The Contentment Stealer

What would you say is one of the greatest contentment stealers?

Here are some clues to one:

Everyone does it. We naturally and developmentally begin to do this from the age of about five. It’s particularly prevalent during our adolescent identity-forming years. There is a healthy version of this thing and an unhealthy version. The unhealthy version can become a habitual way of thinking which can follow us right into adulthood. It can impede our spiritual growth if we are christians and our personal growth in general!

Any guesses what it is?

“they are the same age as us yet own a much nicer house”

“I work harder and put in way more effort than him

I’m a hopeless speaker compared to her!”

“my ministry is growing and theirs seems to be floundering”

it’s not fair I have this condition when they eat the way they do!

I wish I had a body like that!”

and on it goes!

Yes, it’s comparison, the thing we often do without even realising we are doing it!

If comparison has the effect of making us feel inferior or superior to the other person then it is unhealthy!

It will steal our contentment and our focus!

We have an example in the gospels when Peter compared himself to John:

Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” John 21:20-22 NIV

From this little exchange, it seems it’s actually kind of foolish for us to try to follow Jesus while comparing ourselves to others! “What is it to you? You follow me,” says Jesus.

Often, the root of comparison is pride. Like Peter, we can have the thought that we deserve better. Things are unfair!

I recall a time when a dear friend in a difficult situation similar to mine, got a very clear, immediate, and direct (even miraculous) answer to her prayer. It was amazing! At the time I was genuinely very happy for her, but I confess I was also a tad envious. Lord, why did she get that and I didn’t?

Almost immediately I was reminded of when my children were younger and they’d each get a turn having a special treat with myself or my husband. When I treated one, did that mean I loved my other three children any less? Of course not! It just meant their turn for being blessed was coming next!

How much more so does our Heavenly Father bless each of His children in a way that only He knows they most need? Who are we to compare the way He chooses to bless one to the way He chooses to bless another? I was indeed convicted.

Maybe it’s a by-product of growing older and wiser, but these days I am more aware of not unhealthily comparing myself to others. Life is too short to spend even a moment being discontent when we actually have so much to be grateful for!

Whilst unhealthy comparison is not good for us, healthy comparison can be. We can aspire to be a better version of ourselves by comparing ourselves to ourselves.

We can look for ways we have personally grown compared to five years ago? One year ago? What area do I need to grow in at the moment? What are all the things I can be thankful for? How am I being blessed right now?

Let’s remember the scriptural wisdom of “godliness with contentment is great gain“, and not let unhealthy comparison steal from us! Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to show us our unique identity in Christ, and be thankful for every blessing!

So back to the original question what is the greatest contentment stealer? For me comparison is right up there, but I’d love to hear your thoughts!

©2022 Quietly Roaring. All Rights Reserved.

25 thoughts on “The Contentment Stealer

  1. There are so many wonderful thoughts here, Jo! I believe the one that helps me the most is, “How can we truly follow Jesus and compare ourselves to others?” As I read these words I pictured myself walking with Jesus—following Him somewhere—but continuing to glance over my shoulder. #thatwon’twork
    His richest Blessings to you and yours!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hi David I really like that image too…of glancing over the shoulder as it’s definitely something I can relate to! Comparing myself to others has been a definite area where the Lord has had some hard work to do in my life! Thanks for your comment and blessings to you!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. For me the “what if” has been the great bane of my contentment.
      Something like, “Things are going well now, but what if…?” And my imagination was off to the races. Thankfully the Savior has worked miraculously to help me get those under control over the years. Self-imposed panic attacks are no fun.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Such important truth! Comparison brings the death of contentment. I really love your words “Life is too short to spend even a moment being discontent when we actually have so much to be grateful for!” Thank you for this always timely reminder and blessings to you on this day!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. You nailed it on the head Jo. Comparison is my greatest contentment stealer as well. In my prayer journal I have a section titled “Today” followed by scriptures to align my thoughts with the Lords. One of the scriptures in that section is the Berean Literal Translation of Hebrews 13:5 which reads, “Let my conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as I have.”

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  3. Agreed! Makes rejoicing with others forced -even fake.😊 I’ve had to speak to my soul very fimly a time or two -“You will not go there in Jesus name!” One day, I heard very quietly in my spirit – ‘There’s. enough in my house for all my children’.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Jo, the analogy about giving each of your children a special treat at different times spoke to me. I love how it ties into your rhetorical question, “How much more so does our Heavenly Father bless each of His children in a way that only He knows they most NEED?”
    Confusing a want for a need has led me to discontentment. God has not always provided what I want but I can confidently say he has never failed to give me what I need. This is a great post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh me too Manette…I am so grateful God doesn’t give me what I often think I want! Thanks for sharing how this spoke to you. Bless you!
      p.s our church is starting a fast in the lead up to Easter…your series has been timely!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is really great post, Jo! So true about pride and contentment. I can get caught in the comparison trap. I need to trust God more. I need to fix my eyes on Him and not myself and my circumstances. I love you Jo and I am so thankful for your honesty and heart for Jesus!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Comparison- we do it ever so often. I realise that I have to fight not to think that way. Just this morning I read the passage of scripture from John 21 and to read this brings a new light to those verses. Thank you for sharing this- you have encouraged me to be more conscious of it and also reminded me to be more content with all that the Lord has blessed me with.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. So true, Q.R. Comparison has been around since the beginning, when Satan said, “You can be like God,” and isn’t getting any better. Politicians, advertisers, salesmen, – everywhere you look someone is trying to use this “thief of joy” to get you to do what they want. Let’s resist it and keep our eyes on Jesus.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. This post really spoke to my heart tonight. Thank you, truly. I have thought, prayed, meditated on, studied, and written about this subject, but somehow never thought about the John 21 passage in relation to it. I will be chewing on that new input. Many blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

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