The Addiction of Comparison

Oh, comparison. It’s a thief that gets me every time. I can look around social media, stories or my own eyes and every time it puts me in a bad place. There are so many things that we can compare and judge whether or not we get the upper hand. And either way we lose.

If I look at others and decide that I should have more money, a bigger house, a better-looking body, more power or whatever else, I am basically shaking my fist at God and telling Him that He got it wrong. Now, I’m not knocking practical things like working hard, working out, ambition in the workplace, etc. What I am saying is when we become addicted to looking at those around us to satisfy some craving in us to prove that others have it better and we are suffering—that’s a problem. And I know all about it because I do it too! I want to compare myself to her job, his money, their cute kids, a Pinterest profile that makes my house look like a disorganized pigsty. Any of this stuff steals my joy and makes me focus on all that I think I don’t have.

The reaction to this comparison in our own hearts usually goes one of two ways—either we obsess on what we don’t have and wish we had it, or we obsess on what we don’t have and blame that on someone else. The first looks like seeing a person who has a big beautiful house with all the trimmings (and a housekeeper coming weekly, might I mention) and wishing our house would look like that. We look around at our own houses then and find all the flaws with them. My stupid bathroom is so tiny. If I could just have a finished basement, my life would be so much better. The kitchen is so frustrating and I’m always tripping over little people while trying to cook.

The second reaction is blaming the problem on someone else. It’s like looking at someone else’s spouse and thinking that if we just had a spouse like that, our lives would be so much better. That stupid husband or wife is really limiting me and stopping all of my dreams from coming true. If only they could be different, my life would really be something special. (Please hear me, I’m not advocating staying with an abusive spouse here—but most of the complaints are not to that degree!) Basically, I blame my inferiority (as I see it) on someone else in my life.

You guys, I do both of these and they are both terrible reactions. They steal my joy, make me think my life stinks and allows the doubt of a loving Father creep even deeper into my heart.

And this morning again, my kind Father whispers into my ear, “Child, you have so many good gifts. Look around you. I love you over and over and over, even in your addiction to comparison.” I stop complaining about the size of the bathroom in my head and thank Him for a bathroom to pee in that doesn’t require me going outside the house. I come up short on whining about my kids not doing what I hoped they would and remember that many people have children separated from them by death, divorce or other things. I quit looking at the “stuff” that someone else has and realize that none of that is going to fulfill me and make me happy.

What is God whispering to you today about your addiction to comparison? Is He asking you to put down the thing you think would make your life perfect and realize the incredible beauty that already exists there? Is He reminding you of all the good gifts He has given to His child, all the reasons we can choose to thank Him even in the midst of harder things? Whatever He is saying, listen for a moment.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”
Matthew 7:7-11

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