Comparison is inevitable. It involves acknowledging similarities and differences between each other which isn't inherently good or bad.
Comparison becomes an obstacle when we acknowledge similarities or differences and then project judgment on ourselves and others.
Comparison can make us feel paralyzed.
When we project our own fears, disappointments and insecurities on others and their lives, we cannot make progress toward growth. We will always fall short and comparison makes us feel stuck, inadequate and alone.
Keep your eyes on your own paper.
The reminder echoed in classrooms across the country is applicable to this conversation.
When a teacher says keep your eyes on your own paper, he or she is encouraging the students to focus on their own work. There will be time for students to collaborate at a later date. However, on testing day, the students need to put their heads down, get to work and own what they're supposed to be doing that day.
The same goes for us. How many times a day do you compare yourself to another person?
Imagine how freeing it would be to keep your eyes on your own paper instead of projecting judgment on yourself and others.
There are times when we are going to work together, share our experiences and encourage one another, but when the insecurities begin, I offer up a prayer in the moment, take one small step in the right direction and keep my eyes on my own paper.
We will never find the joy or freedom to live the lives that God has given us if we are constantly glancing over at our neighbor and comparing ourselves to her. When we keep our eyes on our own paper, we learn to work diligently, set aside fears, dive deeply into the relationships around us and live more freely.