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

Photo by Hernan Sanchez (Creative Commons)

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!

Pretty enough!

Successful enough!

Spiritual enough!

That’s when busyness comes in, jumping on our backs and yelling:

Do more!

Try harder!

Then you might be like them!

The result for me was too many times feeling exhausted… and feeling like a failure.


Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia (Creative Commons)

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.

Want More?

This video is one of a 6-part series based on my new book The Making of Us.

Watch the videos

1 How to Use The Making of Us Creed in Your Life

2 Marry Your Trial with Your Talent to Bring Something New into the World

3 Busyness is a Bully, Comparison is a Tyrant. Let’s Say Enough!

4 Why and How to Do a Mini Pilgrimage

5 One Question to Focus Your Life on What Matters

6 The Story of the Church is Deep and Rich, and Full of Heroes Like These

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