The other day I was watching blackbirds spin, swoop and dance in the air, fully appreciating and using their aeronautical skills. After taking in their air dance, I looked over the Columbia River and I witnessed several large birds of prey effortlessly floating round and round on the thermal air currents. Then, as I stood on my deck, I heard the telltale buzzing wings and tiny chirps of a hummingbird as it headed for my feeder. All those different types of birds just doing their own thing, not minding one another made me wonder:
Do birds get jealous?
That might seem like a preposterous question, but stick with me and we will walk it out.
When a little blackbird watches the eagles soaring above does it think to itself, “Gee, I wish I could soar like that”? (best read in the voice and tone of Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh)
Or when an eagle watches the hummingbird hover as it eats nectar does it think to itself, “Life would be easier if I could just hover and eat nectar“? (again, best read in the voice and tone of Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh)
Or do you think that perhaps owls wish in their little birdie hearts that they could float on water, diving for their food in the midday sun like a loon does instead of hunting for their meals under the cover of darkness?
OK – I realize all of the above questions are as preposterous as the initial “Do birds get jealous?” However, I think we can learn a valuable lesson from our fine feathered friends.
A quick search on great googly-moogly reveals there are nearly 10,000 – to perhaps – 18,000 different species of birds on our planet. It seems we could keep going and going and going with wondering about comparisons between one species of birds to another.
We may, in our own minds, compare the birds to each other and may decide that we like one specie of birds more than another. However, birds do not concern themselves with such silly pursuits. They are merely concerned with being their little birdie selves and reveling in the talents, skills and yes, even quirks, they have been given.
They are not sitting on a tree branch looking longingly at birds of a different feather wishing, “If Only…” Rather, birds are about living and enjoying, not about comparing. It seems to me that this way of living fills their hearts with joy, that is if their happy chirps, flight dances and songs are any indication. I believe this joy flows because of their lack of comparison to each other. Hmmmm…maybe we could indeed learn a thing or two from them.
Comparison is the thief of joy. – Theodore Roosevelt
Ol’ Teddy may have hit the nail on the head there! Have you ever looked at someone and thought, “Gee, I wish I was thin like them!” Or “Why can’t I have a fancy car like that?” Or “Gee, I wish I could sing, or speak, or write like that person.” Or maybe you deal with jealousy over how much money someone makes or the vacations they take or how their kids behave, etc.
Each of those questions/desires rises out of comparison. Each of those questions leave the “asker” focused on their presumed lack and the other person’s assumed abundance. Therein lies the problem with comparison. It NEVER leads to Joy. Even if the comparison is in “your favor”, it doesn’t spring Joy, it springs superiority (recognized or not) and that leads a person down a whole ‘nother ugly path.
Each of us has been made to be a unique gift to this world. We have been created in the image of an ineffable God and have been designed with gifts and talents that we are meant to share with this world. When we get on the comparison train we lose our focus on the gifts we have been given to share. As a result, our inner Eeyore comes out, stealing our Joy. Hmmm, stealing joy…seems we have been warned about a thief in our midst, trying to do just that:
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy.
A thief named Comparison is indeed in our midst and his sole focus is to steal our Joy. Why? Why would that be his only focus? Because he knows that living Joy-less is no way to live. He knows when you have no Joy, life is pitiful. Life is actually painful in that state and that pain opens the door for all types of issues. Comparison is not only the thief of Joy, it is the key that opens the doors of heart sickness and depression, leading to a host of hurts and perpetuating a Joy-less state of mind.
So, my friend, I encourage you to be like a bird. Take a look at your unique talents and skills and revel in them. Use those skills to the best of your ability and expand them. It does no good to let your talents sit on a shelf, or deny the skills you have. Don’t compare and belittle your skills because someone else has more skills or, in your opinion, better skills. You are made to be filled with Joy and using your unique skills and talents to the fullest of their abilities allows that Joy to fill you and overflow to others. When others see the Joy you experience by just being you, it will bring them Joy and encourage them to walk in that same way.
The best witness we can be for God above is to be ourselves and allow all the gifts He has given us to shine for Him. So, the next time you are tempted to think, “If only I could <<blank>> like that person, I’d be happier/more worthy, etc” recognize that thought as a thief and lock down the vault of your heart. Take a moment at that exact moment, refuse that thought of comparison and replace it by Thanking God for some unique talent He has given to you. I don’t care if your talent is as silly as the ability to tie a cherry stem in a knot with your tongue (always wished I could do that!), just recognize the talent, recognize Who gave that talent to you and GRIN from ear to ear in gratefulness. That attitude of gratitude will lock down the vault of your heart from the thief of comparison quicker than a snowflake melts in 100 degree heat.
As you recognize those thoughts and shut down them down with thankfulness, you will find them easier to notice and easier to shut down. Soon, you may notice them stopping all together and that, my friend, is called a Renewed Mind (Romans 12:2). That renewed mind will multiply your Joy and Peace and allow you to revel in the True Freedom of being who God created you to be, an Epic Gift to this world! (for more on that thought, click here)
So, stop comparing and start flying like a Joy-filled bird showing off your very own feathers! You got this, 100% and I can’t wait to see Joy Flowing out of you like a gushing waterfall!
Blessings and Love to you, my fine & uniquely feathered friend!