Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Comparison Game

I'm laughing really hard right now. It's either laugh really hard or cry really hard and I'm choosing to laugh.
I received a couple of messages commenting on how perfect my life seems. How obedient my kids are. How organized and clean my home is. How creative I am.

Clearly these people have not spent time with me, visited my home, or interacted with my children because their perceptions would involve a total 180 if they did.
None of these things are entirely true. Partially true, but not entirely true. My blinds and baseboards would never pass the white glove test. Timeouts and spankings happen regularly. And I'm really good at copy-catting ideas from other people who genuinely are creative.

Like I said, it's laugh or cry.
It's interesting the images we conjure based on the few things we observe. We add details. We make decisions. We react. We play the Comparison Game.
I will be the first to stand up and let you know that the Comparison Game never works in your favor. It never helps in the long run. And it never makes you feel better about yourself or your circumstances.

I know from past experiences.
The Comparison Game deceives you, manipulates you, binds you, and frustrates you. It tells you your home is small or ugly or disorganized. It tells you your clothes are disheveled, your hair so totally the 90's, and your body is, well, not the shape you know it could be.
The Comparison Game shows you how whiny and selfish your kids are and how unromantic and unhelpful your husband is. It reminds you that your family is dysfunctional, that your church has issues, and that your bank account struggles.
The prize for winning the Comparison Game? Fatigue. Hurt. Depression. Anger. Discontentment.

Who's in? Anyone? I didn't think so. But how come so many of us still play?
I've learned, in my vast and extensive 33 years, that the Comparison Game is really me refusing contentment and telling God I know what's best and what I need.
Because ultimately, when I compare myself or my things or my situation with others, I undermine what God has divinely purposed for me and tell him I'm not grateful for his infinite wisdom.
I know, I know. It's hard, really hard, not to compare sometimes. Throw emotions into the mix and it's even harder.

I promise, though, that the Contentment Game is so much more rewarding. You enjoy satisfaction in the things God has given you and maximize the purposes he's set before you. On top of that, you sleep better, laugh quicker, and relax easier.
It's our choice what to play.

The Comparison Game - Your chance to undermine God and refuse contentment; or the Contentment Game -  Your chance to thank God and relish blessing.
What are you choosing?


  1. Aw, sweet answer above!
    I do try to choose the Contentment Game, but I've found I have to keep choosing it over & over & over again (kind of the way my kids choose to play Candy Land...)
    And seriously, imperfect though they may be, you do have REALLY cute kids! Love that pic of Annalyse pondering the space age firetruck(?), SO cute!

  2. This is something I think we all struggle with and I know I am one of them. I have been working hard in the last year or so to really step back and see all that God has blessed me with instead of the things I think I need to make me happy. Thanks Sarah for the insight! It is wonderful to feel the Joy of the Lord when we focus on him instead of other things!