Disarming Comparison

I had a crazy commute today – it was dark, rainy, and SO slow. I spent a full extra half an hour in my car, which made me late and frustrated and it could easily have felt like so much time was wasted, BUT I’m trying to make the most of my commute time to set the tone for my day.  So, I’m choosing to mentally reframe my very dark, dreary and long commute, and I’m instead considering it “bonus quiet time.” (I know, driving isn’t Sabbath… rush hour traffic, definitely NOT Sabbath! But check out my post on setting the tone on my commute here!)

Today, the bonus time in my car afforded me the opportunity to listen to a full “Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey” podcast. She was interviewing JJ Heller. They had a great discussion covering lots of themes. They talked about JJs music and career, they talked about comparisons, wrestling with and overcoming anxiety and depression and redefining your success metrics (which was very significant for me). It was a great episode – I highly recommend you listen to it and will add a link at the bottom of this post.

Near the beginning of their conversation, there was a brilliant little nugget that I want to intentionally stop and pause and think about. They were talking about our tendency to make comparisons between ourselves and new people we meet, or people we connect with on social media etc. Often, those thoughts are self-critical – our judgements and assessments are often directed internally and can do a number on our own self-identity, confidence and value, which is then reflected in how we live out our relationships.

JJ Heller said something that I think may re-define how I approach all future relationships, and encounters or interactions with people in general. She suggested instead of making assessments, comparisons or judgements about ourselves or others, that we ask ourselves two questions: What can I learn from this person? And, how can I bless this person?

Now, you might argue that this is off topic in a blog about seeking Sabbath, but I would argue that it really isn’t. One of the biggest threats to my search for Sabbath is my tendency toward striving. My tendency towards striving is fed deeply by my propensity toward comparison and always feeling like I come up just a little bit short, a little below standard.

If I can disarm comparison in my life and my relationships, I will move closer to successfully defeating my striving habit, which will move me ahead in my search for Sabbath and my willingness and readiness to rest in Christ.

How can I learn from you? How can I bless you?

That’s going to be what the voice inside my head is asking when we next connect. Listen to the full podcast here.

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4 thoughts on “Disarming Comparison

  1. I was struggling with comparison today and this post is a heaven sent! Thank you for sharing. Definitely gonna start asking those questions instead of comparing. Another thing I’ve learned, I think it was from Beth Moore’s book about insecurity, is to imagine that the person you are comparing yourself to is struggling with the same things you are facing (example, worry, fear, insecurity) and start praying for them. It can change your perspective as well. 😉

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  2. I also struggle with comparing myself to others. I love the idea of asking myself, “what can I learn from this person?” in those times as well as reflecting on my OWN gifts and how I may bless their lives. I love this quote about comparison, by St. Therese:

    “Jesus has been gracious enough to teach me a lesson about the mystery of the differences in souls, simply by holding up to my eyes, the book of nature. I understood how all the flowers God created are beautiful- how the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not take away from the perfume of the violet or the simplicity of the daisy. I understood that if all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the fields would no longer be decked out with little wildflower.

    And so it is in the world of souls… Jesus’ garden. He willed to create great souls comparable to lilies and roses, but he created small ones as well… and theses must be content to be daisies or violets destined to give joy to God’s glances, when he looks down at His feet. Perfection consists in doing God’s will… in being what He would have us be.”

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