The Joy Thief
by Donna Sparks
Most all of us have heard the phrase, “Comparison is the joy thief.” It is so true, and so many of us still struggle with it.
When God first called me into ministry, I really struggled with accepting that I could even do anything to glorify God because of my past. So, when I was asked to speak for my first women’s conference, I was a bit nervous to say the least.
Things got worse when I started comparing myself to the other speakers who would be there. Some of these women were much more experienced, and a lot more eloquent than I was. The more I looked at their abilities, the more I worried about my inabilities.
When I went to bed that night, God brought a childhood memory to mind. When my brother and I were really young, our family would gather around the Christmas tree on Christmas morning. My brother and I were always so eager to open our presents.
My parents would pass out our gifts and I would begin ripping the paper and bows off to reveal the mystery inside. But my brother would sit there surrounded by all his gifts and watch me open each one of mine. Every time I opened a gift, he would ask my parents how much it cost. He was afraid they had spent more money on my gifts than they did on his gifts.
My parents were always very fair and treated us equally. I giggled to myself as I began to think about how silly he was to sit there watching me open my gifts when he could have been opening and enjoying his own.
That’s when the Holy Spirit whispered to me, “Stop laughing. That is exactly what you are doing now.” It hit me like a ton of bricks. I was doing the same thing. Instead of unwrapping the gifts and abilities God had given me, I was busy focusing on the gifts and abilities of others.
When we start focusing on the abilities of others, we lose sight of our own gifts and talents. We put price tags on our gifts so to speak. But God doesn’t. He created us all to be unique with different gifts, talents, and ideas. All of our individual gifts and talents are valuable to Him.
He created us with unique abilities to bring glory to Him! If we could only realize how priceless we are to Him, I believe there would be a lot more joy, and a lot less comparison in our lives.
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
Donna Sparks, evangelist and author of the popular books Beauty from Ashes: My Story of Grace and No Limits: Embracing the Miraculous, is a sought-after speaker for women’s conferences and retreats. Donna travels extensively to minister in churches and other venues. She also leads a vibrant and fruitful jail ministry, through which God has brought salvation and spiritual freedom to hundreds of female prisoners. www.DonnaSparks.com