Protecting Your Joy

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by Jacqui Nelms

Production Manager, CBN Europe

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With the rise of social media, we have the ability to view each other’s lives more than ever. So in an age where we know so much about other people’s ‘highlights’ in life, how can we protect our joy and remain balanced in our own lives?

Comparison – the thief of joy

Creative writing is and has always been a secret passion of mine.

Since the moment I learnt the joy of reading stories I have always wanted to write them and as a young child I would make short stories and write letters as often as I could.

So, when I was asked if I would write something about joy for the READ blog, I jumped at the chance but immediately that little voice of doubt started to whisper in my mind asking me if I was good enough.  

In the name of ‘research’ I started looking at the many blogs by our talented writers and found myself unintentionally comparing my writing styles, ideas and abilities with others.

It was as if a light switched off and I found myself doing the digital version of crumpling up my work and throwing it in the bin.

Perhaps you can also relate?

How many times have you found yourself scrolling through a social media platform and viewing what is essentially someone’s highlight real and comparing those beautiful moments with your own life?

Deflating, isn’t it? 

Comparison is a thief of joy and an all too easy trap to fall into, especially in an age where we are bombarded with images that suggest everyone but ourselves are living perfect lives.

What we don’t see on those perfectly posed Instagram feeds is the clutter, the hundred images thrown in the bin because of imperfections, the screaming children, the frustrations, the perfectly normal mundane human moments because who would actually want to post and remember those?

We don’t see the hours of writing, rewriting and editing that goes into a beautifully written blog post. We are simply presented with a carefully crafted finished article. When we compare those finished pieces with our own work and our own lives, we miss out on the joy of the gift we have been given.  

Comparison is a thief of joy and an all too easy trap to fall into, especially in an age where we are bombarded with images that suggest everyone but ourselves are living perfect lives.

Uniquely You

So why does the enemy of our souls want to steal our joy through comparison?

Because your life – as messy, boring, or hard as it may be – is a beautiful gift from our Creator.

The things you are passionate about, the giftings you have are a gift too. Comparison tells you that the beautiful gift you have isn’t as good as others. That you are lacking or less. It shifts your focus from contentment and thanksgiving to one of complaint, doubt and sometimes despair.  

You may have heard this verse from Nehemiah 8:10 before if you have been through any kind of trial as a Christian. “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” I personally have heard it many times and have perhaps not given it the full meditation it deserves.

I know that the joy of the lord is my strength but what I have not known or perhaps fully understood until recently is that, that joy that Nehemiah refers to is gratitude. Gratitude for what God has blessed us with is our strength. Our delight in our Creator and our Saviour is our strength.

Comparison, like a weed, grows and strangles the breath from our thanksgiving.  

So, protect your joy today by praying and asking God for wisdom where there are areas you find yourself trapped in comparison. For some of us this might look like stepping away from social media or changing the accounts we follow. For other this might be simply counting our blessings.  

Personally, for me this looks like trusting God in the gifts he has given me. Thanking him for the passions he has placed in my heart and taking a moment to remember all He has done. 

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