Ever heard the quote “comparison is the thief of joy”? I find this to be so true. Comparison leads me to view my friends as competitors and my sisters as rivals. A little bit of healthy competition is alright, but the comparison that I have been struggling with lately is mainly divisive.
At the root of my habit of comparison is a sneaking insecurity. While I think of my self as someone who trusts deeply in the Lord, there are still areas of my life that I cling to have difficulty surrendering to Him. Instead of giving my fears to Him and “casting my cares upon Him” (1 Peter 5:7), I am prompted by my pride and a fierce independence to rely on myself for security and fulfillment. Let me give a specific example.
I love pilates (specifically Blogilates). When I work out, I feel strong and healthy. Sometimes I am tired and don’t want to exercise, but I see my sisters pull out their yoga mats and I am motivated to do the same. This is healthy. At other times, unfortunately, my response is not as positive. If I allow a competitive spirit of comparison to overcome me, I may instead lash out in grouchiness without valid cause or else allow my mind to churn out a list of other ways that I am better than them, since in the moment their strength makes me feel insecure.
The Lord called me out on this the other day. He challenged me, “Is your confidence so shaky that another’s success and capability can convince you that you are weak and worthless? That is not true! Where is your security rooted?” What a wake up call! If my peace was found in Christ, it would be deeply rooted and not as easily shaken. Clearly, I was looking for confidence in the wrong place.
It is sad that it has taken several instances of me asking myself “Why am I so grumpy with my family today?” to realize that something was going on in my heart that needed to be resolved. Right now, that something is misplaced security. I am really struggling with finding my identity in how healthy and fit I feel, the way that I look, the way that people around me react and relate to me… Basically, I was striving to find fulfillment in myself and in affirmation from others.
Jesus told us, “Do not work for the food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life… I am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to Me will never go hungry” (John 6:27, 35). If I keep searching for peace to come from my appearance, my feelings, or my relationships, I will not find it. God alone will give me the joy, fulfillment, and security I long for. While comparison and painstaking concern about the “food that spoils” may boost my confidence at times, my roots can only grow deep into Jesus.
There is much work ahead for me as I seek to uproot myself from the shallow pot of passing things from which I have sought to derive my worth. I must transplant myself into the rich soil of God, turning my face to Him and letting myself be fulfilled and renewed by the water of His grace. When He is Lord of my heart – the one in whom I place all my trust – and my eyes are fixed on Him, I will find joy that comparison cannot steal. With my gaze locked on Christ, I can see that there is a mission much greater than I which demands a heart fully relying on the Lord. God, help me to surrender to you my insecurities and shallow cares. You are my hope and security. Come, Lord!