The 26th president of the United States Theodore Roosevelt once said “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I used to have this on my wall, above my make up draws when I lived at home.
There is a lot of truth in this short quote. I’m sure, like me, you struggle with the constant battle not to compare yourself to others. To what they do, what they wear and what they look like. All the research tells us that comparing ourselves with others leads to higher rates of depression, anxiety and low self esteem. For our own mental health there is good reason we should aim to not compare ourselves. But, there is a bigger deeper reason we aren’t to compare ourselves to others.
In the bible, in Galatians 1:10 Paul says: “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
Our issue of comparison is much deeper then our mental health and self esteem. Our constant comparison of ourselves to others is a heart issue. In fact, even worse, it’s a sin issue. It’s our desperate desire to serve people over Christ. And, we know the consequences of this. How tragic it is.
And so, while comparison can sap our joy, it can more importantly sap our focus in putting Christ first. My prayer is that Christ may remain the centre of my life. That I may compare myself to him rather then fallen, broken people.