Over the past couple of days, the song from THAT advert has been literally stuck in my head. It has been incredibly irritating and I have tried nearly everything to get it out- worship music, radio, nursery rhymes- and nothing could get rid of it. Kudos to the guys who made it up- they knew what they were doing!
But today as I was once again at my kitchen sink washing the dishes (God speaks to me an unusual amount here)- I felt God start to show me the cost of the message of this song.
We live in a culture that is constantly inviting us to go compare. If you are buying a car, never mind the joy in the fact that you can actually afford one- you are encouraged to look on comparison sites to check out how its features compare with another before you make your choice. And we can compare so much nowadays that before long, our entire lives will be marked by comparison- and that’s where it gets dangerous.
While there is nothing wrong with trying to get the best deal, there is something deeply disturbing about living a life of comparison. Comparison breeds discontent- if we are constantly invited to go compare, we will never, ever, be satisfied. There will always be a part of us that leaves us wondering whether we shouldn’t have held on THAT little bit longer for a better deal, better holiday, better spouse…and from that vantage point, joy is ultimately impossible.
In the past I have struggled with comparison- and in the present- yes, even now, I have found it hard at times, especially as a writer (first time i’ve publicly called myself that)- not to compare my writing style to others- or even my style, period.
As a woman, I often wonder how my clothes compare with others, or my hairstyle or my shoes..the list goes on. As a mum, how my children’s behaviour compares to others or how their progress or academic performance is, in comparison to their peers. Or as a Christian, how my life measures up against all the other amazing people i see around me. The thing is, whenever I have allowed myself to dwell in the valley of comparison- whenever I have gone shopping for more, because my trolley doesn’t seem as attractive- I have never come back happier; I have always felt emptier and unhappy about life. And that is the opposite of God’s plan.
I have noticed that whenever the need to compare comes in, it is most always, for me, rooted in fear. Fear that whatever aspect of life I feel the need to measure simply doesn’t measure up.
But that is simply not the truth. The truth is God has a plan for you as He does for me. And it is good, and exciting, but most importantly, it is unique. Comparison whispers the lie that the plan that He has for others is better- in fact the plan that He has for me is just as good and it is tailor. In a world that is inviting us to go compare, I feel instead that the antidote is gratitude. Because there is always someone wishing that they had what you had, comparing their lives to yours.
So instead of going off to compare, what can you be grateful for today?