I spent the first few years of my childhood in a small town. We were by no means well off, and we always seemed to have just enough to get by. So rarely was there room in our budget for extras … like the black and white saddle shoes I wanted one year.
My dad was the high school football coach, which meant I spent a lot of Friday nights with my mom and brother in the bleachers. The game itself was anything but thrilling to me. But I didn’t mind going because it meant I was able to watch the cheerleaders. That was exciting!
I would watch and dream of the day I too would get out there in a pleated skirt with pom-poms and make the crowd roar with enthusiasm for our team. The cheerleaders must have known how much I looked up to them because they invited me and my best friend to come cheer with them for one of the last games.
Our elementary schoolgirl excitement was out of control!
High school cheerleaders?! YES!
We practiced in the backyard every chance we could get leading up to the game. And one afternoon, we even put on our uniforms.
But my zeal for this opportunity quickly faded as I looked down at my friend’s feet. She had a pair of brand-new, shiny, black and white saddle shoes!
My thoughts screamed with envy: What? Where did she get those? I need a pair too!
I went to my mom and pleaded for the shoes — but our bank account didn’t match my begging, so no matter what I said, it didn’t matter.
And so began the sowing of the seed of comparison in my life.
This seed reaps nothing but weeds of jealousy, envy and discontent into our lives. I wish I could tell you that was the only time I’ve struggled with the seed of comparison, but it’s not.
Today’s generation seems to be filled with more opportunities to compare ourselves with each other than ever before. We are constantly bombarded with social media feeds that tempt us to compare. Reality TV show us everything BUT reality. And advertisers tease us with promises that their products will provide perfection.
But here’s the deal … I LOVE today’s key verse, because it’s helping me find a rhythm in my soul with this comparison thing.
“Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else” (Galatians 6:4).
The reality is, comparison can compromise the individual calling and beautiful life God has given each of us.
If we spend more time looking at what others are doing or have, we could miss what we have and are supposed to do. Staying focused on what good things are happening in and through us will help keep this inner battle of comparison at bay.
Before that big football game, my mom actually found a pair of black and white saddle shoes I could borrow. No, they weren’t shiny brand-new ones like my friend had; in fact, they were pretty scuffed up and a little tight on my feet! But I was thrilled. I took so much pride in those shoes and I loved them.
Our culture will always try to tempt us with comparison, but God never does. He wants us to love our life just as much as He does. Even if the shoes are scuffed and tight … God helps us love where we are, not where we wish we could be.
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!