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It’s the thief of joy

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

October 14, 2020

President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt was once quoted as saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

While I believe there are exceptions to that, I also find it’s often true.

While the streak seems like it might be ending, I was batting zero for two going into this October. Since I started in this job, both Octobers (2018 and 2019) included different surgeries on my right hip, including a total joint replacement last year.

The loss of mobility and strength in that hip caused me to go through a grieving process of sorts. Every time I tried to exercise, bend, squat or sit cross-legged on the floor, I was reminded that my body no longer worked the way it once did. My days of heavy contact sports were over (I was eligible to test for my black belt in karate when my hip became seriously problematic). My doctor strongly suggested I stop jogging/running.

For a long time, when I was reminded of what I could no longer do, I’d cry. Comparing the new bionic me to the old original-parts me stole my joy.

I thought about that as a friend pointed out to me that I was also comparing myself to others in my spiritual life, too.

I had told my friend that I feel like my prayer life isn’t where it should be. I noted that I feel like so many of my friends and colleagues seem to have much stronger relationships with the Lord than I have, and they seem so much more connected to their faith. I noted that I want to have that strong relationship and solid faith life, too.
My friend very kindly reminded me to stop comparing myself to others. He reminded me that my life is not the same as my friends’ and colleagues’ lives, and there are circumstances in my life that affect my prayer life and affect my ability to feel connected right now. He reminded me that the friends I was comparing myself to are mostly at different parts of life than I am, and they don’t have my unique set of life experiences.

My friend also reminded me that I’m where I’m supposed to be right now, and that God has a purpose for my life experiences, struggles and this portion of my life. Maybe this phase of my journey is meant to teach me patience (good luck with that one, God). Maybe it’s meant to teach me not to compare myself to others.

While my prayer life isn’t where I want it to be right now, I’ve been using what prayer I can muster to thank God for whatever it is He wants me to learn through this struggle, and I’m thanking Him for giving me awesome friends to help me through that process.

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