We all do it. And by ALL I mean ALL… We ALL consciously and subconsciously measure ourselves against the people around us in order to figure out where and how we fit into the world.
I know that we know we do it on social media. I know that we know we do it at school; at our kids' schools and/or in our families (sibling rivalry anyone?)
I have done it all, in all the places… Surprisingly though, the area or season of my life that has taught be the most about comparison has been my time in pastoral ministry; and the season I am in right now… serving and growing a heart-centered and servant-hearted coaching practice for other heart-centered servant leaders :)
I remember when (and see how), in an effort to grow and expand the good things we saw God doing in our ministry - we would look over the fence to see what was happening in our neighbors “yard” and see how we stacked up.
We called it “looking for inspiration”, and maybe it was… but slowly but surely it turned into something way more insidious, and way less helpful… we were comparing, and it was stealing so much from us.
Many of us have no problem quoting this famous idiom:
“Comparison is the thief of joy” … I think we can all point to experiences that can confirm it.
My experience, and the experience of my clients points to comparison as a joy thief as just scratching the surface of what it takes from the hearts and lives that make room for it.
1. Comparison always steals & stalls your progress.
When we get stuck in comparison… one of the inevitable stories we start to tell ourselves is:
“I can’t do _______ because I don’t have ________ like (person we’re comparing ourselves to).”
In high school I was convinced I wasn’t as popular as she was because I didn’t have as much money or shop at the same stores she did.
In early adulthood I didn’t have friends because I was the sucker God had called into full-time ministry (unlike her).
In ministry our congregation wasn’t as big as theirs because we didn’t have the right lighting equipment like they did.
In entrepreneurship, I am not as successful as her because all of my children are always hanging all over me and are clearly not as angelic as hers are.
In a nutshell, it’s never my fault that I don’t have what I want, It’s the fault of whatever it is that I want, that has not been given to me by God, life or the universe.
Comparison stalls your progress because it takes the power and control of your progress right out of your hands and leaves it floating out there in outer space while you wait for some magical power, item or miscellaneous circumstance to arrive on your doorstep.
Unfortunately that’s not how it works.
In high school I wasn’t popular because I was a jerk who didn’t like or trust other people.
In early adulthood I didn't have friends because I didn't prioritize the ones I had and I expected them to take full responsibility for our relationships.
In ministry we didn’t have a bigger congregation because… I have no idea why but I can assure you it had nothing to do with lighting displays.
In entrepreneurship, I wasn’t (or don’t) experience the success I desire because I: a) allow my children to prioritize for me (and need better boundaries with them); b) am better at having great ideas than implementing and c) am actually afraid of success and tend to push it away (or run away from it screaming) when it gets too close to me.
Comparison stalls your progress because it tricks you into thinking that someone or something else is responsible for it, and that you are helpless until you get what they have.
… to be continued….
I actually did a short video training on this exact subject where I unpacked the 3 ways comparison steals from you…
You can catch the replay by joining: https://web.facebook.com/groups/831898147554776?_rdc=1&_rdr