It’s so easy to compare yourself to someone else, especially in a culture where people often post the best, happiest, most glamorous representation of themselves. Wishing you were a better parent, wishing you could look like them, wishing your job was as fulfilling as theirs, wishing that others were more like you…
It is so true that comparison is the thief of joy – it only leads to feelings of inadequacy or superiority, and nothing in between.
When it comes to suffering, it can be easy for you to compare your experience to someone else’s. Again, you will likely think one of two opposing thoughts: “I’m glad my suffering wasn’t as bad as theirs” or “They didn’t suffer as much as I’m suffering.”
But comparing your specific suffering to another’s will only steal your joy. Everyone’s journey in life is going to look different. Even if the type of suffering is the same, we are each unique and respond to suffering in unique ways. Therefore, you will never have the same journey as another.
Can it be beneficial to relate to others about your suffering? Absolutely! It can be helpful to know others who have shared in similar types of suffering because they can offer encouragement and wisdom. But relating to others is very different from comparing your journey to another’s.
The surest way to maintain joy as you experience suffering is to abide in Christ.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. -Hebrews 12:1-2
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. -Colossians 3:1-4