Highlight: The plague of comparison fatigue

Where is your identity found – is it in God or in the world?

Many of us are fatigued by trying to meet the standards of another person’s life, by trying to be someone we were never meant to be. Pastor Kai Nilsen calls this comparison fatigue. He shares an example of how comparison plays out in our churches and communities.

“I was sitting in a bible study with a number of men in a suburban community outside of Columbus, Ohio. One of the questions we asked was ‘are any of you wealthy?’

No one raised their hand.

“By any other place in the world’s standards every single person around that table was fabulously wealthy. Yet what they all were thinking about was that they don’t live in that next place, or they don’t have those things that somebody else has.”

It is that kind of comparison that drains people. When we feel tempted to compare ourselves to others, Kai says that we must continue to remind ourselves who we are, and whose we are.

“Somehow you have to embed into each part of your day, some sense of the rhythm of going back to that core identity.”

We need to work reminders of who God is, and who we are in God, into every aspect of our day. Our faith, and identity in Christ, is not sustained by Sunday mornings alone. Kai references someone in his church who sought to remind himself of his identity in a practical way.

“He wrote this little phrase on his mirror and his computer screen and he just said Jesus loves me no matter what.”

Fighting against comparison starts with undertsanding, and believing, that in we have everything when we are in the presence of God.

“I think that is the core thing, it has to start there. Can you understand and receive that gift of God’s grace and presence in your life? The kingdom of God is not only near you but is also in you. To be able to rejoice, hold and rest in that is a master gift.”

Kai Mark Nilsen (DMin, Fuller Seminary) has been lead pastor at Peace Lutheran in Gahanna, Ohio, for over ten years. He serves on the board of the Renovaré Institute and is a certified pastoral coach for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Nilsen is also a leader in the Gahanna Ministerial Association where he developed a cross-denominational community ministry.

Key Scripture: Isaiah 42

Hour 1: Featured Songs: Restless – Audrey Assad; Song of My Father – Urban Rescue; Thy Will – Hillary Scott

Renewing your life