The kids these days are always talking about “the tea” or gossip that they can get or share with (and about) other people. They are continually blowing me away with how quickly they can go from one friend to the next, always complaining about being stressed and that friends are fake, etc. As I listen to them share about what is happening, all I can see is the fingerprints of comparison and control all over their lives.
I really need comparison and control to stop serving their tea; it’s nasty.
Quite frankly, many of the things making these kids stressed are problems that just take discipline to overcome, and I am deep in the throws of understanding that kind of discipline for myself. So, if you’ve got a decent sized mug of your favorite drink on hand, I’d like to spill this tea and move on. Shall we?
Comparison is the ultimate evil in the realm of friendships, and honestly, just life in general. It roots itself in jealousy, which leads to bitterness and resentment, neither of which are life-giving. It is so interesting how one person’s life win can feel like a loss for you when you should be rejoicing with them. A dear friend has recently been picking up side jobs that are cultivating creative things that I love to do. One in particular is something I actually used to do with her and I found it hard to not be a little put off by the fact that she was turning something I volunteered to help her with into a business.
I sound horrible, don’t I? Honestly, it is horrible; envy is like that.
Simple as this friends, victories in the lives of our friends are our cue to celebrate. The Lord has blessed them, so why would we not be happy?! We all know that each other’s lives aren’t happy all of the time, so victories are victories, no matter how small. My friend had been struggling to find her passion again and she was branching out to try different things to cultivate it after breaking through fear. That is a reason to through my hands in the air and celebrate with her, not be envious of her!
The comparison comes quietly though, that tiny voice in the back of your mind that says you should have that too, or you should have gotten it first. If we aren’t aware, comparison will breed control.
The devil wants you to see your friend’s victories as your losses, because we are all supposed to be getting to somewhere, right? You won’t be complete, you won’t be enough (comparison) if you don’t get there first (control). There is something better and you have to find it. Oh, and if you get tired trying to chase one thing that is better, and something new comes along, abandon your initial efforts and chase the new thing instead.
The dynamic duo, at it again.
Something that has recently hit me over the head as I’m learning to break down the lies of comparison and control is that our race in the faith is literally OUR RACE. Our life is OUR OWN. God gave it to us because only we are equipped to run it, and friends, we are not in control of anything but our own ‘yes’ and ‘no’, and which one we choose to put on the table in front of God. The only ‘yes’ we seem to want to put on the table though is the one for a big thing (whatever that is) that we feel emotionally pulled to when we are at a big church event or life deals us an unexpected hand. It seems like surrender, but it’s still just control.
I have lived this way for a while, and am slowly recognizing how deadly this lifestyle is. It tells us that only big life moments are worthy of prayer and attention, but if that were the case, then Paul telling us to pray about everything (a God-inspired command in writing, mind you) would be unnecessary.
“Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
A dear friend of mine recently encouraged me to pray about the little things while we were talking on the phone. “It is as simple as asking God, ‘Hey do you think it would be okay for me to get this glass of wine?’ and Him responding, ‘No go for the americano instead.’ And sometimes when you least expect it, that choice leads to God sending a little light your way and some woman bringing you over a really nice glass of wine you wouldn’t have been able to get for free!”
Now my friend clarified that the point isn’t to always expect a free glass of wine in return for listening to the Lord, but that the idea is to continually invite Him into the finite moments of your finite life. Continually leaning into the Lord with each moment of your life brings a sweet freedom when you do come to the bigger things where the desperation for His help is overwhelming. Trust in the little things sets ablaze the lies of comparing yourself to others and trying to control how well you do in the world.
Comparison and control go hand in hand. My want of someone else’s something leads me to put a tighter rein on what I do have or people’s perception of me. It leads to unneeded stress that I created myself. In the name of Jesus, we cannot walk around in this constant state of comparison. We cannot walk around white-knuckling tiny details that are insignificant in the grander scheme of things. We must learn to release what we think we want in favor of presently living with Jesus and what He has deemed necessary for us. Who knows if you have something in your possession right now that no one else you know would be able to wield in the way Jesus has seen necessary to further the Kingdom?
Stress is real, but it is not a burden you have to carry alone. Comparison and control are best friends, but they do not have to rule your life. You don’t have to abandon all control and become a lazy bum because “control is an illusion.” We must become aware of what God has given us to steward and control that in a way that honors Him. In this case, the stewardship of our life is to live in a way that leaves ultimatums in His hands, knowing that they are well taken care of.
That’s the tea friends. Considered it spilled right at the foot of the Cross and cleaned up in Jesus’ name. Let’s walk in the presence of God today, fully known and loved, covered by grace, and presented with an opportunity to shift the tides of society and to bring something new to the table.
And can we bring coffee? I’ve always been more of a coffee girl.
In the thick of it,