“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10
Comparison is the thief of joy. I love this line. It is so easy to get wrapped up in comparisons and forget how many other wonderful things there are to focus on in this world.
There is this pressure to appear to be perfect. We need the right clothes, car, friends, social agenda, phone, and hairstyle. It’s sometimes hard to distinguish if we are doing things because we want to or if we are just doing them to fit in with other people.
Going to college, you’re given much more independence. You’re allowed to spend your time however you please. There is no parent telling you to study and no one forcing you to go on a run at a certain time. It can be wonderful. Or it can be overwhelming.
I found out pretty quickly that I have FOMO. This is a grave condition also known as “Fear of Missing Out.” I want to do everything, with everyone. I want to study the most I can, go on every hike, make an appearance at every party, and hear every Bible study. It’s impossible. There’s just no way to do everything.
I find myself constantly comparing my time to others. It’s hard to tell what is healthy comparison and what is unhealthy. There is so much pressure to keep up and fit in with ‘everyone else.’ I have to catch myself from comparing time to others and just think about my own interests. Pretty quickly after going to college, I found that I needed a solution for my FOMO.
I began journaling. Journaling became a way that I could set goals on how I would spend my time each day. It was a way for me to notice what brought me closer to my goals and what didn’t. Sometimes, I need to take a day to hunker down and study. Other days, I need to go to dinner with a bunch of my friends. And then other times, I need to do something by myself like running or watching a movie. I found that when I journal, I can see how to spend my time to better live a life that focuses on my personal goals. This brings me joy.
When I get caught up in comparing my time with others, I am living to please others. I am living a life for other humans to deem me approved or not. This makes me feel exhausted and unsatisfied. When I stop focusing on comparisons and I live a life seeking God’s approval, everything shifts. I feel much more healthy and full. I feel joy.
God asks us to serve Him by striving for His approval. When we focus on dropping comparisons, we will find great joy in the abundant life He provides.