Friday, March 7, 2014
Comparing ourselves to others, while common, is ultimately very frustrating. Often I will try to judge myself (both positively and negatively) compared to someone else, or even "most people". For example, "I don't curse as much as Sam or Heidi, so I am OK" or "I don't pray as much as most people, so God must not be pleased with me". Things were no different in the time of the Lord. In today's Gospel we hear "The disciples of John approached Jesus and said,'Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?'" Interesting. They were trying to force the Lord to make a comparison. But he was not falling into that trap. Rather than stating that one was better than the other, He simply explained that it was not the proper time for His disciples to fast. It didn't matter what everyone else was doing, the disciples were doing what they needed to do at that time. You see, the only comparison God wants me to make is with my "perfect" self. By that I mean" "How am I doing compared to the person that God wants me to be? Am I doing right now what God wants me to do? Am I doing His will?" I will not be judged by how well I stand up to anyone else, but rather how well I stand up to the person God created me to be. And that is why I began by saying that comparing ourselves to others is ultimately frustrating. Here's why. In my own mind, I can never be as good as some people I know... or as bad. Which means that it is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking "What difference does it make what I do or how I act or what I say?" And that leads to the frustration of not growing into the person I want to be - or God wants me to be. It can spark a downward spiral that leads to depression and negativity, which are so destructive. So I think that I need to embrace more and more the proper comparison. I will try to begin each day by asking myself "What can I do today to become more the person that God wants me to be." By the end of the day, I hope that I will be able to look back and discover moments when I consciously chose to compare myself to the person God and I want me to be - and then did something to become more like that person.