Keep Your Joy!
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14, NIV)
In this age of social media, just about everyone is online looking at what everyone else is doing in their lives. Social media can be a great tool to catch up with old friends and distant relatives, but when social media becomes a measuring stick by which people compare their lives, it becomes a tool of joy theft. There is a quote by Theodore Roosevelt that says, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Comparing ourselves to everyone else doesn’t help us to become better. It actually does the opposite and makes us worse for the wear. For example, if a “Keeping up with the Joneses” mom sees another mom have a big, blowout 1st birthday party for her child, a lot of times, it might make that “Keeping up” mom feel like she needs to outdo the first mom and have a bigger blowout for her child. The cycle continues from there. In the end, the “Keeping up with the Joneses” mom has spent hundreds of dollars and stressed herself completely out for a party that her child won’t even remember. Instead of keeping up with the Joneses and what they may think about us, let’s keep up with God and what He thinks about us. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 5:1, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” (ESV)
Comparing ourselves has never yielded good results. When two siblings are compared, usually the one that the parents want to be like the other sibling dives as far away as possible from what the parents want. Comparison just divides the family and makes matters worse. The same goes with comparing ourselves with someone else; it just makes us miserable. We will never know on this Earth why God chose one person to be able to be great at something and another person to be not so great at it. That’s just a fact of life. We all just have to find what we are great or even good at and hone in on that thing. I believe that is what pleases God. Proverbs 14:30 tells us, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” (NIV)
If you find yourself comparing yourself to someone else, choose to be happy for that person and compliment them on a job well done, but also compliment yourself. Think about things that you have accomplished. Ask God to allow you to do your best in whatever you attempt to undertake, and I’m sure you will have many reasons to compliment and be proud of yourself. Galatians 6:4-6 tells us, “Don’t compare yourself with others. Just look at your own work to see if you have done anything to be proud of. You must each accept the responsibilities that are yours.” (ERV)
Also, we must learn how to take a compliment from others. Quite often, people may see us as having special or unique skills, but when we are complimented, we don’t always take it with grace. Many times, we downplay our “specialness.” If we can learn how to take compliments and compliment ourselves more often, without being prideful, we will no longer live in comparison, but we will live with peace and joy.