The Lord has really been working in my heart recently about comparison and how sometimes we have a tendency to compare where we are and what we are doing to where others are and what they are doing.
Or perhaps, do you ever look at others who are pretty or who you consider beautiful, and wish you were them?
Or do you ever look at where people are in life, and wish you had their life or could be doing what they are doing?
If I’m open and transparent with you, I’d have to confess that that happened to me recently.
Comparing ourselves to others
Just recently, I attended two back to back conferences. At one of the conferences, I was just an attendee. I’ve attended this conference for several years now, learning how to be a better digital evangelist. I love this conference and the women who put on the conference. They are beautiful inside and out, and I love their heart for God. But every year, I secretly wish I could be one of the speakers with them, sharing my heart as well.
As I was sitting there this year, as an attendee soaking in the atmosphere and gleaning from their wisdom, I realized that it was a year ago that I attended the same conference, again wishing I could be one of their speakers. The conference is beautiful and well executed, and as a participant, I have no idea how much time and effort they put into this endeavor to make it happen over the intervening year. All we see is their final “onstage performance.”
At the other conference I attended, I was one of the speakers. I have had people say to me that they wish they could be me. Well, at this conference, where I was one of the speakers, I kind of laughed at that sentiment and thought “I’ll bet they wouldn’t wish they were me now.”
I was speaking to a packed room of several hundred attendees and it was an honor to be there but things leading up to my time at the mic didn’t go smoothly. First of all, leading up to this opportunity, it took me twelve years of education to become a doctor and then 25 years of professional experience to gain the respect to be considered a credible expert.
But even just in the month or so leading up to the conference, I spent hours upon hours preparing my talk and the slides. Then on the day of my presentation, the hotel ran out of hot water so I had to take a cold shower that morning. Then the slides I spent days preparing didn’t make it up onto the screen. And then the podium where I was to stand was literally just a couple inches shorter than I was, with a stationary microphone. If I had stayed there, no one in the audience would have seen me, nor would I have seen them. So I had to figure out how to handle the situation, and had challenges to overcome as their speaker, that no one in the audience would have known about.
It’s easy to sometimes think we want to be other people, or want to be in their position, or want what they have, but if we knew the pain and the steps they had to take to get where they are, maybe we wouldn’t really want what they have if we had to go through it ourselves.
Comparison is the thief of joy
God constantly reminds me that comparison is the thief of joy. When we compare ourselves to other people and where they are and what they are doing, it robs us of the joy of where God has us now.
I want to encourage you that God has each of us where we are right now, for such a time as this.
Your current backstage experience is preparing you for your ultimate onstage presentation where God is leading you.
If we think of the story in the Bible about Joseph, Joseph’s time in prison was his backstage preparation for his ultimate onstage presentation as prime minister.
We all have a backstage experience that prepares us for our onstage presentation.
So often we look at people in all their beauty, but we don’t think about the time that it takes to prepare and the time it takes to get to that beautiful onstage presentation. We don’t think about their backstage that came before their onstage. We mistakenly compare our backstage existence with others’ onstage performance.
God has you where you are for such a time as this
Be careful not to despise small beginnings, and instead appreciate that God has you where you are right now for such a time as this. Appreciate your backstage now because it is preparation for your ultimate onstage destiny where God is leading you.
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Such a helpful illustration!! Thank you!
We Joseph all have our ” prisons “, and we Esthers, are ready for such a time as this.
A great perspective – we don’t know what it’s truly like to be in someone else’s shoes. I remember when I was a younger – a young mom said she prayed that her boys would be like my sons. I told her she should tweak her prayer to: I pray that my sons are like I think your sons are! Actually, my boys were great – but we never really know…
Ugh – I do struggle with this and am very thankful for these therapeutic words!
Oh this is SO true! I teach teenagers – and watching them compare and try to mold themselves into their friend’s image is painful – I work hard to help them value who they are in this moment, as well as learn and grow. Tough balance!
Michelle, such an excellent post! I want to mention this, that and the other but I’d be copying everything you wrote so will just say that these two statements stood out for me: God constantly reminds me that comparison is the thief of joy. When we compare ourselves to other people and where they are and what they are doing, it robs us of the joy of where God has us now.
Thank you for your illustration of this truth. I work hard at not comparing myself, my blog to anyone else’s as I know that is not healthy for me.
visiting from S&L.
Such great encouragement!
So sorry for all the issues you had to deal with before your presentation, but now you’re a pro to overcoming:)
The idea of hard things preparing us for the next stage of our journey is so comforting!
Visiting from #Salt&Light
I too have been at a conference and wished I was part of the group onstage and then when onstage wishing I was in the audience. Oh my, are we never content? Such a great reminder about comparison and how it is a thief of joy.
We need to remind ourselves that being content will bring joy. Comparison is a thief!
Comparison is a killer, isn’t it! I love the backstage-onstage analogy. Thanks for sharing.
Glad you enjoyed it Donna. Thanks for stopping by and reading today.
Thank you for reminder!
Thanks for stopping by!
Great post …love this quote.Comparison is the thief of Joy. Theodore Roosevelt . It’s such a waste because while we are comparing we are listening to ourselves or others instead of Him who loves us more then anyone and made us in His image. Glad I stopped by.
I’m so glad you stopped by too, Betty! Have a blessed, joy-filled day!