Five Ways Comparisons Hurt You

@carol_mcclain

“Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding” 2 Cor. 10:12.

My husband and I go to craft show (for me, mostly to recoup some of the money I dump into my glasswork). A few weekends ago, I had a phenomenal show.

We set up in Townsend, TN. My stock had dwindled from our last show, and I had little to sell. By God’s grace, I nearly sold out, and thus, I made a killing. (“Killing” is a loosely, defined word.) For me, Townsend proved to be the most profitable show.

I preened as we packed up. As we all know, pride goes before a fall (Pr. 16:18). I discovered how pitifully I did when I compared myself to my husband. He’s a fantastic guitar builder, and he sold fourteen cigar-box guitars! Talk about making a killing.

But …

Suddenly I felt like a failure. I made less than half of what he made. I spent as much time as he working, and my paltry take, my 11 books sold, my glasswork admired and bought, but he beat me.

This weekend we’re heading to a three-day show. I heard here, it’s not uncommon to make thousands of dollars. We won’t. We don’t have the supplies, but others will.

Are we failures?

Absolutely not!

I hadn’t failed in making less than my husband. Pride shouldn’t take the place of gratitude. God does not define us by our talent or our looks or our intellect. Only one thing matters: our character.

What do comparisons do?

  1. Make us feel worthless. No matter how good we are, someone is always better.
  2. We focus on other people’s lives, and we forget the gift of our life.
  3. We lose joy because we focus on our flaws or our material lacking.
  4. We feel we don’t have the right to grieve because others have it worse.
  5. We will always fall short.

We need to remember, we are fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who loved us so much he died for us (Ps 139:14, John 3:16).

If we believe we’ve failed, what are we saying about those with disabilities? Those with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, cognitive impairment. Are aging parents worthless? A blind newborn? A single mother living in a trailer park?

The answer?

NO.

Mozart had an insane musical gift. If he never wrote a concerto, then he would’ve failed. He tested his own work. He can boast in what he, himself, did. He worked hard, and the world now delights.

“But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor” Gal. 6:4.

Work with what you have. Remember what’s most important in life:

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8.

A New York Yankee on Stinking Creek

In my book A New York Yankee on Stinking Creek, Kiara knows she’s better than her
neighbor. Delia Mae is certain she’s more holy and righteous than that atheist who moved in across the road.

 

The ladies were two sides of a black and white cookie. Comparisons hurt.

1 Comment

  1. Carol, you gave us a marvelous reminder about the damages comparison makes in our lives, both the giver (sometimes actually shows a lack of self-confidence) and the receiver who feels like a failure or ugly or “less than” in many other ways. I like the way this blog connects with your book “A New York Yankee on Stinking Creek.”

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