Confessions Of A Closet Christian 36: Why Do We Compare Ourselves To Others?

Confessions Of A Closet Christian 36: Why Do We Compare Ourselves To Others? September 16, 2014

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When I hear the word “compare,” I think of being lesser than, less cool and not measuring up.  It’s easy to compare ourselves to other people.

Sometimes I think we all live fake realities.  We censor our lives through status updates and Instagram filters and then we compare our real lives with everyone else’s fake ones.  It’s easy to get down on yourself when everyone is getting a new apartment, a new dog, a new fiancé, a new husband, a new house, and a new baby.  I sit at my screen with a bowl of Cheetos on my lap wondering how my life sucks so much and then I lay down on the couch to watch Duck Dynasty.

It’s easy to forget that everyone else is looking at our fake lives while they watch Honey Boo Boo and wonder what they did wrong, too.

Andy Stanley of Northpoint Community Church says there’s no win in comparison.  And I think he’s right.

Comparing ourselves to other people just makes us feel badly, stifled and stuck – like we aren’t worth anything and we can’t go anywhere.

It makes me wonder how much time we waste looking around at what we don’t have and focusing on where we aren’t.

What would happen if we did what we could with what we have?  We look around at the world – and in the media it seems as though you’re only successful or you’ve only made it once you’ve “arrived.”

But what about the journey?  No one ever talks about that and that’s probably because the journey was just the worst.  Complete misery.

I think Joseph’s story in Genesis is a good reminder of that.

This kid has major talent interpreting dreams.  Huge promise.  His brothers compare themselves to him and don’t like how it makes them feel so they throw him in a ditch – take is designer status coat – and instead of doing him the courtesy of killing him, they sell him into slavery.

But the kid’s talented and catches the boss’s eye…and his wife’s.  Joseph’s accused of adultery and thrown into prison.

In prison, he interprets a couple of dreams and gets them right – the baker is killed and the cupbearer is restored to his former status, conveniently forgetting about Joseph.  This sucks.  Joseph’s life is the worst.

When Pharaoh has a dream – genius cupbearer remembers Joseph, they send for him and he interprets the dream – that a famine is coming, people. But Pharaoh puts Joseph in charge of famine preparation and makes Joseph second in command, beneath only himself.  That’s pretty cool.

But Joseph’s life was completely wretched up until this point.  He had everything going for him until he became a slave, was accused of adultery, and became a prisoner.  Years and years had to pass before anybody saw any value in him.  Before people saw who he was or what he could do.

Joseph didn’t just arrive as the second in command.  He put in his best work every day in every moment, nibbling away at time, having a terrible experience, but all the while going somewhere.

It makes me wonder what our lives would look like if instead of getting restless by looking around at what we don’t have, feeling badly and spinning our wheels because we haven’t “arrived” yet, we found thankfulness for what’s been given to us and we did the very best each moment of each day with what we have to work with, slowly but surely making our way to the day when we do arrive.

Philippians 3:12 says: Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of me.

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