Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Comparisons

It seems to me that comparison to others has become the new yardstick for "self worth". I put that in quotations because, I'm not convinced that our worth comes from within ourselves. But that is another talk for another day. Today we want to address the topic of comparing ourselves to others. Now there are two obvious problems with doing this.

1. You can always find someone better than you if you want to make yourself feel small. There are those who like to live in a continuous pity party, because of real or perceived inadequacies in their lives.
2. You can always find someone dumber, uglier, more out of shape, or less refined than you to make yourself feel big. Those who live in their own little ego trip find this mind game very useful to further their self delusions.

Whether you choose to compare yourself with someone 'bigger' or 'smaller' than you, who you choose to compare with tells you a lot about you.

We all have heard the term "compare apples with apples".  And that works pretty much only with objects. You can compare the price on two Ford F150 trucks on two different car dealer's lots. That's comparing apples to apples. People don't work like apples and automobiles. Every person is a unique blend of genetics, heritage, IQ, parenting, siblings, emotions, struggles, and victories. Even though someone is your age, in your social strata and has a lifestyle like yours does not make them your equivalent (your apple) for comparison. 

So, simply put, you can't compare yourself with another without revealing your motive in comparison. Who you choose to measure yourself against tells the story of why you are in the comparison game in the first place.

Well then; if it does me no good to compare myself to others, how then do I know if I have succeeded or failed? Let's think for a moment...
What is success? Again, another topic for another conversation. But simply put, success comes out of the intangibles of life like faithfulness, peace, contentment, and love. These things cannot be put upon the scale of comparison.

What do I measure myself against? Well, if I was going to measure a table, I would get a measuring tape. It has a standard of measurement that does not change. I can measure anything in the world with that tape and have a true picture of its dimensions. But if the standard of measurement is always changing (like other people) how do I know how I am truly doing? So, you realize now the need for a standard, a unit of measurement that does not change. 

May I submit to you that the only things that do not change in life are Jesus and the Bible? If Christ is our standard of measurement, we all fall short. But at least we know where we are. With Jesus as our measure we are no longer struggling with meeting the false expectations of a moving target. Also, by using Jesus as our measuring stick we avoid the inconsequentials of life like money, position, power, and prestiege. From Him we learn that those things do not make a success or a failure. From Jesus we learn to measure those things that last like love, kindness, obedience to our Heavenly Father, and charity toward others. If these are the things we measure and value, then comparison with others will become a childish game we once played in life's elementary school. 

Have a good day.

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