3 Ways to Find Joy When Comparison Steals It

How can we work to keep our joy safe from comparison and jealousy?

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Comparison, jealousy, and compromise can keep us from feeling the many reasons for joy we have in our lives. Here are three ways we can hold tight to our joy amidst the currents of comparison that try to take it from us.

There’s a common quote that’s floated around the internet from Theodore Roosevelt, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” So much truth. But how exactly does comparison steal your joy? So often comparison will convince us to chase the many things we can when we don’t have the one thing we want.

A thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.

John 10:10

To be honest, the one thing I crave more of in my life right now is more authentic relationships. Relationships where people don’t want a “connection” or a “friend-favor.” But just to do life together. Authentically. And without cause. 

This past year I’ve gone through many major life changes … I lost my mom to cancer, we changed churches, I came off a staff position and I’m getting ready to send my first kid to college. 

And it’s felt like a huge part of my world has gotten flipped upside down. The people I used to see on a regular basis, I don’t.  I’m navigating through waters that feel rocky. And I’ve found that my joy has felt far away. 

But these are the places comparison slips in and reminds me of how much I’ve lost, how much I don’t have and what I should be miserable about.  Because,  I scroll through social media and see our old friends moving on without us. Or I hear of something that happened at  my old  job that I missed out on. Or I think about how becoming a mom at the age of 19 has made me feel less than prepared to send a kid to college in a few months. And I always thought my mom would be here for all this and she’s not.

Comparison has this way of numbing us. Making us feel like we should just settle and stop trying to move forward. But God has immense things for all of us.

Nicki Koziarz

So joy feels far because comparison convinces me what all this should look like at this point in my life. And it looks nothing like it did in my head. But sometimes we make our plans and sometimes we surrender to our plans because this isn’t living life well or to the fullest as Jesus promised. 

So how do we flip the comparison-joy-compromise switch?

Honesty

I think we need to be honest with our struggles. It’s OK to say, “I’m just not OK today.” But it’s not OK to  never  not be OK. Change can begin when we get honest enough to do something about our God-struggles. 

God-honesty invites us into a process of refusing to let comparison compromise our souls anymore. 

It’s not like it seems to be but it doesn’t have to be like it seems to be either. At any  point  we have the power to say, “Because of Jesus, my story can change today.” 

Gratitude

We need to find gratitude daily, not just the 30 days before Thanksgiving. 

When our circumstances experience so much change, it’s easy to settle and pout. But God didn’t create us to live that way. He actually created us to praise Him.

... everyone who bears my name and is created for my glory. I have formed them; indeed, I have made them.

Isaiah 43:7

Just writing those words breathed life into my soul. Because I have so much to be grateful for. And even though comparison would love to remind me how much feels lost, God’s compassion reminds me how much I still have. 

Risk Taking 

Comparison  has this way of numbing us. Making us feel like we should just settle and stop trying to move forward. But God has immense things for all of us. 

And sometimes it feels risky … and it is. And it should be. But what if the greatest plans God has for you and I are just on the next page of our story. But it’s up to us to turn the page. 

"For I know the plans I have for you" — this is the Lord's declaration — "plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future of hope."

Jeremiah 29:11

I took a risk this week and invited a new friend over. And I took another risk last week as I invited someone to partner with me for a new adventure. And I’m taking a risk today in sharing these words with you.

Comparison will always try to steal your joy. And maybe it has. That’s OK. But it doesn’t have to stay this way. Do something today that makes your soul well again because that’s where joy begins again.


Read more about comparison and joy in Nicki's new study, Rachel and Leah.

Through 6 sessions, arm yourself with biblical truths to combat comparison by studying the account of Rachel and Leah. Learn to be content without becoming complacent, and discover godly wisdom to quiet the incessant Why her?  question in your head. Develop greater awareness of your insecurities, and learn to stop the lies in their tracks. Because the truth will set you free, and free women don’t have to measure up to anyone. Not even her.

Nicki Koziarz

Nicki Koziarz is a wife and mom to three girls plus a handful of barnyard babies. They live just outside of Charlotte, N.C. She is an inspirational author, Bible teacher, and speaker with Proverbs 31 Ministries. Nicki leads from her own brokenness that somehow God is making meaningful. You can find more from Nicki at www.nickikoziarz.com.