A few weeks ago, I was scrolling on social media and came across a post by Sarah Jakes Roberts that was celebrating her recent achievement of selling 100,000 copies of her latest book. Upon seeing that post I immediately started to feel bad because my book hadn’t sold 100,000 copies. Forget the fact that my goal for this year was to have 1,000 sales/downloads and to date I have nearly tripled that goal. Comparison causes us to diminish our own accomplishments.
Now, you are probably thinking that it is silly of me to be comparing myself to a world-renowned minister and best-selling author and you would be correct. However, it is no sillier than when we compare ourselves to our relatives, friends, co-workers, or random people we meet and see.
It has been said that comparison is the thief of joy, and when comparison leads to feelings of envy, resentment, anger, or causes you to devalue yourself then it becomes easy to see how it can rob you of your happiness, purpose, and wellbeing.
What Others Have
Then all the leaders of Israel met together, went to Samuel in Ramah, and said to him…
“… appoint a king to rule over us, so that we will have a king, as other countries have.” - 1 Samuel 8:4-5 GNT
The Israelites were God’s chosen people and yet, they were comparing themselves to others and willing to relinquish God’s protection and provision to pursue what others had. That is what comparison does to us - it makes us envy other people and things at the expense of our own peace and happiness.
Even when God, through Samuel, warned them of everything they would lose by having a king they ignored him and responded by saying:
“No! We want a king, so that we will be like other nations…” - 1 Samuel 8:19-20 GNT
Do not ask for another person’s blessings if you don’t want their burdens. Do not ask for another person’s relationship or marriage, family, job, success, or influence because you don’t know what they had to endure to obtain those things. You were made by God, and when He made you, He put within you everything you would need to survive the trials you would face, but when you covet and pursue what someone else has you are opening yourself up to an attack that you were not made to handle.
As they danced, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his tens of thousands. “Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David. - 1 Samuel 18:7-9 NIV
God chose Saul to be the King of Israel until his direct disobedience led him to fall out of favor with God. Following Saul’s defiance, God then anoints David king. Saul became upset and began to compare himself with David. He grew angry because David was being credited with killing tens of thousands and him, “only thousands.”
Have you, like Saul, ever undervalued your own accomplishments with an “only?” Maybe you have said things like I am only a mother, I am only an assistant, I am only part-time, I only had 10 sales, or I only have a high school education. It says, [Saul] thought, meaning - comparison caused him to create a false narrative in his head that what he had accomplished was insignificant, and an “only” led him to grow spiteful, depressed, and fearful.
In the end, Saul commits suicide and that is ultimately the cost of comparison - the death of your future. Instead of comparing yourself to the image that others want you to see and creating a false narrative in your head - learn to be your authentic self and live the best life God has blessed you with to the fullest.