Dr. Randy Carlson
We understand intellectually that life isn’t fair, but our culture acts as though life should be fair. There’s been a convergence within our society between justice and fairness. Justice is objective. We should be able to measure what justice is. We have laws, rules, regulations and certain things that need to be enforced for justice.
I think we could agree that we live in a pretty unjust society, and that’s a result of sin. People are fallen. As Christians, we should make sure we’re working toward justice in our culture as much as possible, even though we know it will never be perfect. On the other hand, fairness is a very subjective thing. What’s fair to you may not be fair to me. There’s a difference between justice and fairness.
So, let me share six practical things to do to escape the trap of wanting to compare yourself with others in this blog, part 1 and the next one – part 2.
- Change your belief that life is supposed to be fair.
One of the top three topics we’ve had on our Facebook Intentional Living Minute for the last six months was about life not being fair. We asked, “What’s one thing your child needs to learn before they leave home?” The answer we received the most is that life is not fair. One of the gifts we need to give to our children or grandchildren is to teach them that life isn’t fair. We need to get the idea of life being fair out of our heads. We need to tell ourselves the truth – life is not fair.
- Focus on your strengths, your weaknesses, your gifts and your blessings from God.
God has wired each of us differently. We can get into trouble when we try to move into a lane in life that we shouldn’t be in. We all have our own unique gifts. There are things I’ve been gifted with that if I get too far away from them, it becomes stressful for me. And you have the same thing.
- Be mindful that God’s path is different for each person.
It’s not only focusing on our strengths but also understanding that God has something special for us. Jesus shared about fairness in John 21 as He walked with his disciples and talked to Peter. He said, “When you were young, you dressed yourself and went wherever you wished. But when you get old, you’ll have to stretch out your hands while someone else dresses you and takes you where you don’t want to go” (v. 18 paraphrased). He’s telling Peter a little bit of a foretaste of how He was going to die. Jesus then tells Peter to follow Him. And then Peter notices that John is following right behind, and Peter asked Jesus what’s going to happen to him? Peter was comparing himself to John. He wanted to know if John would get a better deal than he was going to get. Isn’t that the sinful nature that we have? We always are comparing, and this gets right to the heart of the matter of what happens in families, because we are constantly comparing.
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