Life is full of games...Superbowl games, basketball games, dating games, World Cup soccer, Candy Land, and Monopoly. Games always bring a healthy dose of competition. But there is another game that we tend to play in secret. I like to call it the "Mr. Brown" game. Growing up, my parents had a neighbor that had everything, or so it seemed. Nothing ever seemed to go wrong for this guy. He had the latest car, the best riding lawn mower, and a better paying job. I am pretty sure my dad played the "keeping-up-with-the-Browns'-game".
Week 4 of the "I Quit" series was I Quit Comparing. It was probably one of the most impacting messages. But then every week is. Comparisons emerge in all walks of life, at all socio-economic levels. Really if we are honest, we could call it a game. I am talking about those life games that we play, as we compete with others, on whatever the issue, sport, or any other life phase that we are currently going through.
I tend to compete in this field a lot. It's my nature to want to measure up to man's standards to be accepted. BUT a couple of weeks ago, this weakness was brought to the ugly goal line and NOW God is helping me tackle through. On any given day I set myself up thinking I need to:
Lead like Steven Furtick to be effective.
Exercise like fitness guru Jillian Michaels.
Be a published author like Max Lucado.
Be a blog-master like Jon Acuff.
God hates it. Why?
These games of comparison are deadly. Comparison breeds discontentment. 2 Corinthians 10:12 says, "We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise." It's not a good practice to measure yourself to the standards of man. The danger of comparison is no matter who you do it with, eventually there is always someone whose prettier, skinnier, smarter, faster, more connected, reads faster, blogs faster or is in a higher-up position than you.
Comparison makes us prideful. "We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking, there would be nothing to be proud about." ~ C.S. Lewis.
Comparison makes us resentful. I shouldn't have to explain that to you...right? We become resentful of God's goodness in others lives and ignore God's blessing in our own life. Ungratefulness is another word that could be used here. Ouch!
So now that we have recognized this struggle, what do we do? (I am including you too, because I don't want to be in this pit alone). Our forward actions, should be to...
Know what you have. Make a list of things to be grateful for. God has blessed you tremendously, and there are a couple of things you could write down. I am challenging myself to write a 100 blessings. Stick it in your Bible and look at it often. Praise Him that you are blessed beyond measure. "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. " Phillippians 4:11-12.
Know who you are. Ephesians 2:10 "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." God loves you, and has chosen you to be His child before the foundations of the world were created. Accept it, He loves you THAT much. Now accept the gifts He has given you. Now use them to make a difference in the lives of others. Knowing who are is also knowing who you don't have to be. Don't compare your life to others. God has designed it specifically for you. Yes, YOU!
The danger of comparison is that we find ourselves looking to other people for our value and determining our value by how we compare with other people. You put two similar things side-by-side and compare them. It's fine for bargains, cars, and shoes… but not for people. When we compare we focus on the "i". Our lists of who gets the car we wanted, the job we needed, the spouse we desired, or the most gifted children, the bigger blog, and who has the latest iBook, iMac, iPhone or iPad, well The "Land of Shiny Things" and the measure of men doesn't satisfy. It never will.
What sorts of comparisons seem to have the most negative impact on your life?