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The Comparison Trap

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Has this ever happened to you? You know something is wrong with your life, and you need to change it. Then you hear someone else’s story of suffering and you think, “What do I have to complain about? I’m just a wimp! Look what that person is dealing with, it is so much worse than my life. I should just suck it up!”

This happened to my husband and me recently. We needed to make a change in our family situation that we were agonizing over. We knew what we really wanted/needed to do would be painful for one of our kids. We wanted to keep helping this adult child, but this helping was making our lives miserable. When we thought about the change, we felt like bad parents. Nevertheless, we had just about made the decision to make this difficult life change when one Sunday in church we heard the testimony of a man who had cancer, and wasn’t sure if he would live. We left church second-guessing ourselves. How could we be so upset about our situation when this person’s life was so much worse?

Listening to this man’s suffering set us back a couple of weeks. While we compared our lives to his, we had no peace. We almost abandoned our plan to make this difficult change. Then we realized we were still miserable. No matter that our situation was so much “less” than his, we decided to go ahead with the change anyway.

So, if this happens to you, what should you do?

What the other person is bravely facing has no bearing on your situation. You still have the same problem you had before you heard their story. So, eventually you will have to make some hard choices, either to set boundaries with someone, or make some other change in your life. Usually these are hard, painful changes. Setting boundaries is painful and requires courage. Making any other kind of major change can also be uncomfortable. I know some people thrive on change, but most of us (including me), like things to stay the same. Change seems chaotic to us.

But . . . you still have the same problem. It isn’t going to go away!

Don’t compare yourself and your situation to someone else’s. Yes, they may have it worse, but you are in charge of your life, not theirs. Tweet This

So, take a big breath, pray for wisdom, then go ahead and act. If you are being walked on by someone, set a boundary with their behavior. Check out this link. If you need some other kind of change, get creative, think outside the box, and make that change!

You won’t be alone. James 1:5 says:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Question: Has this ever happened to you? What did you do?

I pray you will feel God’s presence as you make difficult changes in your life.

Blessings friends! Caroline

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