Comparison is the Thief of Joy

comparison1There I was, at the gym, pumping iron, and feeling good.  I was lifting more weight than I had ever lifted before in my life! And then it happened.  I looked over, saw some skinny dude racking up the weight on his bar, and lift more weight and pound out more reps than what I could do.  All of a sudden, I didn’t feel so good about myself anymore.

This morning, I was swimming laps and feeling great that I could do 150 yards without stopping when I get lapped by some grandma swimming next to me.  All of a sudden, I didn’t feel so good about myself anymore.

So far this year, I’ve lost 33 pounds and 4 inches off my waist.  It has taken a TON of hard work and dedication and sheer willpower.  I feel better about myself and I feel a lot healthier.  Then, I hear that a friend lost 75 pounds in 3 months this summer.  All of a sudden, I don’t feel so good about myself anymore.

Theodore Roosevelt said that Comparison is the thief of Joy.  I could not agree more.  It is so easy to get discouraged when you look at the blessings in others’ lives and when you compare your “progress” to what they have been able to accomplish.

I think that for those of us who are pastors, it may be even worse than some other professions.  We feel great that our church has grown by 15% this year…until we hear about a friend’s church that has grown by 150%.

The truth is, we are all on different journeys.  God has a plan and a story for each one of us.  Let’s choose to not compare where we are on the journey with others who have a different path to walk. God wants to transform us more into the likeness of Jesus.  Let’s fix our eyes on Christ, cheer each other on, and choose to not compare ourselves to others.

Rob Bell Continues to Sadden Me

Rob-BellI am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man. -Rob Bell

I used to be a huge Rob Bell fan.  In fact, he was my “pastor from a distance” for a while.  A few years ago, I was working at a church and not feeling very spiritually fed on Sundays, so I would listen to one or two Rob Bell messages each week.  It was great.  I really enjoy his style.  And I feel like I was challenged and grew spiritually.

When his first book, Velvet Elvis, came out- I LOVED it.  I still think it’s a great book.  Over time though, it seemed like Bell was pushing the boundaries of Christian Orthodoxy.  Finally, when his book Love Wins came out- I knew that I could no longer be a fan. Read More