In the checkout line at the grocery store the other day I realized something profound.
Because, clearly, the checkout line is a Â great place for profound realizations.
Looking at the magazine rack, it dawned on me that there was a HUGE difference in the article titles.
The magazines for the younger “teeny bopper” crowd had headlines like:
“Taylor Swift’s Gorgeous Hair. Learn How to Style Yours like Hers.”
“5 Cool Things You Never Knew About Selena Gomez”
The magazines for the grown up crowd had headlines like:
“Jennifer Anniston’s Dramatic Weight Gain”
“Brad and Angelina’s Big Fight”
What Is The Magic Age of Cynicism?
Why does age seem to transition us from dreaming and believing to criticising and tearing down?Â
When do we migrate from finding life in lifting others up to finding it by pushing others lower?
We need to ask ourselves where we fall on that scale? Building or breaking?
And I’m not just talking about celebrity gossip. How do we talk about our husband’s when we are upset? How do we talk to our children when they disappoint?
And when life doesn’t work out like we hoped it would…do we still lift up the name of Jesus?
How to Prevent Comparison and Cynicism
So, back to the question: “Why does age seem to transition us from dreaming and believing to criticising and tearing down?”
The answer: because we get comfortable and stop “building.”
When we stop making ourselves better, the only way to deal with comparison is by making others look worse.
So we fight cynicism, comparison and complacency with the same weapon.
Just this week I was struggling with comparison. I “didn’t get picked” to do something I wanted to do. So, of course, I analyzed everyone who did “get picked” and I complained to myself that I was better qualified or that I could do a better job. Awful, I know.
But the bottom line is that the right choice was made. God is the orchestrator. He is not hung up on qualifications. Ask David. Ask Mary. Ask Moses.
He knows what is best and my job is to embrace what is in front of me. He doesn’t close doors of opportunity only to open windows of lesser things. He’s not out to play whack-a-mole with my dreams. Door and windows are lame. He wants to blow the roof off and do more than we could imagine. Ask David. Ask Mary. Ask Moses.
My job isn’t to compare. My job is to build. And the first building blocks? Thankfulness and humility.
So What Do We Do When Comparison Comes Knocking?
When we “build” – meaning, when we are growing and challenging ourselves we don’t have time to compare and criticize others. We need to consistently build ourselves into who we want to be and build others with our words.
When we are in the habit of building, everyone’s progress becomes our victory too.
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“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” – Ephesians 4:29