Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Choose Gratitude to Escape the Comparison Trap

"For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." - Psalm 139:13-14

I was chaperoning my youngest daughter’s soccer team in Las Vegas. We had a break between games so I thought I would go for a jog to burn off some calories and stress. I asked the gal at the front desk for directions to a bike path or running loop. Since most 2.5 star hotels aren’t located in the poshest of neighborhoods, she looked at me funny and suggested I hit the hotel gym instead.
The hotel gym turned out to be about the size of a closet, with two treadmills jammed next to each other, inches away from the four mirror-lined walls. Right when I hit the start button on the treadmill, my 3 o’clock alarm, set to remind me to give thanks to God every day, sounded on my phone. I thanked Him for being able to exercise and for the much-needed time alone. 
Fifteen minutes into my workout, the door swung open and another soccer mom entered, dressed to sweat some stress out too. We greeted kindly, stuck our earbuds in tight, and got busy moving. Within minutes, I noticed that her pace was faster than mine, her legs were stronger than mine, and her stomach was flatter than mine. So I did what came naturally, I made up excuses. I’d had three children. Oh crap, so had she. I was working and didn’t have time to exercise. Darn, so was she. 
When making excuses didn’t work, I went to Plan B: competition. I glanced at her speed, looked down at mine, and then cranked it way up. I jiggled faster and faster. Sweat poured down my face into my eyes, blurring my contact lenses. When I tried to wipe the sweat away, I lost my balance, tripped, and was propelled back into the mirror behind me. Startled and embarrassed, I limped back to my room where God gently reminded me that comparing myself with others could be quite dangerous. 

God was right. If I’d stayed in the space of gratitude and not been swept away into the comparison trap, I’d have enjoyed what my body could do and been stronger in body and spirit. 

We will always find people who are smarter, faster, skinnier, richer, stronger and wiser than us. So, what if we run our own race with gratitude as we cheer others on in their own race? 

Looking back, I could have complimented her for being strong and fast. Instead of learning later that day on the soccer sideline that she was training for a half marathon, I bet she would have told me about her upcoming race right there in that tiny gym. I would have known that our goals were very different. Her goal was to get a personal best finishing time, mine was to have a good time reducing my stress level. If I’d only gotten out of my crazy head and been lead by gratitude, I could have avoided the embarrassment and been a witness of God’s unconditional love. 

Where do you need to replace comparison with gratitude?
Thank God for how He uniquely made you, with all your strengths and abilities. Give thanks that you are wonderfully made. As you run after your goals in life, keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. When they wander to compare, snap back to your race and let gratitude lead you on. 

Laura Busse lives in Boulder, CO with her husband and three non-stop teenagers. She is the founder of the 3 O'Clock Wake Up Call, a movement to promote daily gratitude to God. This movement believes giving thanks to God every day will ignite your faith and change your world.


  1. This is such a great reminder. I really love your idea of setting your watch for 3 to "wake up to gratitude" every afternoon.. that is so necessary, and perfectly timed.. thanx for sharing your "competition and comparison" embarrassment. I have been there.....more than once😃

  2. As I'm reading this I laugh because that was easily me so many times (the falling part, not the strong flat tummies fast girl)! This message is so relevant to me right now. Thank you for sharing your gift of writing.