Are you familiar with the passage in Matthew 14 where Peter walks on the water? When he kept his focus on Jesus, he stayed above the water, but when he lost focus, he sank. Matthew 14:31 says, “Jesus immediately reached out His hand and took hold of him, saying to him, ‘oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?'”
This passage has come to my mind more times than I can count throughout my life when I’ve questioned God or let fear steal my focus. However, it’s not been until recently that I’ve been reminded of this passage in another light. The light of comparison.
Chances are, if you’re active on any form of social media (although I’d say instagram and facebook are the ones that affect me most, personally), you’ve experienced the dangerous trap of comparison. It’s an easy trap to fall into, especially if you’re in a season of life that is challenging.
Some days as I scroll through my news feeds, it seems like everyone (except for me) is living some kind of dream life. I scroll past pictures of perfect lattes in real mugs at cute little cafes where someone’s having brunch… while I sit behind my desk at work. I scroll past pictures of plane tickets, because someone’s husband just surprised them with a trip to somewhere exotic and beautiful (and no doubt, already had their bags packed for them) while Grayson and I are just sitting on the couch. I scroll past pictures of dreamy quiet times (and how pathetic of a thing to be envious of is that? but trust me, it’s possible) complete with hot tea, a cozy reading nook, a well-loved highlighted and note-scribbled Bible laid out before them, and a journal filled with thoughts (that took time I don’t have to write). I go past the beautiful, Pottery Barn inspired houses that I’ll probably never be able to afford, the girls in those size 2 dresses that I’ll probably never fit into, and those marriages that seem literally too good to be true. And what does all of that do?
It makes me feel like I’m not good enough. Like my life is not good enough. Like where God has me right now isn’t good enough. And you know what that is? It’s a lie. It’s poison. It’s a trap from the one who wants me to sink.
When I focus on all the things I don’t have, or the things I don’t get to do, or the places I don’t get to go… it does nothing but take my focus off of Jesus – the Giver of all good things, the Provider, the Faithful One – and I start to sink into that pit of comparison just like Peter.
Being reminded of this passage teaches me several different things:
1 | Don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap of comparison. Nothing steals your joy quicker.
2 | Remember that things aren’t always as they seem. Everyone has their struggles, so falling into the trap of thinking someone else has some kind of perfect life is just a lie sent by the evil one to distract you from your own blessings.
3 | Be conscious of the fact that other people may be feeling this exact same way because of you. This makes me want to be as authentic and real as possible, because I would never want to cause someone to fall into the trap of comparison. Also, just knowing you aren’t alone in this can be a huge comfort.
4 | It’s easy to look at pictures of things like I’ve mentioned above and think that just because someone else is experiencing success, you’re a failure. Nothing could be further from the truth! We all go through different seasons, different times of trials and triumph. Hold your head high and know that God has you in the season of life you’re in right now for a reason, and through Him and Him alone, you’ll be filled with joy (Psalm 16:11).
5 | Lastly, it’s just amazing to me how this Bible story from years and years ago is still applicable to us today. Just like Peter, we struggle with losing our focus. Just like Peter, we need to reach out and take hold of the only One who can save us. He’s a good, good Father.
The illustration above is not my own artwork, but was found on pinterest.