Comparison is the thief of joy. It robs us of our gratitude because we’re either too busy being envious of something we don’t have, or being prideful that what we do have is better than so-and-so’s. Remember the term “Keeping up with the Jones'”? (Do people still use that phrase?) You could see it as an endearing way of striving for “better” so that we don’t become content with “not good enough”. However, everyone’s “better” looks different. If you ask a group of people what success means to them, I bet it will be a different definition to each person.
I remember when I first moved to Los Angeles from Hawaii, and I thought “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I made it all the way here. I can’t believe I’m already working as an actress just weeks after I changed my address.” I felt pretty great about myself until the auditions started wearing on me. When you’re sitting in the waiting room eager for your name to be called, sometimes other actors in the room will start chit-chatting about their career or what they’ve been up to lately.
At this particular audition, I was jazzed about coming in for a Lowe’s commercial and thought “I must be doing something right to be in the room with all of these other great performers”. I was paired with a young Asian actor, and he noticed a similar looking Asian actor coming out of the audition room. (If you go to an audition, be prepared to see all of your doppelgängers there.) He talked about how that guy’s career was on fire, and how he wished he was as successful as the other guy because he had “only booked a handful of commercials that year”.
My jaw dropped. Here I was being grateful for an opportunity to maybe possibly get my first national commercial (I didn’t, by the way), and he was upset that he hadn’t booked as many as the fellow across the room. To put it in perspective, it’s possible to make tens of thousands of dollars from just ONE commercial. I think I would have been happy putting those paychecks in the bank if I were him.
I learned a great lesson that day. It was realistic for me to become the same way if and when I started getting higher paying projects if I was always comparing my career to someone who’s done more than me. How would I ever walk a life of thankfulness if that were the case? The bible is very clear about comparison, and essentially keeping your eyes on your own business.
But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. (Galatians 6:4)
I don’t think many of us understand that what we meditate on has a physical affect on our bodies. How many times have you been stressed out or sick because you thought you were failing at life? You didn’t have the job, the relationship, the house, or the car you thought you deserved or worked so hard for. It seems to come so easily to everyone else, but God may have a plan to build your character or strengthen your faith so that you learn to give Him all the credit when those goals do come into fruition.
A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones. (Proverbs 14:30)
Are you really willing to do what it takes to get what you think you want? I’ve had friends tell me they were jealous of my career, marriage, relationship with my family, or the fact that I’m a mommy. After telling them the trials I’ve been through to get there, or the work it took to have what I do, some were determined to put in the same amount of effort and some weren’t. If you’re diligent, I promise the desires of your heart will be realized. It’s God’s aim to take care of you.
The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. (Psalm 23:1)
This is a lesson I’ve had to be reminded of time and time again because I am made of flesh and blood just like everyone else. I can assure you that I’ve only found peace when I knew I was right with God, and that He has a plan to work everything out for my benefit. I am no longer quick to envy another man’s blessing because only God knows the true cost of it.
Kytia L’amour is a writer, performer, and photographer spreading God’s love in all art forms. Reaching out to young women and sharing her story is what keeps her heart beating for Christ.
Kytia lives in sunny Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.