found out I lost mine), ultrasounds from people that have a September due date... I see posts of people finding out they are having a girl. I see perfect pictures of families with their sweet kids, saying "Happy Easter." I see people posting pictures of their baby bumps and talking about their pregnant cravings. I see sweet little month-to-month update pictures of a newborn. I see families getting pregnant that already have a house full of kids...
At first, all I felt was angry when I saw all of those things. Why God? When them and not me?!
I want to be able to find out the sex of my baby! I want to post a picture of my baby bump. I want an Easter family picture. I want to see what my baby looks like at 10 weeks. I want to tell people how many weeks I have left. Why do they get to have another child, and I can't even have one? I want to be a mom, too...
I started thinking. I realized there are many times I have fallen into the trap of comparison lately (and in my life...too many times to list). I look back, and it is always because I don't have something someone else has.
The "perfect" counseling job.
A nice house.
A car that doesn't shake when it drives.
Lots of money.
A position of honor.
A higher grade.
A ripped body.
A husband that comes home every night at 5:00.
A dog that does not shed.
A singing voice like hers.
A bubbly, fun personality like hers.
The list goes on and on and on. If you are reading this, I am sure I have compared my life to yours a time or two. It is my natural instinct. Comparison.
You know exactly what I am talking about. Don't be so smug to immediately think, "Poor girl, she is so insecure..." You know you have done it, too.
You are a single girl or guy seeing all of these people younger than you getting married, and you think, "What is so wrong with me that I can't get married like them? When is it my turn?"
You are struggling with infertility, and you think, "Why do they get to have kids and I don't? When is it my turn?"
You are struggling getting into a tough educational program, and you think, "All of these people must be smarter than me.... When is it my turn?"
You don't get the shot in the music industry you have always wanted.
You get overlooked for a great job opportunity.
You are in a rough marriage.
You have cancer and barely making it.
You think, "When is it my turn? Will my life ever be the life I have always wanted?"
Well, Let me tell you something (and this is speaking directly to myself). WAKE UP! You are in your life!
If you keep living in the why me and the what if and the when is it my turn you are going to miss out on the wonderful life God has for you.
He has what is best for us in mind, and those who have decided to follow Him get to experience that "best." However, this does not always mean a perfect house with a perfect family and three kids and a great job.
God's best for you is not always what you are thinking is the best for you.
My good friend tells me all the time, "God has something special in store for you, but you have to remember that that will not mirror someone else's life."
We cannot go walking around always comparing ourselves and our lives to those around us, because those lives are not OUR life. Our one life.
Why? Why are we like this? Because we have not "learned to be content in every circumstance..."
We are not content, no matter what.
We have to learn to sit back against God and breathe and allow Him to work.
What He has for us is very special. He is carrying out His perfect plan for us, and that is always the plan that glorifies Him the most. (He is not a narcissist. He is God, and he deserves it.)
No, not the plan that will make us the most happy.
No, the world does not revolve around us.
His plan for us is best, and it glorifies Him the most if we let Him work. I have fought His plan many times in my life in much anger and unnecessary heartache and pain. I allowed comparison to steal away my joy, and it has been a challenge to allow God to bring up a new joy in me. God is reminding me that I have to trust Him and know that He is working in and through me.
I have to see how He wants to use me NOW in this phase of my life, with the gifts and talents and resources and opportunities I have NOW.
Don't keep looking at the what ifs Look at the what is!
We don't want to miss what God has specifically ordained for us to do to expand the kingdom. We may not have the little baby or spouse or job or house or whatever that someone else has, but He wants to use us right now in our current.
Let's take our joy back.