No sooner did we arrive home that I began to see some friends' pictures of their vacations at the beach. My excitement and joy from my own short trip quickly deflated. Why did I let that happen? Because I allowed the nasty Comparison Bug to crawl into my heart and mind.
If you are like me, it is so easy to compare your family to someone else's. If we allow ourselves, anything can be used to make these toxic comparisons. Vacations, activities, sports, academics, houses, cars, etc. I could go on and on and so could you.
This "bug" sucks the joy right out of you. As Jennie Allen says in her book Restless, "Comparison robs us of the joy of obedience." I just want to shorten it: comparison robs us of joy. It takes your eyes off of your own blessings and focuses them on the lives of others. When we stop counting our own blessings, our joy ceases to flow.
The Comparison Bug also nibbles at your sense of purpose. We examine how other families spend their time and money, and we decide that our decisions about these things are inferior. They must be living out their purposes better than we are. Since God made each person on earth to be unique, doesn't it make sense that each family is unique? Each individual has a special, one of a kind purpose that is fully designed by the God of the universe. That goes for each family too. God designed each family unit to be a team that works to bring Him glory in their own unique ways.
I love how Paul encourages us in Romans 12. I especially love the Message's translation of verses one and two.
"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life--your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life--and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you and quickly respond to it."We all want our families to thrive, to experience life to the fullest. This verse is the encouragement I need to keep pursuing it. Keep my attention on God and recognize what He wants from me and my family only. Allow God to change my thinking (I need this in every area of life!). Stop trying to compete with others who seem to have it together (no one does). God created families for support and enjoyment, so let's focus on that and enjoy each other. Keep your fly swatter ready and beat back that nasty Comparison Bug!
I've linked up this week at #livefreeThursday! and at FellowshipFriday