Giving up for Lent: Comparison

The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd has created a list of the forty things to give up for Lent. It is an interesting and provocative list. Each day I am attempting to reflect on the challenge for the day. Today’s is “comparision.” Oh my! How does one not compare? I don’t know about you, but I compare all kinds of things: different brands in the grocery store, what I want to eat for a meal, what I want to watch on television. I compare calories, exercise, and prices.

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And then we talk about comparing “apples to oranges.” Some of what I compare, what we compare doesn’t work at all. Yet, we all do it. We compare our favorite college sports teams or high school teams, our favorite actor or actress or movie director or author or retailer. In cheering our favorite teams it is always about being the best! And then, we compare ourselves to others.

How hard it is when we begin the comparison game. There is always someone smarter, richer, stronger, more talented, more handsome, more beautiful, and on and on. Sometimes the comparison goes the other way and we see how we are “better” than someone else. Mostly, though, the comparison game strikes at our sense of self worth and can move us toward greed, bitterness and resentment.

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Comparison truly is the thief of joy. When I am looking at others and what they have and who they are I miss what I have and what I am. In more than one letter Paul writes that there are “many gifts, one Spirit.” One gift is not better than the other, they are all necessary to the functioning of the community of faith. I could say the same thing about a family, an organization or a business. Playing the comparison game steals energy, time, joy and often love.

Our lives are a gift and it is a good lenten gift to give up comparisons. These words I found from livelifehappy.com are a perfect way to take on this lenten challenge.

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I will not compare today and be grateful that I am graced to serve.

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