“Comparison is the thief of joy.” -Theodore Roosevelt
This famous quote is so easy to spout and so difficult to follow.
I can have perfectly lovely day, spent exactly the way I would have wanted to spend my day with exactly the people I would have chosen to be a part of my day, but five minutes on Facebook can wipe it out and turn me bitter.
My mind starts going through all of the various comparisorial (yes, I make up words…but if it make sense, who’s to say it’s wrong?) joy-stealing monkey mind talk of:
“How in the world can they afford that vacation?”
“Another new car? Are you serious?”
“I can’t believe they’re still together. Everyone thought they’d be the first to split up.”
You know the comparisons you make as you scroll through the newsfeed.
So, we have one of three choices to make:
- Keep doing what we’re doing and keep getting what we’ve been getting.
- Stop the judgmental monkey mind and learn to scroll without the constant stream of caddy self-talk.
- Stop looking at the newsfeed…at least, stop looking at the newsfeed without first going through some hearty preparation.
John 10:10 speaks of the thief who “comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” (ESV) When we compare, we are not only judging others (see Ten Commandments), but we are allowing ourselves to believe that what we are or what we have is not enough.
If you choose in this digitally socialized world not to completely excommunicate yourself from the rest of the world, I don’t blame you, I’m no social leper, either. But I do encourage you to take a moment’s pause before opening that app or clicking over to your browser. Take a moment to arm yourself to be genuinely happy for your friends, to not grumble that they’re doing this or that and you’re doing something less thrilling or expensive.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” (James 1:2, ESV) Don’t be dissatisfied with your own blessings just because you didn’t spend the day on the beach, read the latest best-selling novel, teach an art class, and learn a new language today. As you look through your Facebook feed (sorry to be seemingly picking on FB today…it’s just the most convenient for this purpose), make a list of all you “wish” you could have done in that day, then look over that list and realize how incredibly impossible and non-at-all relaxing that “perfect” day would have been.
Maybe you’re in a rough patch right now. Please resist the urge to compare your current rough patch to another’s moments of bliss. They’re not comparable. You may or may not see the rough patches when others go through their own. But either way, “count it all joy” when those rough patches come because that’s when the growth happens. And in going through these kinds of times (and not internally punishing others for not going through their own at the same time), and “Rejoicing in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4, ESV), you will thrive through this stage and have your own fun to post on Facebook soon enough.
All in God’s time, my friends.
Let’s be vigilant together, and not allow anything steal what God has blessed us in having.
Until next time, my friends…
Make it a great day,