Compared With...

We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. 2 Corinthians 10:12

Glamour and Vogue speak loudly. So do the Emmy’s, the Grammy’s, and whoever votes for People’s Sexiest Man Alive. We scroll through endless channels hearing messages such as: “I used to be ugly, boring, and fat like you, but then I discovered Wonder Machine/pill/activity/toilet bowl cleaner! Now look how happy I am!”  We don’t realize how much we’ve internalized those messages until we analyze our self-talk. It sounds something like this: “Look at their new car/RV/house/kid. Sure beats my car/house/plants/spouse.” Or: “Why aren’t I gorgeous/rich/educated like that person?” And after scrolling through 50 Instagram selfies of our friend’s Tahiti highlights, our Branson vacation looks pretty lame. Comparison destroys contentment.

However, the flip-side of comparison is self-promotion. Our culture has elevated bragging to an art form. We have enough sense to cloak it in pretend humility, but in an effort to convince ourselves that we’re worthy of being admired, we post things like: “Humbled that my art/song/talent/looks beat out hundreds of other contestants to win this great prize! #greattobeawinner. We don’t mention that the competition was in kindergarten. When we compare our real lives to the highlights of others, we take our eyes off Jesus. We compete with them instead of loving them. Since we become like those we study, comparing our lives with Jesus keeps us humble and content. When we’re keeping up with the Kardashians, we stop keeping up with Jesus. 
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