Comparison is the thief of joy

If there is one thing that waiting has taught me about myself, it’s that I can get easily distracted. At times my mind is like that of a little puppy; a thought pops into my head and instantly, I’m chasing it down the rabbit hole, only to snag on another thought and start chasing that instead. So many thoughts and ideas and memories flicker through my mind at any given moment, and I find myself bouncing around mentally trying to capture each one.

And if there is one thing that perpetuates this, it’s social media. In this season of waiting, I have realised that social media not only distracts me, it creates feelings of insecurity within me. It creates anxiety. It makes my season of waiting harder because it breeds comparison. As I scroll through the various feeds, all I would see was how great everyone else’s life was. How happy everyone looked. It’s like when you want to buy a car. When you finally decide on the car and colour that you want, you see it everywhere! As I sit in my season of waiting for my dream of marriage and a family to come true, every time I went on social media, all I seem to see is people getting married or having children.

All I would see on social media was what I didn’t have, and it made my heart ache. Not from envy, because I truly am happy for people when they get their dreams and their happy ever after’s. But my heart ached from longing. Comparison is the thief of joy, and social media was triggering an attitude of comparison; it was a constant reminder of what I so desperately wanted, yet everyone else seemed to have. I stopped seeing all the good things I have in my life. I stopped seeing the countless blessings God has poured out on me. All I could see was what I still didn’t have, and it made me sad and hurt and angry at God for holding out on me.

What I was seeing online was making me lose sight of what I did have; family and friends that loved me, a roof over my head, a job and enough money to eat and live, my health. But most importantly, it made me lose sight of God and His goodness. Instead of resting in the arms of my Saviour, I was turning my back on Him because it felt like he was holding out on me while blessing everyone else. I realised that I was starting to harden my heart towards God. And that realisation, more than any other, scared me. It showed me that my distraction was placing me on shaky ground because a hardened heart doesn’t express love and joy and peace and forgiveness. No, a hardened heart breeds bitterness and anger and forgiveness.

Life flows from the heart (Proverbs 4:23) and what’s in our heart is reflected in our words and actions. What we feed our mind impacts our heart, and I really needed to get my head and my heart right again, which meant removing myself from social media. I deactivated accounts or I removed apps from my phone. I disconnected from social media (in as best as I could because I use it for this blog, too) and it was the best thing for my weary heart. It helped me re-calibrate and focus on what was important. And it helped me get my joy back.

By removing myself from social media, I came to see that I was spending way too much looking out, instead of looking in. by deactivating and removing myself from social media, I was able to sit and spend time with God. Instead of scrolling, I would read a devotional, or scripture. When my heart felt sad at the waiting, I would pray instead of looking at what everyone else had. My heart and soul started to feel joy again and I found myself praying for others instead of comparing myself to them.

I’m sure nothing I have shared is revolutionary. It may even seem extreme, or it may make me sound weak. And that’s okay, because getting my head and heart right was, and still is, crucial to my well-being. But maybe that’s where you are, too. Maybe, in your waiting, you find yourself comparing yourself to others around you. You see what you don’t have, and you feel that you are lacking, or that God is holding out on you. If that is you, can I encourage you to look around and see what’s causing you to compare yourself. Maybe it is social media, or a certain group of friends. It could be any number of things but whatever it is, ask yourself if it’s drawing you closer to God or if it’s turning you away from him and making you question his love for you. In every season, but most especially seasons of waiting, we need to keep our face and hearts postured towards God. We need to rest in the arms of Jesus and let him bring healing and wholeness. We need to seek the One that made us and loves us and that has good things for us.

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