Sucking The Joy From Your Life! 10 things I want you to know about comparison.

Anne and I have different running styles.  The fact is this: We love to run, but there really is nothing similar about the WAY we run.

Anne runs much greater distances but at a slower pace.  I run at a much faster pace but at shorter distances.  When we run together, the distance she wants to run makes me groan.  The pace that I’m used to running frustrates her.  When we approach hills, I want to power up them.  She likes to walk up them.  She can run in the silence of nature and pray and/or reflect upon the day.  I love to pray on a run, but I must have something playing in my ears. 

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Simply said, we approach running quite differently.  And neither one is the perfect way to run.  We have learned to enjoy our past-time without ruining it with comparing our styles to the other.  We’ve even ceased comparing our running to other people.  Anne and I will try to learn more about running, but we’ve resolved that “comparison” just sucks the joy out of our experience.

Know this: comparison can be a very good thing.  From comparing Qdoba to Moe’s all the way to comparing running shoes to get the best purchase that gives the best performance.  Comparison is a great power that needs to be handled with great responsibility.  But unfortunately, it has become a tool for the enemy to use to reduce our joy to dust.  I think there might be no other issue that Anne and I counsel more with people than with the issues of comparison.  It comes up constantly with us because, as just stated, we hear about it from others and we, Anne and I, can tend to suffer from it.  It’s brutal and violent. Comparison wants to shred your joy apart to be the shattered remains of what it should be.  

As I said last Sunday at Kfirst

Happiness is a byproduct of circumstantial vision; Joy is a byproduct of Godly perspective.

What element would love to keep you focused on your circumstances? Comparison.  Like so many things, comparison has been so misused and mishandled that it can be such a detriment to your life.  Here are 10 things I want you to beware of when it comes to an unhealthy use of comparison: 

  1. Comparison is selfish in nature.  “Why don’t I get as much as someone else?”
  2. Comparison is a thief. It robs the enjoyment from you and others that God designed you to have.
  3. Comparison is used to elevate ourselves instead of God.  “We can do it in order to look better than others.”
  4. Comparison can be a cop-out.  We’ll find someone who we think is “far worse off”, compare ourselves, and give ourselves permission to not change because, “hey, at least I’m not the other person!”
  5. Comparison can be laced with fear.  You match yourself against an ideal and think “I’ll never be able to do/accomplish what he/she has done.  So why try?”
  6. Comparison is manipulating. We’ll try to use in on our spouse, children, friends, etc.  “If I can compare them to who I want, I can steer them in the direction I want them to go.”
  7. Comparison is stifling. We use it to dampen the joy of the people in our life who are celebrating something we can’t celebrate with them.   
  8. Comparison will make you spiritually impotent.  When you have a reputation of using comparison to stifle joy and manipulate, it can keep you from imparting the love of Christ into others. 
  9. Comparison blinds. It leaves a fog around your life that keeps you unable to see His truth in your life.
  10. Comparison can be judgement.  We can develop an “ideal” and think everyone has to live up to that. People won’t know what they want to tell you because they won’t know what you’re comparing them to.

Be cautious with your living.  Watch your life and prevent comparison from sucking the joy out of your walk with Christ. If you’re really itching to compare something, then reflect on Psalm 86:8-10 (MSG),

There’s no one quite like you among the gods, O Lord, and nothing to compare with your works. All the nations you made are on their way, ready to give honor to you, O Lord, Ready to put your beauty on display, parading your greatness, And the great things you do— God, you’re the one, there’s no one but you!

Thanks for letting me ramble…

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