A couple of weeks ago I was babysitting my niece and nephew. All was going well and they were playing happily with their own toys, until my nephew turned over and saw his younger sister was playing with something he wanted to play with. As you can probably predict, the rest was history—tears, tantrums and frustration on both ends.
After eventually separating the two and getting them in bed I started to ponder.
Why was it all fine until he looked over? Why couldn't he be content with what he had and wait his turn? And then... a very self-aware moment.
I may be 25, going on 26, yet I can behave exactly the same. I can find myself comparing what I have and wishing it was something else.
How often have you been okay in our own race, job or relationship—until you check Instagram, Facebook or perhaps catch up with one of your friends or family? It's a case of 'I want what she's having', whether it's her closet, her travel adventures, her house or even her career.
The act of comparing
The purpose of comparison is to hold two things side by side in order to note similarities and differences.
Each of us has been created uniquely, with our own gifts and abilities. In Psalm chapter 139, verse 14 it says, "I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well". In Matthew chapter 10, verse 30 Jesus says, "But even the hairs on your head are numbered". In 1 Peter chapter 4, verse 10 it says, "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms".
Why do we still have such a big issue with comparison in our society? Could it be we don't fully believe in a God who wants our best, who knows us more than we know ourselves and wants us to live freely without the world's perception of success.
Once we understand God created us uniquely we need to make a choice to tell ourselves this truth and live according to it. Similar to love and fear, comparison is a choice; a choice to remain humble yet not self-deprecating or 'our own worst enemy'; a choice to put God first and serve him alone (see Galatians chapter 1, verse 10); a choice to fix our gaze on the goal in front of us and not get distracted (see Proverbs chapter 4, verse 27 and Philippians chapter 3, verse 12–16).
As Charles Swindoll once said, "When the Lord makes it clear you're to follow him in this new direction, focus fully on Him and refuse to be distracted by comparisons with others."
In this season and the seasons to come, I am choosing to run my own race well, fixing my gaze on the prize set before me and making a choice to not let comparison be my own downfall.
Meenal Chandra is a Sydney based writer who is choosing run her own race well.
Meenal Chandra's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/meenal-chandra.html