Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
– Galatians 5:26
Last week, spring finally sprung in Colorado, with lush green grass in the fields, pink blossoms on the trees, and yellow flowers on the ground. The sun dried up the hiking trails and it was shorts and t-shirt weather again. Thank you God!
When I came home after hiking, I caught my reflection in a sun-lit window. Wow, these pasty white legs haven’t seen the sun in at least six months. No wonder they look like they’ve been slathered in sunscreen. And they sure look bigger than I remember… Then it hit me. It’s almost bathing suit weather!
Remembering I needed a new one, my mind leapt to my friend Jenny. She orders a bunch of different bathing suits online and tries them on in the comfort of her own bathroom. She keeps the ones that flatter her figure and sends the rest back. If it works for her, I thought, I should try it. But then again, Jenny’s younger, fitter, and way cuter than me. I could order 25 suits and find that not a single one flatters me. Oh crap!
Comparing Jenny’s figure to mine caused my mood to plummet to a place I’d been many times before. I remembered being there years ago in a hotel gym.
Jogging side by side on treadmills, I compared my stride and strength with the woman next to me, and came up short. I was horrified at how much my body jiggled, while she ran like a thoroughbred. Comparison shifted to competition, and I cranked my speed way up. As sweat poured into my eyes, it blurred my vision, caused me to trip, and catapulted me off the back of the treadmill. When my whole body smacked hard against the wall behind me, it was the Wake Up Call I needed…
Comparison is a dangerous trap to be avoided at all times.
When was the last time you found yourself comparing your body, career, family, or circumstances to someone else’s? Did comparison build you up, or were you deflated?
The Message version of the Bible gives greater detail to Galatians 5:26 which warns us not to be jealous of one another. It encourages us to… live by the Spirit in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.
Yes, because the Holy Spirit dwells in us, we feel God’s hand upon our lives: counseling, guiding, prompting, convicting, and pointing us in the direction God wants us to go. He has a unique plan for you because you’re His masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for you to do (Ephesians 2:10).
Here’s the Wake Up Call - What God calls you to do is different than what he calls me to do. So comparison certainly is a waste of time.
If I’d asked the woman on the treadmill next to me why she was running so fast, I would have discovered she was training for a half-marathon. It was her “speed-training day.” I wasn’t signed up for a half-marathon. I just needed to exercise to reduce stress. When I tried to run her race, I stumbled and fell… hard.
Comparison always puts our feet on the wrong path.
Isn’t it funny that many of our faith lessons come with bruises to remind us?
Here’s this week’s 3 O’Clock Circle.
It’s super simple. Ask someone or a few people to join you to do 3 things.
1. Read this 3 O’Clock Wake Up Call blog or listen to it on the podcast. (… and you’ve just about finished this part)
2. Set a time to talk about it.
3. Discuss the 3 questions below.
Some people are meeting in a coffee shop or at the pool, others are talking on the phone or walking and talking along a trail. It’s totally up to you. If you’d like to start a 3 O’Clock Circle, please email me at email@example.com and I’ll send you some encouraging tips.
3 O’Clock Circle - Two or more together sharing real life and relevant faith.
1. Can you think of a time when comparison trapped you in negativity? Talk about a time when comparison put your feet on the wrong path.
2. Why do you think God calls us to see ourselves uniquely and stop comparing?
3. What is one thing you can do this week to stop comparing and start celebrating our uniqueness?
Be honest, encourage one another, and have fun!
Thank you for being a part of The 3 O’Clock Wake Up Movement
Everyone – Every Nation – Every Day Thanking God at 3:00pm