Tag Archives: Comparison

How was your bank holiday? Did you catch some sun? BBQ in the rain? Argue with your family in IKEA? (insert other British bank holiday stereotype here)?

I spent most of the weekend at Big Church Day Out, a two-day Christian music festival in Sussex. In amongst singing in the rain, singing in the sun. dancing in the rain (at one point I had to wring the excess rainwater out of my dress), dancing in the sun, eating hot doughnuts, observing some ridiculous sunburn (WHY DO YOU PEOPLE NOT WEAR ENOUGH SUNCREAM?! SKIN DAMAGE IS REAL Y’ALL), braving portaloos, being reminded of the wondrous and baffling diversity of those who follow Jesus, paying £2.30 for a cup of tea (48 HOURS LATER AND I’M STILL OUTRAGED BY THIS DAYLIGHT ROBBERY) and listening to some great music mostly about Jesus and such related themes I was reminded that:

  1. Success in the eyes of the world might not be success worth having. In fact what might be worth having may look like the exact opposite.
  2. Comparison is a waste of energy.

As ever, HRH Queen Beyonce helped me reach these conclusions.

One of the highlights of the festival was seeing Michelle ‘One Third of Destiny’s Child’ Williams. You know Michelle, right? The one that isn’t Beyonce or Kelly?

       Image result for destinys child

As we walked toward the stage for Michelle’s set I turned to my friend and asked “Do you think she ever looks at Beyonce and thinks, ‘That could have been me – I could have been Beyonce’?” We decided she probably did, “Poor Michelle,” we said, “She could have been Beyonce.”

45 minutes later and we’d been converted. I turned to my friend and asked “Do you think Beyonce ever looks at Michelle and thinks ‘That could have been me – I could have been Michelle’?” We decided she probably did “Poor Beyonce,” we said, “She could have been Michelle.”

In that 45 minutes, we realised we’d been looking at it all wrong.

We had looked at Beyonce’s world domination, we had looked at her millions of fans, we had looked at her gazillions of net worth, we had looked at her first name only recognition, we had looked at how love her or hate her you can’t deny that her career is a huge success.

And then we had looked at Michelle – sure, she achieved fame and fortune in Destiny’s Child but what since? Only her true fans know. She pops up every now and again in the shadow of Beyonce. Despite all the things Michelle has achieved it seems to pale in comparison to Beyonce. And so, we had decided that Michelle was less successful.

But during Michelle’s set we realised one crucial thing – Michelle is actually pretty good at her job too. She sang songs of hope, joy and victory. She shared her own struggles of dealing with comparison and not feeling like enough. She jumped off the stage, over the barrier and danced with the crowd:

We danced and sang and rejoiced.

And by the end of the set we realised we had fallen into the deadly trap of comparing one to another and judging one as better and another as lesser and then the reverse.

We realised that perhaps the success of the world didn’t count for as much as we thought.

So if you're in that place - feeling more Michelle than Beyonce. Just remember: comparison will always lie and tell you you're not good enough. Only you can run your race, no-one can do it better than you.  And at the end of the day, Beyonce could have been Michelle.

People often ask me how I'm doing now that I'm exiled in Zone 6.

I tell them "it’s ok, I’m ok." And I am.

But I am also scared.

I am scared that before I know it I will slip into a living coma of a comfortable & complacent suburban life.

I am scared that I’ll begin to confuse the lines between want and need.

I am scared that I won't even notice when I begin to think that neighbours parking outside the wrong house is a crime punishable by getting lost in IKEA for an eternity.

I am scared that I’ll have a 9-5 office job that I don’t really like but am too afraid to leave – because without that I wouldn't know who I was?

I am scared that living in anything but a house with a garden will become unimaginable.

I am scared that I'll start reading the Daily Mail.

I am scared that as I get lulled into a false sense of security my dreams will start to shrink, as will my reliance on the God I love and try to serve.

I am scared that Waitrose will become the norm not a luxury.

I am scared of a life of  No Adventure

I am scared I will get Stuck.

I am scared that one day Jesus will put me in a group with my fellow goats – Matthew 25 y’all, I don’t actually think I’ll turn into a goat, bah!

I am scared that I’ll become a goat and not even care.

I am scared that one day I will realise how comfortable I have become and be too afraid to change it.

I am scared that I will no longer believe that Jesus is enough.

I am scared that I will trivialise the concerns and worries of my fellow suburbanites.

I am scared that I will blame the suburbs for my own laziness.

I am scared that I don't really understand the meaning of perfect love casting out fear (1 John 4 v18).

I am scared that I over dramatise everything.

BUT I do know that God is with me always, even until the end of the age (not infact a LOTR quote but Matthew 28 v 20). So really what is there to be scared of?

What about you, are you scared of anything?

For the last couple of years I have found beauty in the grime of the inner city – the constant buzz, the collision of life when you have so many people sharing the same space, the juxtapositions of decay and renewal on every corner.

Life in the suburbs is different – it sings a different song.

On Sunday evening I saw a shooting star (or an alien aircraft on fire). It shot across the night sky, with its tail of gold, red and bronze trailing behind it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so sparkly or that sang of joyful freedom so gladly.

Last night the moon was so bright that I seeing by moonlight actually seemed plausible – rendering many an adventure story possible.

I get up so early that I can see the watch the sky transform from a formless darkness to a canvas of orange, purple, blue and pink clouds as the sun heralds in a new day.

There is beauty in the suburbs.

There is also more sky.

Comparison is a deadly thing.

And it’s becoming a problem.

A lot of my friends are entering into their third year of post-university employment. They’re climbing up the career ladder, becoming more confident in what they do/realising that this isn’t the career for them, getting more experience and getting paid more.

They don’t think twice about going to visit friends at the weekend (train fare + dinner out + night out + extras). Quite a few are living at home and not having to pay exorbitant rent (rent + bills + council tax). They seem to be going on exotic holidays every five minutes (air fare + hotels + food + transport + extras). They’re saving enough to be able to buy their own place in a few years (I don’t even know what this entails because it’s so far from my reality). They don’t spend time staring at the figures on their budget spreadsheet willingly them to somehow re-arrange themselves so that there's more left after the standard outgoings. They don’t have to make the lame but painfully true excuse of “ I'm sorry but I really can’t afford it.” They don’t have to swallow their pride and accept other people paying for them.

Comparison is a deadly thing.

I might sound bitter but I do not begrudge my friends their lifestyles. They made choices that have put them where they are today. As have I. 

I am about to start my first full-time salaried job. Praise Jesus! I am super excited about the job and super excited to actually be earning proper money (as is my Dad). But without carefully sticking to budget it won't work.

Sometimes I feel like Rachel, Joey and Phoebe in that episode of Friends where they try to explain to the others that they can’t afford all the expensive dinners and birthday celebrations. And I get that same blank look with a slight hint of disbelief. 

And on the days when I see what I don't have I struggle to remember that money is not the foundation of security. 

I struggle to remember that life is not about having a ‘good’ job, nice house and a couple of nice holidays a year.

I struggle to remember that in comparison to the 82% of the world who don’t have a bank account I am materially rich. In comparison to the families in Tower Hamlets struggling to provide enough food for their families I am materially rich.

I struggle to remember that the treasure of this earth can be destroyed but the treasure of heaven is eternal.

And I struggle to remember that I serve Jehovah Jireh - the God who sees, the God who provides and the God who will provide.

Comparison is a deadly thing.

Her phone is newer than mine. His hair is better than mine. She has a bigger house than me. He had a more expensive holiday than me. They have a nicer family than me. She's smarter than me. She has more money then me. He has better friends than me. His job is better then mine. Her car is nicer than mine. Their life is better than mine.

Comparison is a deadly thing. It steals peace, joy, contentment and life. It is based on the lie that if you had all those things you would be happier. 

I am thankful that through my struggles Jehovah Jireh, the God who sees, is with me. 

I am thankful that the God who sees reminds me that my worth is not based on my bank balance, savings account or perceived success of this world. 

I am thankful that the God who provides reminds of His provision over the last 12 months. 

I am thankful that Jehovah Jireh  reminds me that I should place my trust in Him, the God who sees all, the God who provides all, and the God who will provide.