Comparisons and Contentment
March 9, 2021
This past weekend was the NBA All-Star game. As always, the starting lineup was selected by the votes of the fans and then the reserves were selected by the coaches. As always, there were the fun and serious debates about who deserved the honor and who didn’t—who got snubbed, subbed, and overlooked. From the voter-selected players, Lebron James and Kevin Durant as this year’s captains chose their teams.
These players had all competed against each other many times and most had a sense of camaraderie that allowed for a great deal of teasing about who got picked last, and other good-natured insults. But the fact of the matter is, if you are in the NBA you are already an elite basketball player. Hundreds of thousands of hopefuls play high school sports; only 480,000 make it to the NCAA teams. In 2019 only 1,217 of those were drafted to play professional basketball. So just to be a pro player is to be elite. Each of them has a different set of skills. Some are better shooters than others, some pass better than others, dribble better than others, etc., but the bottom line is that they are all very special players, head and shoulders above most (literally and
As we process the Enneagram, people can experience something similar, comparing themselves with others. They can feel that another personality is better or worse than theirs, that God has made someone else either superior or inferior to them. That can create very deep and divisive problems. Comparing is the root of all envy. If you can get rid of comparing in your life, you can get rid of envy in your life. Comparison destroys contentment and damages relationships.
God warns about the foolishness of comparing yourself to anybody else: “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12 NIV).
Every time you compare, you’re going to be guilty of either pride or envy. You’re always going to either find somebody who’s doing a better job than you, and you get full of envy, or you’re going to find that you’re doing a better job than somebody, and you get full of pride. Pride or envy is always the result of comparing. And God says it’s foolish. You shouldn’t do it. You are unique. You are one of kind. You are incomparable.
All God asks you to do is cooperate with Him to fulfill your potential, to become your very best authentic self. “Let everyone be sure that he is doing his very best, for then he will have the personal satisfaction of work well done and won’t need to compare himself with someone else” (Galatians 6:4 TLB).
Remember that God handcrafted you as His own special treasure. There is no one like you, and His great desire is to help you grow into your authentic self, the self that will fill YOU with contentment and confidence. The Enneagram is a only a tool—a very effective one—to help you develop the best version of yourself and allow yourself to flourish. There’s no greater joy than becoming the person God had in mind when He created you.
You and I will be fulfilled only when we become who God created us to be. We can work with Him to throw off our adapted selves and live out our authentic selves. Being real is being free!