The lure of comparision

It’s the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday, as many call it. And I can’t help but pondering this idea of thankfulness just a little bit more. Today I was thinking about how easy it is to count someone else’s blessings. We do it all the time, don’t we? We see someone else and compare ourselves. Always figuring out where we rank with those around us.
One of the greatest problems with this is that when you count someone else’s blessings, it is often impossible to count their heartaches. Because blessings can be so external, but heartache is, well, of the heart – it is private.

Here are a few real life examples from women I have known:
– the woman who is beautiful, married to a good-looking man and successful on their church staff, but who has miscarried multiple times
– the woman who is wealthy, has adorable children, and a quick laugh, but whose husband refuses her in bed
– the woman who has the perfect hair and body, a great husband, and the platform to speak to others, but whose parents are undergoing a heart-wrenching marital situation

If you were to meet any of these women today, you would only see the things in their life that are happy. You would see the success. The beauty. The wealth. You would not see the heartache, the tears, the brokeness.

Today I know there are many of you who are in challenging marriages. I know there are many who wish things were different in your own lives. You often look at others and see the happy things, the things we count as our blessings. I am sure you have heard the quote that says, “Be kind – for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”  You may be one of those ones in a hard battle. But I urge you not to compare. Because comparision is so close to coveting. And when we covet someone else’s life, or husband, or marriage, or children, or wealth – we tell God that ours is not enough. We say that He is not good enough. Not wise enough. Not sovereign enough.

I am praying for you today. Praying you would have His eyes to see how many blessings you have, indeed. Praying for a humble heart that would not compare your lot in life to others. Please pray for me too. This post came out of my own struggles today – comparing my situation and events to others, and wishing. I am on my own journey of gratitude. So pray for me too.


7 thoughts on “The lure of comparision

  1. Annabel (love the name, BTW) this is beautiful and brilliant! I think we want to build the perfect spouse – a Frankenstein or Mr Potato head spouse made up from bits of others we see who we think are great. What we don’t “get” is that people are whole things, not parts we can separate. The good and the bad are not just in the same package, some of them come from the same roots.

  2. You are so right. This is one reason I have never coveted other women’s husbands. We never know what is really going on in another couple’s marriage. It’s so much more productive to remember that everyone has challenges of some kind and that we wouldn’t be any better off (and might just be worse off) if we traded ours for theirs.

  3. As a guy, I think we’re guilty of this coveting of blessings the most. We like to see ourselves as the breadwinners of our families, and yet too often make comparisons on how we stack up to our more successful friends. We see all the external signs you mentioned in your post and feel let down that we somehow don’t measure up. When in reality yes, we don’t know what lies beneath the surface of the people we think have it all going for them.

    Years ago an elder in our church, a man I greatly admire, made small talk with me. This man the Lord has blessed with fortune, a beautiful, devoted wife, and two daughters who are also beautiful in body and spirit. But during our small talk he confessed that due to the sudden death of one of his young nephews and his mother’s rapidly declining health, that he was having a serious crisis of faith.

    How small and petty it made me feel when I considered how envious I’d been of his life, never once considering of what the man might be going through. And how odd it felt to be offering words of encouragement to one of my elders, but they’re people too. When I confessed to the struggles my faith was undergoing as well, it surprised him, for he said he always thought from my outward appearance that I was always happy and had not a care in the world. The common ground we were both on took our conversation to a much deeper spiritual level. We agreed that life can be hard, and throw us vicious curves, but we also vowed to pray for one another and to be more thankful for the blessings we have, the blessings that we all too often take for granted.

    Great post. I like reading your insights.


  4. very true.. and I’ll add one.
    The woman who is always well put together, has a great sense of style, is in great physical shape, her house is clean and organized, is married to a kind, gentle man whom she adores, has great kids… her husband is an alcoholic and their son battles with depression which landed him in the psych ward this past summer.
    Nobody’s life is perfect. Everyone has challenges. Embrace your challenges because God is using them to refine you and shape you into the man/woman he desires you to be.

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