On Comparison Being The Thief of Joy

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, Maria. Earthquakes. Tornadoes. Nuclear powers threatening each other like kids on a playground. Jesus needs to take the wheels

I wrote that intro two months ago in September. And things are probably worse now. Let me re-write one for this season:

A revolution against sexual assault in all of America (yay!). Prevalent gun violence. And a tax bill that threatens to ruin scientific pursuit as we know it. YES, if Jesus doesn't take the wheels, we are doomed ha. May God help us!

Okay so moving on. I want to write about comparison. I have had this draft for a while, but this week, and in different capacities, it was something that kept coming up. That phrase 'comparison is the thief of joy' is NOT a lie. It is incredibly true. I feel like the world is currently set up for us to compete. It starts from childhood: parents compare their kids to other kids. Some of us went to schools that literally pit us against each other by giving us positions at the end of each academic term—1st , 2nd, 3rd etc. When you are doing exceptionally well, like I was in primary school, it feeds your ego. However, when you step off that high horse and proceed to a secondary school like mine, and you have to compete with the best people, it crushes your ego and self esteem. I think that position thing is incredibly stupid, by the way.  Social media is structured for comparison too. It is probably the hallmark. Don't even get me started on social media as a tool for comparison.

So yes, we are set up to compete and compare ourselves to others. It's really toxic. Sometime ago, there was a story out of Lagos, of this primary school child that poisoned his/her classmate because the classmate consistently came first, while the perpetrator consistently followed behind as second. They were like in primary four or something ridiculous. And she/he regularly poisoned him for months or so, till the victim fell ill. That is brutal.

See, there are two possible outcomes from comparing yourself to someone else. First, you probably realize you fall short in the comparison, when you find them better than you are. You then become enveloped with envy, jealousy, and bitterness. Your self-esteem suffers because you start feeling incredibly insecure. The next thing is you're stressing yourself because you chose to compare yourself with someone on a different journey than you. This kind of stress can not only spur you into hatred, it can make you make irrational decisions that harm you in the long run. The final straw on the camel's back that convinced me to make this comparison post public, was listening to a message by TD Jakes tonight. The title literally had nothing to do with comparison, so when  I heard him mention comparison, I was like whoa. Yup, this is NOT a coincidence. He said you will never have peace if you keep comparing yourself to others. Instead deal with the cards God gave YOU or you'll be perpetually miserable.

A second outcome is pride. Perhaps you actually are better than that person. But so what? Pride is intoxicating as hell. And it comes right before a fall, and it is just as, if not more foolish. The Bible has lots of warnings against pride and boasting. It feeds your ego unnecessarily; it breeds self-conceit and self-righteousness. The Bible warns STERNLY against comparison. Don't even compare your spirituality: as in, "I'm a better Christian than lagbaja". No. And some of you don't say it outrightly, you imply it. You boast of your spirituality or how you can pray the devil back to hell; how you spend one million hours in His presence; how you are able to discern His voice. Okay, it makes you feel better about yourself for a little while, but what happens after? Misery.  See, God understands that he gave differently to different people.

So you see neither outcome benefits you.

Not to mention, comparison just pushes you. It pushes you so much, you find yourself basically living your life for others; doing things for the wrong reasons.

"It is better to be a great sergeant, than to be a poor general." -TD Jakes

Don't go about doing something you are average at because it feeds your ego, thereby neglecting what you are excellent at because I gats be better than lagbaja. Don't kill yourself. Respect your lane. So I am making a conscious decision to really, really face my lane; to not compare myself to other people. You should too.



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