“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
I thought it was a Proverb when the phrase first jumped into my mind a few months ago. I had spent the previous night knee-deep in discouragement after finding out through Instagram that another somebody was pregnant. Younger than me, healthier than me, with two working ovaries. One of those “they felt like it and it happened” things.
(Social media is a brat isn’t it?)
Anyway, I was staring glossy-eyed into some corner of my cubicle when that phrase flashed in my mind.
Comparison is the thief of joy.
Come to find out, it’s not a Bible verse—Roosevelt said it. But it felt like a small revelation, so I prayed about it, slid my discouragement across the table, and God helped me dispose of it. For the next few months my peace held and I smiled at all the baby pictures on all the apps and trusted our time would come.
As I’ve said before, surrender is not a one-time gig. It’s a residency—a reoccurring event you have to show up to time and time again. As many times as is necessary until it’s ingrained in your spirit.
Comparison landed another punch last night.
I couldn’t tell you exactly what triggered it, but suddenly those little baby bumps all over my Instagram feed weren’t cute anymore. They were stark reminders of my fear and my still-persisting pain. I left the Fourth of July BBQ quiet, got home quiet, and went to bed quiet.
At 2:41am, a pain spike woke me up and it didn’t let me sleep again until sometime after three.
When my alarm chimed a few hours later, Trev prayed for me & helped me out of bed. More pain on top of the exhaustion from little sleep. And I kept picturing all the women I knew who were pregnant or snuggling newborns and let myself roll down that slippery slope.
At breakfast I told Trev how I was actually feeling. He responded with encouragement while I stared at the floor. He reminded me that God was working on something better than we could imagine—no matter what it looked like. One way or another we were going to be parents.
I drove to work zoning out to worship music, trying to wrench myself back into the mindset that God was fighting for us and would make these things good. I knew the comparison game had to slam to a stop & I knew that started with another round of letting things go.
We’re broken humans. And part of that manifests in our tendency to measure ourselves up to others. It happens. I think we find strange comfort in trying to click our wheels into someone else’s track. It gives us an odd sense of direction when the road in front of us is fogged over. But the problem with that is when our lives don’t pan out like those around us, we freak out.
And while we’re busy freaking out and drowning in discouragement over some stupid social media post (which probably isn’t a fantastic reflection of reality anyway), we’re seriously missing out. We’re closing our eyes to the real things in our lives. The good stuff.
- I’m still in pain frequently. But I’m not alone in it anymore.
- I’m afraid we’re never going to get pregnant. But God’s creativity doesn’t end with infertility.
- My job has nothing to do with my passion. But God keeps giving me opportunities to write.
- I’m really insecure about my relentless acne. But my husband tells me I’m beautiful.
- I’m nowhere near where I thought I’d be at this point in my life. But that’s the best part.
Earlier I dubbed social media a “brat.” I think it can be a really cool thing, but it also has the ability to morph into serious fuel for our insecurities if we let it. So I’m going to hang back for a week or two. To be honest, I’m not in a place where I can handle it at the moment. And that’s okay.
There are truths and promises I need to get my hands on again. And the more time I waste wishing reality looked a little different, the longer I delay the good things ahead.
Me and my family have a plot line entirely our own. One constructed creatively and specifically for us. One better than we could hope or imagine. And so do you.
Here’s to the staggering beauty of the unexpected.