This post was first published by Family Life and is used here by permission
I wonder how many of you would relate to me when I talk about the dangers of comparison. It’s such an easy trap to fall into, and in so many areas:
Maybe you hear that your friends have just been on a wonderful two week holiday to the Gold Coast, and you’re just trying to make it through the day with two small mouths to feed, you hardly have a moment to yourself these days, and hardly enough money to pay the mortgage – let alone go on holiday. Life suddenly seems even harder.
Or maybe you’re comparing your spouse, like a friend of mine who ‘fessed’ up one day.
She told her husband how she liked how this other man did this, and another husband did that, and another man did the other; and then challenged her husband by asking him, “why aren’t you like that?” It was a good thing her husband was able to respond without overreacting and simply pointed out, “darling, I think you’re being a little unfair. You’ve just highlighted the attributes of three different people we know – yet I’m only one man. I’m sure if you asked their wives they would see some shortcomings in them as well.”
My friend admits she was being so unreasonable, and realised she’s married to a great guy.
But it’s amazing how we can all go down that negative road of comparison. If we’re not alert to it, it can cause us to be very dissatisfied. If we dwell on the things we don’t have or things we’d like to have, it can begin a downward spiral that can have devastating consequences.
I’m sure it’s one of the reasons why it’s God’s desire that we are to be thankful in all circumstances – 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
Thankfulness is the antidote to disappointment and disillusionment brought on by the subtle curse of comparison. That no matter what we are facing or enduring, we are to give thanks.
I know it can sound very trite advice to people going through really difficult times, but I actually say this as someone who has been there. I think when you have faced some tough times it makes you realise all the more how special the simple things in life are – and not to take things, your spouse – or your kids – for granted. But instead, to choose to live in contentment.
It’s so important to focus on what you do have and what you can do – rather than what you don’t have or what you can’t do.
There is a well-known saying, “If the grass is greener on the other side – then it’s time you watered your own lawn.”
I really like that. What it means is that if someone else’s husband appears better than yours, then the place to start is by thanking God for him and encouraging him and affirming him just as he is.