Tuesday, November 8, 2011

the curse of comparison

She is thinner. He is more handsome. Their children are better behaved. That church has cooler music. He is a better teacher. She sings more beautifully.

Comparison abounds in us. We seek to outdo - or, at best, match-up - with those around us. Every cell phone company promises unlimited this and unlimited that. Every big box store promises the lowest prices. And our own desire for greatness and affirmation press us to compare ourselves, endlessly, to those around us.

While it isn't wrong to want our broken parts to be more like the good in others - the good that races after Jesus - the bulk of comparison just really stinks.

My comparison? Community. This is going to sound silly to some, but... I compare our community here at the Malcomb House with others who, in my mind, are living it bigger and better. They have bigger potlucks, and know the kids on their block better, and grow better gardens, and "do community" better.

But somewhere in this thinking the line can become blurred, where comparison strives to become competition (a contest for some prize, honor, or advantage. dictionary.com) and threatens the very meaning of community. What prize could we be competing for? We run in the same direction, for the same prize, set before us in Jesus, more than enough for all of us.

This is no prize to be won by only one, the best. This is the prize we can only win by going along with others, by winning it together.

1 comment:

Laura said...

Love this, Abbye. It's so true. Sometimes I feel like comparison is so ingrained in me that I don't even realize I'm doing it until I get depressed that I don't measure up.
The joy of realizing we are all on the same journey of being sanctified is what reigns me in..just wish I could get to that point before comparing.