the devil is in Comparison. 7 comments

I can hardly tell you how often I’ve had the following thoughts lately:

your life up“She’s married with three kids and she is only a year older than I am, what am I doing with my life?

“She’s traveled to six different countries in the last three years, what on Earth have I been doing?

He’s got a great full-time job and just got engaged to one of the most amazing women I know. What am I doing with my life?

“She just makes the most radiant bride! And she is younger than me?!

“Look at her beautiful baby bump, she is just glowingWhat am I doing with my life?

“He’s a seasoned songwriter, making God only knows how much money, and touring and traveling, and he’s married. And he’s three years younger than me?!

I get it. If I’m being really honest, I know those aren’t the best thoughts. God is using each of those people exactly where He needs them to be. But what about me? It is such an easy question to wonder. I can look at just about anyone and tell you that I feel infinitely less accomplished, less put together, less well-off than they are. I can come up with things I’m doing right, things I’m blessed with, and things I’m happy about. However, with each on of those things I can easily put a caveat as to why my life isn’t as awesome as it could be.

I’m using all of my degrees in a job I love…but I’m working two jobs in the same field and I’m still not full-time.

I get to travel more frequently than most…but I don’t get paid vacation like so many of my friends.

I love my living situation…but it isn’t where I thought I’d be living at this point in my life. I thought I’d own a house by now.

For weeks and weeks I’ve been telling myself to stop comparing my life with other people’s lives. The words of Steve Furtick ring so true in my head, but they don’t penetrate my heart: “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” My behind-the-scenes is messy and chaotic, but everyone else’s highlight reel is picture perfect. I see their houses, their freshly painted rooms, their cute sonogram pictures, and their sweet engagement stories and I can’t help but wonder what I’m doing with my life. Am I wasting my time? Am I really serving God? And for goodness sake, why isn’t that MY life?

Then one night, like a train on the tracks, it hit me. My mom came home from Mass and told me that she’d told a lady at church who is about my age that I’d written a book. This lady’s response? She wrote a book!? What on Earth have I been doing with my life?! 

The thing is that we all do this business of comparing our lives to others. It wasn’t until someone compared her life to mine (and felt exactly how I’ve been feeling about everyone else’s lives) that it really hit me: we are exactly where God wants us to be. God called the songwriter, and the wife, and the mother just as much as He called me to write a book. Is this the life I thought I’d have? No way. But if it is where He wants me, if my great passion is meeting His calling for my life, then no comparison can ever rob me of the joy of serving, following, and loving my God.

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7 thoughts on “the devil is in Comparison.

  • Nikki

    Jer 29:11 is one of my faves because I can get caught up in the comparison trap and languish there. I just need to remind myself that God has a plan for me, yes I want the husband and kids, maybe that’s what He wants for me too but not yet. Patience is not exactly my strong suit either.
    Maybe even He wants something totally different and even better for me but I am so stuck on comparing to what I think I want that someone else has

    • Amanda @ worthy of Agape

      I TOTALLY get that! Patience is something He’s been trying to teach me my whole life and I fail at it on a regular basis.

      God only knows what He wants for each of us, all we can do is stay close to Him and serve Him to the best of our abilities! =)

  • Theresa

    Amen, sister! I am going to have to flag this to read from time to time.

    Relevant Magazine recently published an article called (and I am paraphrasing) “Stop Posting Your Perfect Life on Instagram.” There are days when I am hard on myself and blogs/social media can really get me down. But I think it’s the exception rather than the rule. (However, negative posts ALWAYS get me down.) I don’t think it’s about people NOT sharing the highlight reel, because we should try to rejoice with those who are rejoicing, but we just need to remind ourselves every once in a while that we’re not getting the full picture and we should rejoice in our OWN success.

    • Amanda @ worthy of Agape

      I read that blog/article in Relevant Magazine just before I wrote this one! I think you are right about the highlight reels, I want to see other people’s joy, but it is important to remember that I don’t see all the crazy things behind the scenes!

  • Catholic Mutt

    I agree that the comparison thing is awful and we all do it. I think almost every time I get upset about where my life is, it’s because I compare it to someone else’s life or where I thought my life should be. Although it happens, it’s rare that discontent comes from the actual circumstances of my life.

    • Amanda @ worthy of Agape

      SO true! I find that when I really think about my life, I’m not unhappy with the way things I are, but I become unhappy when I look around and wish I had what everyone else seems to have. The grass is always greener on the other side and what not!