Comparison Kills Joy

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife… or anything that belongs to your neighbor.   Exodus 20:17

1.4.18 with word overlayChristmas, and the days following, were magical in my house. All our visiting and traveling took place before the twenty-fifth. So, as the snow fell on Christmas morning, there was nowhere to go, and no have-to’s on the list. Alleluia!!!

For days, we stayed in pajamas, lounged around, watched movies, read books, and played games. Like I said, it was magical.

But all good things come to an end. When we finally ventured out, and reconnected with the world, comparison crept in.

Despite my kids being completely happy with their Christmas presents before, hearing what their friends got had them wishing they’d put different items on their wish lists. Despite me laboring over our Advent and Christmas plans, and feeling like I’d finally gotten my priorities straight, hearing how other people spent theirs had me wishing I’d done things differently. What’s that about?

It’s about comparison killing joy. Unfortunately, it’s the human condition to want to keep up with the Jones, have what the Smiths have, and be who the Millers are. That’s what led Adam and Eve to take a bite of the apple, and, consequently, fall from grace.

God knew we needed help in this department. His answer was to give us not one, but two commandments about it. Don’t want the spouse your neighbor has; don’t want any of the things your neighbor has. When we do, we’re not honoring what we have; and we’re not being grateful for it.

Happiness comes from things, and is temporary. Joy comes from the recognition of, and deep gratitude for, all the ways we have been blessed.

I once heard it said that if we think the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, we haven’t been watering our own lawn. Gratitude is both water and fertilizer. It not only keeps the grass alive, but it helps it flourish. Without it, things get scorched by the intense rays of comparison and jealousy.

It’s time for us to reclaim our joy. My kids got wonderful presents, and our break was filled with lots of quality time together. We need to remind ourselves of that, and give heartfelt thanks for it. Doing so will rejuvenate the grass on our side of the fence, making it green and lush.

Questions For Reflection:

     * Do I fall victim to the comparison game?

     * What happens when I do?

     * What can I do to water the grass in my own yard?

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6 thoughts on “Comparison Kills Joy

    • LOVE this comment, Jean! I just have a great visual of you counting your blessings. Without a doubt, your three beautiful children are among them. 🙂 Happy New Year!

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  1. Recognizing, enjoying, and being grateful for the blessings we have is a powerful antidote for envy!! How about you post this every month?!? We DO need the reminder! xo

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    • Agreed, Mom! I need the CONSTANT reminder to be grateful. I even have a Gratitude Journal where I’m supposed to note at least one thing per day that I’m grateful for. Now if I could just remember to do it… 🙂

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  2. I can relate to this. I was struggling with what I had purchased for one of my kids because I knew other kids in the family were going to get the new “big” technology toy out there this year and although my daughter had it on her list, there were other things she wanted that I felt were more important. I just didn’t want her to be disappointed. I struggled with the decision, but went with my gut and decided to be practical and focus on an “experience” and learning gift instead of the “gadget”…..and I prayed hard. haha. I said, “God, please, PLEASE let {my daughter} be thrilled and not focus on what other kids get”….and it all went perfectly. It’s so hard to teach our children these important lessons when their surrounded by society’s view of “Christmas”, money, gifts, etc. And I may not be popular with my kids sometimes, but I pray later in life they’ll appreciate it. Thanks, Claire, for always writing what we all need at the time! xoxo, Sandra

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    • Wow, Sandra, your comment of “I may not be popular with my kids sometimes” really hit home for me. It seems that with a tweener and teenager, I’m becoming more unpopular by the minute. But I am trying to stay strong so they hopefully will benefit down the road. Seems this motherhood thing gets more challenging by the day, doesn’t it?

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