Joy Beyond Compare // John 16

...your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.
— John 16:22 NASB

You know the saying "comparison is the thief of joy?" Well, yeah. I agree with it. But here's the thing: I don't have to let comparison into my life. I choose to let it into my life.

No, I don't enjoy comparing myself to others; no, I don't enjoy falling short in areas of my life when I take a look at others' lives; no, I don't like feeling inadequate; and no, I don't like being jealous of others because they do life better than I do. I compare not because I want to, but because I let go of the control I should have over my own mind, and I let my mind "go there." I let my mind wander into the territory of comparison and jealousy even though I know better than to leave the gate unlocked. 

I've been trying to have more control over my thoughts.  [2 Corinthians 10:5]  It's probably something I'll need to work on forever, and while I'm on my death bed I'll even then be trying to reel my thoughts in, get them under control, and turn them over to Christ. Maybe I'll never be the master of my own mind. I think admitting that I'm weak makes me strong though, and I believe that going to God and acknowledging how much I struggle with comparison and jealousy and judgment loosens those chains a bit. 

The first step is honesty and admission, right? 

In reality, I'm not always a blubbering mess of green envy. In fact, most of the time I'm not that, but I choose to write about it here and address it here because I think it's an important truth to bring to light; I think it's better brought out into the open rather than swept under a rug. I know I'm not the only one who struggles with negative thoughts (whether or not they're centered around comparison/jealousy); I'm not the only one who struggles to hold my negative thoughts captive.

But the pain won't last forever.  [Psalm 30:5]

So let's all take a moment to admit and address our weaknesses, to accept them for what they are (weaknesses), and to just hand them over to Christ. He's the only one equipped to handle it all, anyway; we can't maintain our joyful spirits or hold our thoughts captive without His strength.

It's easy to let a rough morning, a hurtful word, upsetting news, or comparison "steal your joy," but I think it should be just as easy to realize that there are so many things that can bring joy back into our lives.

My joy hasn't been made full yet, but there are many, many things I am thankful for, and there are countless things in my life that bring me joy. What's bringing you joy today?

...your grief will be turned into joy.
— John 16:20 NASB
 
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