My husband and I drove to a nearby state park in our new community in west Texas a few years ago. Our souls were thirsty for beauty and fresh air, and we anticipated a day of exploring and hiking around a lake. I envisioned a pristine source of water.
When we arrived at the parking area the scenery jolted us. Are we in the wrong place?
The intense drought had evaporated all the water—every drop–and left a crater of burnt sienna dirt. I scanned the panorama of parched land and prickly dead plants in disbelief.
What we envision in our mind doesn’t always pan out in reality.
We walked half way around the lake, void of water, and decided to cut across the bottom of the lake. The drought-ridden terrain bore cracks that deepened and widened as we got farther from the shoreline. The crevices slowed our pace because we needed to focus on our footing to avoid twisting an ankle. Our short cut became long and tedious and the vast emptiness was void of not just water, but of any life.
The vast emptiness was void of life. When we are in a desert season, Comparison ensued. I thought about what wasn’t there. I recalled the lakes and rolling hills in New York. An ache bubbled up. I missed the geography and seasons I knew until I left home. I longed for the rolling hills, apple orchards, and vineyards of the Finger Lakes Region.
I whispered aloud to God, Why do we live in this god-forsaken place?
I realized later that when comparison creeps in, grumbling often follows, especially in a desert season. Dissatisfaction takes root. If we neglect the red flag of comparing marriages, finances, health, gifts, or ministry, we are a step away from a slippery slope of unholy discontent. Contrasting our situation with another’s is like opening a door to insecurity, jealousy, envy, and bitterness.
How do we find the balance? Our brain is wired for weighing one thing against another. We are taught compare and contrast as a critical thinking skill. It’s how we learn the concepts of measurements, values, opposites, similes, hues of color, and pitches in music.
What’s the answer to avoid getting ensnared in the comparison trap? Telling myself I shouldn’t compare is not helping me. It just makes me feel worse.
Join me over at The Glorious Table for what God revealed to me at