Comparison is the thief of all joy… or is it?

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I’ll confess that I’m a total numbers nerd – I absolutely love digging in to analytical data to try and work out what it’s saying – so in lots of ways, having access to analytics data for my YouTube channel is both a blessing and a curse.

On one hand, I can get data on what sort of audiences are watching my videos and what those people like (and don’t like) about my videos.

I can see whether there is any consistency when they click away from my videos and I can make improvements to the way that I do things to try and improve things for you, my viewers.

But the other side of the analytics coin is that I can spend way too much time focused on how many people are watching my videos, or how many people are NOT watching my videos.

And where that has the potential to become problematic is when I start comparing my stats to the stats of other people.

It’s totally a human thing to do – to compare ourselves with other people and the results that other people are getting – particularly when we think those people are similar to us in some way.

Are they trying to lose weight and they lose more than we did?

Are they having some amazing holiday on a tropical island while we’re stuck at home?

Are they out and about at a cafe while we’re at home in lockdown?

You may know that about a month ago, I took part in an online workshop for kingdom messengers who wanted to launch a podcast.

Now that it’s been four weeks since many of the people who took part in the workshops launched their new channels, there are a few posts starting to show up with some of the results people have achieved.

In particular, there was one guy who has just ticked over 200 subscribers on his channel who was asking for feedback about how to get more people watching his videos.

Given that right now, my own channel has 43 subscribers – it would be really easy for me to go ‘oh, look at that, he’s got 5 times more subscribers than I have in the same period of time, so I must be doing something wrong over here on my own channel – and then spend a heap of time trying to work out what he’s doing differently to me so that I can implement some of those things over here on my channel.

Frankly, it wouldn’t matter if I only had 2 subscribers and he had 100 times more subscribers than I did – there’s not really any point me comparing myself with anyone else like that.

The main reason why me comparing myself with this guy is pointless, is that we are both running totally different races and we are both focused on entirely different audiences.

Even though we have both launched YouTube channels, God is going to use both of those channels in two entirely different ways, to reach totally different groups of people with two totally different messages.

Comparing ourselves to other people is a major distraction from our own work, and it’s a distraction that can lead to a whole heap of problems that we really don’t want – like envy, jealousy and discontentment.

At the extreme end, if I allowed my comparisons to convince me to quit – to get me to stop making videos because I assumed that I was no good at it, then I would never achieve any growth, and I’d never properly step into the calling that God has given me.

You might be familiar with the expression that ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ – but it might surprise you that this isn’t an expression found in the bible – it’s a quote attributed to Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States.

That being said, the bible does warn about comparing ourselves with others in terms of it being a distraction.

Galatians 6:4-5 reminds us to pay careful attention to your own work, for then we will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and we won’t need to compare ourselves to anyone else.

As kingdom people, we are each responsible for our own conduct – so taking our eyes off our own work to look at what other people are doing isn’t particularly helpful.

2 Corinthians 10:12 speaks of the ridiculousness of comparing themselves with each other, and using themselves as the standard of measurement.

In the end that won’t count for much, because God has individually and uniquely gifted each of us – making us incomparable with one another.

There are also plenty of byproducts of comparison that are covered in the bible – things that comparing ourselves to others leads to – like jealousy, envy, and discontentment.

If you’ve been comparing yourself, your life, or the results of what you’ve been working on with other people – and feel like you’re somehow ‘less than’ or ‘defeated’ or ‘not good enough’ I want to remind you that in the end, as kingdom people we shouldn’t be doing anything seeking the praise of humans – the only one whose opinion counts about your work, your results and your motivation is God.

Don’t get so busy looking sideways at what other people are up to that you lose track of what’s actually important – and that is your obedience to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and your walk in accordance with your unique and individual personal calling.

Until next time, blue skies!

P.S If you found this idea interesting or useful, save it for later by pinning it to your Christian Encouragement board on Pinterest.

P.P.S. If you have a friend who might benefit from this message, make sure you take the time right now to share this with them!

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