Busyness is a Bully, Comparison is a Tyrant. I Say, Enough
Each of our lives is like a pilgrimage. There’s a starting point, a destination, and a journey in between with all sorts of twists, turns, joys and challenges. The Book of Hebrews talks about us being sojourners in this world, en-route to our heavenly home. I’ve found that a physical pilgrimage can highlight themes in our lives we might otherwise miss.
About two-thirds into the pilgrimage I describe in The Making of Us, DJ and I were in pain. I was lying on my motel bed one afternoon, hips aching, feet raw like I was walking on bone, just feeling exhausted. And it brought to mind some times in my life that I’ve come close to burnout:
- As a student, trying to do too many things at once
- As a youth pastor, lasting only 18 months in the job
- In my early years as a broadcaster
And what was common to each was a busyness driven by comparison.
What Comparison Does
Busyness is a bully at the best of times, stomping around, wanting the playground to itself, chasing peace away first, then patience, then kindness, joy, and self-control. But this bully becomes a tyrant when it teams up with comparison. The two work together. Comparison points out someone afar, showing us all they’re doing and the success they’re achieving, then whispers to us:
You’re not good enough!
That’s when busyness comes in, jumping on our backs and yelling:
Then you might be like them!
The result for me was too many times feeling exhausted… and feeling like a failure.
The philosopher David Whyte says busyness is a sure sign that we are living someone else’s life and doing some else’s work. There came a time as I was writing The Making of Us when I decided, enough:
- Time to accept the gifts I have, not worry about those I don’t have
- Time to accept my limits, however confining they may be
- Time to silence the voices, quit the comparisons
Time to stop chasing other’s lives and embrace my own.
This video is one of a 6-part series based on my new book The Making of Us.