After seeing my friend Mel’s cute picture of tapas on Facebook with the caption, “Date night!”, I was a little jealous. Emma was very newly born, and tapas seemed sooo date night: you know, dim lighting, ultra chic people, fancy heals, Sangria or Spanish wine. Tapas.
So when I saw her at church, I asked, “How were the tapas?” (First thing out of my mouth.)
She laughed and said, “Good… It’s funny how Facebook makes everything seem great. You saw my pic and thought, ‘Tapas!’, but really they were good but overpriced.”
Then she proceeded to tell me about how they decided to go somewhere after dinner, and they ended up walking too far (and not enjoying it), etc.
And there I was coveting that date. Because of Facebook.
What you see of others on Facebook only gives you a hint about them.
Even those who are pretty open on Facebook, whether you like it or not, are not revealing everything about themselves.
Yes, part of it is that we all want to be perceived a certain way: maybe wise or funny or athletic or political or perfect. And so we post things that fall in line with our Facebook agenda.
But the other part is this: Comparing yourself or your situation to someone else’s is unbiblical and unproductive. Many people say “Comparison is the thief of all joy,” and I absolutely agree with that.
You cannot compare yourself to others and also be satisfied in Christ.
God has a unique will for each of our lives, and that will may include being rich. Or poor. Being healthy. Or chronically ill. Being married. Or single. Having children. Or not.
And His will for us is intended to bring glory to Himself – not to make you happy or comfortable.
We don’t get to choose, but we do get to give God the glory for our existence and all that we have.
Not only is comparing ourselves to others absolutely against God’s design, but it’s quite useless because:
1) What we see of others is only a shadow of who they are. You don’t know their deepest fears and regrets. You don’t see the aching of their soul. Only God has that knowledge and in fact is in control of those things, and that’s why He is their comforter.
2) You are not them. (Your spouse is not their spouse, your friend is not their friend, etc.) Even if you did have “that certain something” that you see in them – whether it’s a possession or countenance or externals – you would not have it like they have it. Your soul is different from theirs. Things react differently for you than for them.
3) Comparing wastes a lot of time, energy, and heart that you should be using on the life and ministry that God gave you.
God has a purpose for your life. He designed you perfectly for it.
With whom or with what do you need to cast off comparison? How can you use that time and energy to respect your husband, nurture relationships, share the gospel, and love a hurting friend? What do you need to give up to kick comparison out (Facebook? Work statistics? Your children’s accomplishments?)
Write it down. Tell the one you’re closest to. Pray about it. Thank God that He made you you and put you right where you are.