Encouragement,  Faith

The Thief of Joy

I do it. Probably more often than I like to admit. And I would guess that you may have done it yourself. Maybe you still do. May I be so bold and tell you, dear sister….Stop. Stop comparing yourself to someone else. (I’m also telling myself that as well.) 

As Teddy Roosevelt once said, “comparison is the thief of joy.” We think we will be happy and have joy if we had a body that looked like hers. We think we will be happy and have joy if our children were as well-behaved as hers. We think we will be happy and have joy if our marriages were strong and healthy like theirs. If our hair color was different, if we drove a different car, lived in a bigger house, had a bigger checking account. On and on and on.

All this comparing and wishing steals the joy right from our souls. We are too worried about what others have, that we don’t even realize the beauty and love and skills that we have in ourselves and in our own lives.

So, all this sounds good, right? Stop comparing myself to others. Easier said than done. Yep, maybe so. But it doesn’t have to be so hard. Like a bad habit, comparison is also a bad habit. If we are always thinking the wrong way, we will believe the wrong things. 

I follow Jesus Christ and in doing so, when I am faced with tempting or difficult situations, I go to the Word. This is where I find my strength and where I find answers to difficult questions. Galatians 6:4-5 says “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct.”

If we stop comparing ourselves to others and work on ourselves, we can celebrate the victory of a job well done when we accomplish our goals. We may not get what we want overnight. It may take time. And sometimes, we may never get what we want. Let’s be realistic. But also, let’s dream! There is nothing wrong with dreaming big! I absolutely believe in that. But I also am a realist and understand that to accomplish those big dreams will take a long time and along the way there may be some hills and valleys that will slow me down. I may want to quit. If I do, those dreams won’t be realized. But if I push through…I can succeed. With Jesus as my guide and my faith in him to see me through all the challenges I will face, I put my trust in him. But….I also realize I have to do some work, too.

Step One: When I am tempted by someone else, I will remind myself that we are two separate individuals with completely different circumstances. I don’t know her story. She doesn’t know mine. I will do the best I can.

Step Two: Work on my goals. Write them down and put action behind them. I want my business to grow. I can’t make a social media post, shut the computer down and think, “Okay God. Bring them to me.” God is NOT a genie in a bottle that is going to grant you three wishes. You better WORK! Same with fitness and losing weight. I can’t go to the gym and on my way home stop to get a Big Mac. It doesn’t quite work that way.

Step Three: Get a support group. There is nothing like having a tribe to support you in your efforts. This can be a family member, a group of girlfriends, or just writing your accomplishments online. There is something magical about writing your goal down and then being able to say you accomplished it. But people have to know what your goal is. Share it with others. 

Step Four: Which really should be step one. I know that not all my readers are Christians. But if you are, you know there is power in prayer. I always pray for guidance and discernment. There are so many directions that I am being pulled in each and every day and I know you are, too. I can’t possibly say yes to everything I want to do so I ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit so I can be guided into making the right decisions.

We are all worthy. We are all beautiful. We are all magnificent. In our own individual way. Let’s go out into the world this week and SHINE!

What’s your tip for not comparing yourself to others? Share your thoughts below in the comment section.

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