November 7 2016
Growing up in Texas, my dad built a house for us to live in. I was thrilled because all I had ever lived in before were apartments, and this meant I could run and play without concern of bothering the apartment community.
My brother and I loved to be on the property right around sundown because that was when we could chase the ever-illusive fireflies. Each armed with mason jars with holes poked in the lid, we would see who could catch the most. We’d then drop to the ground, hold the jars up in our hands and stare at the little electric bugs as they fluttered about.
One evening at sundown, we were chasing after the fireflies when I tripped and fell into a big roll of rebar. One of the long rusty pieces used to reinforce concrete cut me very close to my left eye. Quickly, my parents rushed me to the ER. After receiving stitches, the doctor told us that had the cut been any closer, I would have lost my vision completely in that eye. Imagine that… I almost lost my vision chasing after fireflies.
I’m 50 now, and as I thought about you, I remembered this childhood incident. For a long time as an adult and as a pastor’s wife, I still found myself chasing after that illusive bug that glows and goes. I am talking about chasing after “the life” of significance, acceptance, and success. It seemed to me that other women had a jar full, while mine was close to empty.
Dr. James Dobson once said, “Comparison is the root of all feelings of inferiority. The moment you begin examining other people’s strengths against your most obvious weaknesses, your self-esteem starts to crumble!”
I have to be honest, if I want to feel down and lose my “glow,” all I have to do is check out Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. We are inundated with pictures others want us to see of their life of perfection. Perfect children, perfect homes, perfect vacations, perfect smiles…
Like the evasive firefly that shines for a moment, we chase after “likes” and “follows” from people we don’t even know. But like fireflies, the superficial acceptance of social media only flickers for a moment and then it’s gone. I will tell you now, you will never add up to someone else’s social media image in your real life. That’s a no-win situation. As someone said, “You’re comparing your daily life to their highlight reel.”
Mark Twain said, “Comparison is the death of joy.” Just like my childhood story, I have risked losing sight of what really matters by chasing after fireflies of being in, being accepted, and being liked.
If you’re there and all you can see is what you should be, could be, and are not, I urge you to let yourself off the hook and move on.
God created you just as He wanted you to be. He equipped you with everything you needed for this life. Even at this very moment, while fully knowing your shortcomings, He rejoices over who you are and everything you accomplish, big or small.
In Zephaniah 3:17, God says, “I will take great delight in you… and rejoice over you with singing.” How’s that for a “like?”
Here are three simple steps to rid your life of comparison.
- Ask God to renew your mind every day.
- Read scriptures that talk about who God is and who you are in Him.
- Take a social media break!
Do these three things and you’ll be amazed at the peace and quiet you will have in your heart and mind. When that happens, watch out, world!
Shannon Alder said, “Personality begins where comparison leaves off. Be unique. Be memorable. Be confident. Be proud.
My point in all of this is, as you go about life chasing after “others,” make sure you don’t lose sight of the vision God has for YOU.
November 7 2016