“But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord. For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” 2 Corinthians 10:17-18
There is a beautiful man-made lake (not too many real ones, where I live) in the city where my church is located. There is a nice path around the lake that is frequented by walkers, runners, and bicyclists. I was walking at my usual snail’s pace around the lake when a little girl caught my eye. She could not have been more than 3 years old and she was riding her bicycle with no training wheels. People would stop and do a double take. Several different people asked her mother how old she was because they couldn’t believe she was able to ride a two-wheeled bicycle at her age.
I thought about how scared my husband and I were teach our child to ride a bicycle because we did not want her to get hurt. If I could have wrapped her in bubble wrap, I would have done so. She just turned 7 years old when she learned, not three years old. This was not my child’s fault for learning later on, but there I was comparing her to another child. I was thinking, I should have started sooner. Then, I had the funniest thought, would that even matter in 10 years? Would that three-year old boast someday about how she learned to ride a bike so young? Like many other milestones, would a person say in their future: I potty trained when I was 2, I learned to read at 4 years old, I was the first to drive a car! It just doesn’t matter.
I have compared myself, my husband, my child, against others. I even have watched popular court room television shows and thought how happy I was that I wasn’t that person. I was so wrong to do that. Maybe I thought it could motivate me or my family, but usually it ended up upsetting rather than motivating. Other examples are how we look at people’s social media accounts and usually see the good, not the bad. We look at: what people drive, where they live, how their kids do in school compared to our own, and what clothes others wear. It is exhausting. Blame this behavior on a failed human nature but it is wearing us down.
We do need to be motivated to be who God wanted us to be. It has to be by His standards, not of this world’s standards. The Bible gives plenty of direction, especially in the books of Psalms and Proverbs. I always pray Psalms 139:23-24, “Search me God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” It helps come back in alignment with what truly matters. I know I will fail at falling back into the comparison trap, but thankfully I can have God redeem my heart back to what truly matters, His will for me.
Lesson Learned: I know when I finally understand how much God loves me, it takes the pressure off to constantly compare.
“Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for the life you have given me. Search my heart and show me where I feel discontented or envy. Show me your ways Lord. Teach me what I need to carry our your will. When people may be have nicer things, more successful or better at something, let me be pleased and not envious. Remind me of all the times you have provided. In Jesus’ Name. AMEN!”