Sunday, November 6, 2011


I've been swirling this post around in my head for a while, but it's been hard to put "to ink." Because, well, I'm not very proud of it.

You see, I have been struggling with contentment. I know what you are thinking: How in the world could you be discontent? You are right. I have no reason. I have a Savior, a husband who loves me more than I could have hoped for, we are healthy, and all our needs are met.

So how did this happen?

Back in college I worked at a Christian camp one summer, and probably the best thing I took away from that summer was somewhat of a life motto for myself: Comparison is the thief of joy. The context in which I originally heard that phrase used was completely ridiculous. I mean, it was during an all girl swim party for all of us college camp counselors, and we had broken up into two teams - each team was creating their own synchronized swimming routines, and there would be a competition. (I told you, it was ridiculous.) My team was really proud of the routine we had so creatively worked to perfect, but then we saw the competition's routine. When we saw the other team, our hopes were dashed - their routine was awesome. We were suddenly all down on our routine, and then someone yelled out, "Comparison is the thief of joy!", and in that silly moment, that phrase stuck in my heart and I knew it meant more than that synchronized swimming competition. It was an outlook on life that would change me.

Comparison is the thief of joy.

You can apply it to literally anything. We can be perfectly content and joyful with our family, our appearance, our houses, our blogs, our kids' behavior, and then we see someone or something better. And that little seed of jealousy is planted. And we somehow start to feel like we deserve better. We deserve a better car. We deserve that pair of jeans, or that fancy shampoo. If so-and-so can have it, why can't I? And suddenly, we have lost our joy. We got wrapped up in ourselves and what we don't or can't have and began comparing ourselves to others. And folks, there will always be someone with better hair, a more brilliant personality, a quicker wit, and a smaller jean size. That's why this is so dangerous - we will never win.

Comparison is the thief of joy.

I heard that phrase that day and vowed to make it a personal mantra. When I found myself comparing myself to someone I was quick to say that to myself and "get over it" and move on. But somehow in the last few months my comparison had disguised itself as something different so I wasn't as quick to catch it. It charaded itself in feeling sorry for myself, thinking I deserved things I saw and wanted, jealousy, and greed - all of which were also true. But the heart of the matter:

Comparison is the thief of joy.

It hit me when I was driving. I do a lot of overanalyzing while I'm driving which usually doesn't do a whole lot of good - but this time it was actually positive: I realized that I wasn't content. That it wasn't my small wallet or my life situations or relationships that I couldn't control that were giving me a "justified" bad attitude. It was my heart. I had let myself compare myself to others or to some magical standard I believed I deserved to live up to. I had let my discontentment spill into not just a dissatisfaction with my finances, but a dissatisfaction to the way I was treated. And folks, that is not a good place to be.

There in my car, the Holy Spirit quietly revealed to me my sin: Contentment. Kathryn, you are not content.  And honestly I didn't want to believe it at first. I thought, okay okay, I'll work on being more content. Days went on before it really started to sink in. But then it hit me: He was right. When I started being content and stopped comparing myself to others, I was joyful.

Comparison is the thief of joy.

And when I started being content and stopped being a diva, life started getting back to where it should be. And wouldn't you know that this coming week our pastor will be preaching on nothing other than contentment? When I saw that as the upcoming sermon message I thought, You have got to be kidding me.

Discontentment, you can't hide anymore. I see you, and all the sins that come with you, for what you are. And with the help of the Holy Spirit and some accountability from my hubby, you are daily becoming less existent.

I am encouraged by Paul's words from prison:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through him who gives me strength.

-Phil 4:11-13

Anything the Lord is teaching you lately?



  1. Kathryn, great post. If only everyone would take on that attitude and simultaneously quit judging others, this world would be a very different place.

  2. Currently, God is teaching me that I should pray about something more than I talk/vent/process about something with others (i.e. my anxieties related to our upcoming transitions of new baby, graduation, move, etc.). Which also relates to contentment in general!

  3. I absolutely LOVE this post!! It is so easy to fall into the trap of comparison and the consequences of that trap are never pretty. Thank you for writing don't know how much I needed to hear those words.

  4. This is amazing Kathryn, it is so awesome to see you act on such a strong conviction. You are such an amazing woman of God and his really helped me. I love you! This is so well thought out by the way!

  5. I rally really loved this post! It's so well written and so true. I am guilty of comparison every minute of every day and that helps no one. I may be stealing your mantra from you :)

  6. I see that I am always comparing resulting in a competitive game that leaves me feeling less than and heavily burdened.

    Deep within I find a swirl of noise that urges me to be all my potential. Am I living up to my higher and finer self?

    I don't know, but I am asking the question and am going to turn loose of it and wait to see the answer.

    This nagging question leaves me discontented.


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