Over the past few weeks since I started this blog, I’ve come to enjoy taking popular Bible verses or Christian clichés and rediscovering why they became so well-known in the first place. As I’ve said before, I grew up Christian and was surrounded by a plethora of phrases and verses that I’d heard so many times that they lost all meaning.
Well, today I’m here again to analyze and discuss another one of those worn-out yet truth-filled phrases: comparison is the thief of joy. This phrase is popular amongst Christian circles, especially women and girls, and today I want to encourage you to let this phrase resonate once again.
Comparison is a daily battle. It often makes us feel like we’re doing something wrong, that our lives are lame, or that we simply don’t measure up. With a quick scroll through Instagram, comparison takes your happiness and contentment and throws them down the drain. Comparison is jealous of your joy, so she comes to steal it, making you doubt your worth, ability, talent, and purpose.
Comparison is kin to the father of lies: Satan.
When we sow comparison, we reap consequences like stress, feelings of inadequacy, and lower self-esteem. This past week I was confronted yet again with one of my most toxic thought patterns: if I’m not ahead, I’m behind. While this thought pattern has some roots in a perceived lack of time, it is also partially rooted in comparison.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about interning this summer. I applied to a couple internships and was turned down, but on Monday, another opportunity was presented to me.
Although I was sure I would jump at this opportunity, I’m not so sure anymore. I’m burned out and tired from a semester of online class and 5:00 am work shifts. With the help of my mom (of course), I came to the conclusion that I need a break and time to relax this summer while continuing to make money at my current job.
But there is a little voice in my head that keeps nagging me. She says, “You need experience! You need to dip your toes into your future job field before it’s too late! Everyone else is getting an internship, so you need to as well! Otherwise, you’ll be BEHIND!” The voice also likes to tell me that I’m being lazy by not seizing this opportunity and that there will be none like it in the future. All lies!
I bring this up is because, as mentioned, I noticed a lot of the fear and anxiety I’m experiencing from this situation is rooted in comparison. I’m worried that I’m behind because I’m comparing myself to other students who are getting internships or have already had them. When I take a step back, I start to realize how silly it is of me to do this.
Many of the students who have internships are older than me or ahead of me in their schooling. Many of them are not battling against anxiety. And simply put, they are not me.
As easy as it is to fall into the trap of comparing myself with my peers, there is absolutely no reason to do this. We’re different. We’re on different academic paths. We have different educational and career goals. We are experiencing different mental and physical health struggles. I could go on.
If you find yourself struggling with comparison this week, I encourage you to take a break from social media and reconnect with yourself. Maybe journal a bit to get your thoughts out on paper, and do something that nourishes your soul. This could be biking, drawing, reading, talking with a friend, listening to music, praying — whatever refreshes and restores you.
As mentioned earlier, “comparison is the thief of joy” is somewhat of a corny Christian saying, but it holds true. Comparison is kin to the father of lies; she only wants to steal, kill and destroy. But Jesus wants and has so much more for us.
As you continue this week, remember what Jesus says in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” My hope is that you will rest in His abundance this week, knowing that you are precious in His sight.
Grace and peace,