Comparison is the thief of joy
I’m never more unsatisfied than when I’m comparing myself or my situation to another’s.
Yet, I do it all the time…
I perceive if I had her outfit or better hair or abs then I would be happier. If only we could have “date night” at a fancy restaurant or be as affectionate as that couple then our relationship would be “so much better”. As I scroll through Instagram looking at cute babies and young moms I just long to have that life.
From a distance or on the other side of the screen everyone else’s life and appearance seem ideal to me. Perhaps that really pretty girl is also thinking she doesn’t look that great compared to the girl she saw on the bus. Or maybe that couple is putting on a front or they just had a huge fight prior. Maybe that young mom is wishing she could sleep in, have alone time with her husband or get a break from the pressures of being a mom.
The root of discontentment
I’m often only observing the surface of people’s lives. I’m sure others look at my life and may think similar things about me. I realize I am very blessed. I am very grateful and content with my life overall.
Yet I have moments where in my sinfulness I lack a grateful heart. I can be overcome with wanting what I don’t have. I find these thoughts strike me when I’m bored or doing something I’d rather not be doing like working.
It’s odd I don’t feel discontent when I’m driving with Michael or having fun. I can be a slave to my unhealthy thoughts allowing them to rule my attitude rather than deciding to change my cognitions and my attitude.
To be honest I’ve struggled with comparison for a long time. It’s tough to balance being content and grateful for knowing I have areas I want to improve while not beating myself up for where I’m at.
New Thought Patterns
I have to change my thinking patterns. That’s why I try often to remember the quote above. I don’t want to live a life lacking joy. I want to be satisfied, happy, and not desiring what others seem to have.
I also find memorizing the scripture a great way to fight off negative thoughts. A long time ago I wrote out the following verse and posted it beside my bed. Every night I would be reminded of this truth and eventually, I came to know it by heart.
Let your conduct be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.
Ultimately, I’m most content when I’m not focusing on my own situation but instead turning my focus to God, through prayer or reading my Bible. I find it imperative to stay connected to the source of truth. Otherwise, it’s easy to fall into the lies of discontentment and comparison.
I always try to go back to the gospel and meditate on how undeserving I am of God’s grace in providing restitution and forgiveness for my sin. Something I could never do on my own. When I focus on Him I have nothing to be discontent about.
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