The Comparison Trap

After I posted my blog yesterday I went out for a ride on my paddleboard. You will be hearing a lot about my paddleboard in the days to come but for now all I will say is that it was a strenuous ride. Perhaps you remember the perfect kite flying conditions yesterday? Most people do not paddleboard during perfect kite flying conditions, but my tendency towards doing these kinds of things is a topic for another day.

I keep my paddleboard down at my neighbor’s beach. I do this because there is a colony of snakes that has established residence at my dock. Though God has not given me a spirit of fear, He also has not given me a liking for snakes.

As I was walking up the neighbors yard my neighbor came out on her deck and said “I just got done telling Ali that today is not a good day to paddleboard and then Ali pointed out the window and said ‘Isn’t that Jen going by on her board’?” I say this only to confirm what I said in the first paragraph ☺.

We went on to chat about a variety of things. As she was talking I found myself thinking the same things I often think while we talk. Things like “She is so gorgeous, and fit, and full of energy”. From a distance I often cannot tell if it is her or her gorgeous eighteen year-old daughter. Even more than her external attributes, she is one of the nicest, most generous, creative, and talented people I know. She is an amazing career woman that goes from wearing six-inch heels and a power suit, to Under Amour shorts and flip-flops and looks completely natural in both.

Did I mention her house is perfectly decorated? Her family was even on a DIY television show a few years ago as they remodeled their basement and turned part of it into an amazing theatre and game room complete with theatre chairs. I say this because most of my house is still the same eggshell white that it was when we moved in thirteen years ago.

I asked her what her plans were for the day and she said she was going to paint some new canvases for the house. The canvases were so big she had to bring the trailer up to Michaels to pick them up because they did not fit in their SUV. I then learned that most of the amazing art work in their home was done by her. I finally looked up at her and said, “I don’t know why I even stop to talk to you. I always leave feeling like I need to go decorate my house- or at least clean it. My house is still the same eggshell white it’s always been.” We laughed and she assured me that the apartment look was very in these days and I was good.

I walked home smiling at the irony of the morning. I had just written about being comfortable with who we are and two hours later I am faced with someone that is everything I am not. There was a day when I would have spent the rest of a beautiful Sunday not only wishing I was her, but feeling like I SHOULD be more like her. I also would have stared at my colorless undecorated walls stewing over my lack of desire to change them.

Thankfully I did not experience any of those negative thoughts and feelings. I have come to learn that comparing yourself to others is a surefire way to end up feeling as though you do not measure up and are not good enough.

When you are grounded in who Jesus says you are, it is easier to delight in the amazing gifts and talents of others. It is easier to appreciate those that have what you don’t rather than feel jealous of them. This morning as I sat down with my Bible and cup of coffee I looked over to the neighbor’s house and smiled. I really am so thankful to have them as neighbors. They are the kindest, most generous and thoughtful people I know. Rather than be jealous of them, I enjoy the benefits of being their neighbor.

Now don’t misunderstand me. I don’t always pass the comparison test. There are still many times when I find myself feeling as though I come up short when compared to another. In fact, if I had not been meditating on yesterdays verse all morning I may very well have fallen into the trap. I guess that is one of the many reasons I love to write. I need to meditate on the Word in order to keep my eyes on Jesus and off of myself. Though I hope others benefit from my words, I know my own family benefits when mom is not stuck in the comparison trap ☺.

Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. Galatians 6:4 NLT

Grace, peace, and a day free of comparisons to you all,

Jen

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1 Comment

  1. I think we all fall into this trap all too often. And I’m no exception. Thank you for giving us the alternative to delight in others rather than be jealous.

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