The Thief of Our Joy

Posted on Posted in Faith, Life

Lately, I’ve been thinking of taking up running again. Before we moved to this new town I was an avid runner. My mornings would entail at least 4 miles and then a work out. However, moving here caused a change in my routine ending my running sprees. The other morning, I observed as my neighbor stood at her front door tying her shoes. Thoughts inundated my mind, “Wow, she looks good for her age”, “I bet she has a lot of time on her hands to work out”, “If I had no kids I would work out all day too”. There I was comparing myself to the neighbor. Why do we do that?

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy”. Surely, that morning as I watched her from my bay window my joy was exchanged for a moment just thinking I would like to be like her. Free to run, free to have the time to work out, free to have the mornings to myself. I love the way the Holy Spirit interjects when we commit our thoughts to Him. Lately, I’ve been practicing this thing where every time I feel some sort of insecurity that causes fear or comparison creeping in, I recite this phrase, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18a), and because I love Him and He loves me there is nothing for me to fear.

Like I mentioned, I used to be a devote runner, so I know first-hand that it takes commitment, dedication and determination to run. So, regardless of the obstacles I know she has chosen to be committed, dedicated, and determined to her exercise plan. What I might not know is that she might have a physical condition which led her to become a runner. That she might be recovering from an eating disorder, and after extensive therapy she has now learned to be healthy again. That she might be running to clear her mind of fears being experienced because of an upcoming divorce. Therefore, I cannot nor, should I compare my run to hers nor should I expect the same results as her. Sister don’t let your joy be robbed by the lies of comparison.

Steve Furtick says, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” We see glimpses of someone else’s life and assume it’s perfect. However, what we don’t know is the cost of that happiness. What has her marriage overcome to now be happily committed to each other? What has she had to endure to be dedicated to her children? What disorder has she had to conquer? So, you see, sweet Sister, we don’t know what her run has looked like. The next time comparison tries to creep in your thoughts remind yourself, I don’t’ know where her run has led her.

What I do know for sure is that, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18a) and because I love Him, and He loves me there is nothing for me to fear.

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