As you scroll through the photos of everyone sharing their 4th of July highlights, do you need a reminder not to compare? I did.
My husband and I had a rather quiet 4th. None of our kids were home. It had been a busy week so we just stayed home. No fireworks. No parties. Just the two of us, eating leftovers and having quiet conversations on our back deck.
It shouldn’t have surprised me on Sunday morning, then, when I opened Instagram, that I was tempted to compare.
“Must be nice to have a boat…”
“Oh look, those friends got together. Wish we had been invited…”
“Look at her sweet kids in their red, white, and blue. Those were the good ol’ days. I remember when our kids actually wanted to hang out with us…”
“Maybe we should buy a cottage, too, so when our kids are all grown they’ll want to come visit us…”
When I measure myself against others, my heart fills with all sorts of sludge: Jealousy. Competition. Longing to be admired. Fear of being left out or left behind. The desire to get ahead. But none of these are based on the wisdom that comes from above.
But Paul, the missionary who was responding to new church leaders who were trying to outdo him, said that that measure-up comparison is not wise (II Cor. 2:12). James, the pastor of the Jerusalem church who was trying to guide all of the small churches popping up, said that jealousy and selfish promotion are rooted in the wisdom from below, not above (James 3:14-16). And Jesus, the One who came to free me from this measure-up world, shares the secret to breaking free.
It’s in living as He did by serving others, not myself; lifting others up, no myself. It’s in asking questions like these:
- Who can I serve today?
- Who can I lift up and celebrate?
- Who can I encourage?
- Who can I help?
- What small things can I be grateful for?
Here are my answers to those questions from the past 24 hours:
Yesterday, we got to have another couple over for church. I got to encourage my son with his music. I got to talk with a friend on the phone and help her set some fears to rest. I got to pray for several friends who are going through hardship. I got to go for a bike ride with my husband and dream about our future over ice cream cones. I got to have a significant conversation with my son about how to live his faith.
It was a good weekend in 100 small ways, but by measuring my weekend against someone else’s I was at risk of losing that perspective.
When we compare and measure ourselves against each other, we live by the wisdom from below. But Jesus invites us to live by the wisdom from above!
Instead of comparing your life with your friend’s or your sister’s, try sharing your life and celebrating hers. Whether your scrolling through Instagram, listening to your sister tell you about her vacation, or reflecting on the past decade, this me-free living of Jesus is the way restore your freedom, confidence, and joy.
Get the Bonuses, including the Comparison Prayer Cards:
This post originally appeared on True Woman, a blog of Revive Our Hearts.