The Land of Comparison
As Andy Stanley puts it, we live in the “Land of Er.” If I could only be happi-er, skinny-er, rich-er, pretti-er and the list goes on, right? And some of us even live at times in the “Land of Est.” I want to be the smart-est, great-est, lovely-est! But what we don’t recognize is that it’s truly a losing battle with ourselves.
We look to the right and left to see if we measure up. The awareness of “who has what” is always in our face and it’s never going to go away! So what are we supposed to do in this “Land of Comparison?”
We have a choice. We can either keep looking around to see if we compare and go into debt, depression or whatever else over it. Or we can learn to live in contentment.
I like the story Andy told in one of his sermons and it literally made me laugh out loud. It was about someone who bought a new home and was so happy with it. They loved everything about it. Until… they went to their new neighbors house to see that they had 10 foot ceilings when meanwhile their new home only had 8 foot ceilings. So then they hated their house! It’s funny because it’s true of all of us. We can be totally enthralled with what we have one minute until we see what someone else has the next! But guys! Who are we working so hard to please?! God could care less and your new neighbor is just excited to have a new friend! So who is it all really for?
“Better to have one handful with tranquility then two handfuls with hard work and chasing the wind.” –Ecclesiastes 4:6
What is the wind that you are chasing? Is it the land of skinnier? Because once you get there, what happens? Do all your dreams come true? Is it the land of richer? Because once you have that amount in your account, will you never want another thing again? NO. When we get there we will then move to the “Land of Est!” Wanting to be the skinniest and the richest! What is the point of it all? It’s literally chasing wind that we will never catch.
Purpose over Perfection
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely good to have goals. We should all desire to be the person that we were created to be and have a purposeful and healthy life. But purpose and comparison do not go hand in hand. When we are in our true purpose, there is great contentment found there. We don’t look left or right because we know God has placed us there. And no matter who sees, whether no one or a crowd of one million, we are living with “one handful of tranquility” and another hand open and available to receive what God has for us next.
There is this awesome prayer by A.W. Tozer that humbled me as soon as I read it. It’s verbiage was a bit old school so I translated it slightly. But if this doesn’t put your heart in the proper place every time you put too much worth in yourself or someone else, then I don’t know what will. This is a prayer to memorize and repeat before we attempt to post on social media, decide to scroll, or maybe say before entering a person’s home we know we struggle to “keep up with.”
“Dear Lord, I refuse to compete with anyone else. They have a larger following than mine. So be it. I rejoice in their success. They have greater gifts. And that’s ok. That is not in their power or in mine. It’s yours alone. I am humbly grateful for their greater gifts and my smaller ones. I pray that I use my modest gifts for your glory only! I will not compare myself with anyone nor try to build self esteem by noting where I excel where others don’t. I stand here and deny all my worth as if it belongs to me. I know full well that all my worth is in you and you alone. So, I gladly go to the foot of your cross and own myself as the least of your people. I purpose to pray for others and rejoice in others prosperity as if it were my own. Actually it is my own if it is yours, because what is yours is mine, while one plants and another waters it is you alone who gives it increase.”
And all my people say AMEN!
We can live in contentment. It’s a choice and it will take some work. But changing our perspective is possible! My next group starts in February and we will be doing Sandra Stanley’s study “Comparison Trap.” We’d love to have you as we dig deeper into this area of our lives.
Message me for details: [email protected]