Before I start can we all take a look at Michelle Obama’s face?! Her face be like “I’LL DEAL WITH YOU WHEN WE GET HOME, BARACK”
Okay, let’s get started.
Does anyone else wake up in the morning, roll over and check their phone before their eyes have opened properly? The brightness of my phone can almost be painful but I persevere and force them to adjust. Why? Because I need to check my phone, I NEED to see who has messaged me.
Oh you’re not in phone-first-camp? You reach for your Bible first?
Sidebar: please excuse my sarcasm, a part of me is applauding sincerely
To be honest, reaching for my bible before I reach for my phone is a daily battle – one I often lose. I so want to reach for God before I reach for people, I tell myself that I’m only going to check the time but before I know it, I’m scrolling through Instagram, updating myself on the previous 8 hours because I am so interested in how you’ve been living, eating, drinking and the sunsets you’ve seen in the time I’ve been asleep. Our generation (you included, sorry) are obsessed with what we have missed because we fear that we are missing out. We want to constantly be part of the party and attached to what’s ‘cool’ and ‘happening’, so much so, that even in the presence of company, we will check Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Vine.. to ensure that we remain in the loop.
We see other people having fun and living out lives that seem flawless and then we take look around the room that we are sitting in and conclude that our lives do not measure up. They’re out drinking champagne; we are at home drinking hot chocolate. Their boyfriend gives them flowers and a life size teddy bear for Valentine’s day and yet the only Valentine’s message we receive is from Dominos informing us that they have a special offer for our non-existent partners to enjoy (who else loves being single?!) We look at our phones, we look around and we become dissatisfied.
Unfortunately this obsession and comparison with what other people are doing is not limited to Instagram; we walk along the streets looking at other people’s clothes, hairstyles, cars etc and wish that we had the same things. We stare at them and then stare in the mirror and decide that we just aren’t enough. Sometimes it runs even deeper than staring at strangers and wishing for their possessions– sometimes we look at those closest to us and although we love them, we also begin to hate them because we feel that they too possess attributes that should have been bestowed upon us. If you are nodding your head or looking around guiltily as you read this…
You have been living in the Comparison Zone
Here are the rules
(which I made up this morning):
Rule #1: Look around instead of looking ahead
Rule #2: Look behind only to make sure you that you are ahead of everyone else
Rule #3: What everyone else is doing is more important than what you are currently doing
Rule #4: What you have done only matters if no one else has managed to do it
Rule #5: Your worth hinges upon what you see around you, not what you know to be true about yourself
Once the silent competition between you and a close one begins, there’s no going back. Everything he/she does, you have to do better. You are secretly angry when they achieve greatness yet you force yourself to smile and congratulate them. Every time they win, a small part of you dies and you can’t help but think ‘why not me? Why always them?’
This negative comparison, jealousy and envy isn’t limited to Instagram or our generation; we see it in the Bible with Saul and David:
1 Samuel 18:6-8
When the victorious Israelite army was returning home after David had killed the Philistine, women from all the towns of Israel came out to meet King Saul. They sang and danced for joy with tambourines and cymbals. This was their song:
“Saul has killed his thousands,
and David his ten thousands!”
This made Saul very angry. “What’s this?” he said. “They credit David with ten thousands and me with only thousands. Next they’ll be making him their king!” So from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.
Now, why would Saul keep an eye on David? Why do we keep eyes on other people?
- The deep-rooted fear that we are not good enough
- The feelings of inadequacy we accumulate as we pass through life
- *insert reason here*
Saul could have congratulated David but instead he chose to watch him and let jealousy and hatred fester within. Saul isn’t alone. I’m sure some of you have experienced the same thoughts and feelings as Saul when someone has outdone you – I know that I have.
I think once we enter the Comparison Zone, we take our eyes off Jesus and we put ourselves in a vulnerable position. We should be looking to the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2) but instead we are looking to see if our friend actually gets that job or wondering whether her new boyfriend will be better than our current boyfriend.
My main gripes with the Comparison Zone are as follows:
1. We started differently
Your race could have started just minutes before mine – you could have even been born during the same year, on the same day, but that still wouldn’t make our starting positions equal. I’m talking about the differences in genetics, in the opportunities given to us, the different environments we are reared in and the choices our parents made long before we were thought of. All these things impact how we run our race.
How can we race each other when we’ve all begun at different times, received different aides and have run through completely different storms?
2. No two destinies are the same
God has made us uniquely different. We have differing goals, missions and tasks that we have been chosen to complete. Now how can we compare ourselves to people who have completely different tasks? The gifts God equipped your friends with in order to complete their tasks will be different to the gifts he has given you – not better, just different. It isn’t about looking at someone else’s light and feeling inferior, it is about recognising that the source of your light is one and the same.
We will never be satisfied with our lives if we continue to be consumed with the actions of others. I may never be on TV, I may never drive an expensive car and my hair will ALWAYS shrink when water touches it but I have to trust that every single facet of my being was designed perfectly by God so that I could complete my mission here on earth (even my unruly hair).
I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
God deserves our attention and our focus because he will run beside us, give us water when we are thirsty, give us strength when our legs are weak and cheer for us as we cross the finish line.
Make a decision to leave the Comparison Zone today; you can’t run anyone else’s race as well as you can run your own and life is better when you realise you’re running this race for God.
Hey now, have an amazing weekend! All my loving,