I was reading a book the other day, and I stole this question: “Would you rather have $70,000 today or $70,000 in 1900?” You might choose $70,000 in 1900 for one obvious reason—you would be filthy rich. Keep in mind, though, that you wouldn’t have a car, commercial airline flights, or penicillin. And the average lifespan would be about 42 years. That option doesn’t sound so great anymore, does it?
This backs up the results of a study that concluded that only about 10 percent of our happiness is linked to our possessions. In fact, most of our happiness comes from being better off than the people around us. Here’s the kicker. Someone is always better—smarter, prettier, richer, funnier, and better at school.
There’s lots of conjecture about how we can be so depressed as a nation even though we live relatively (historically and globally) amazing lives. One cause? Comparison, specifically comparison on social media. In a world of constant information, there’s basically no break to just be you. At any given moment, you see the best of your friends’ lives and the worst of yours. That doesn’t feel so good.
What does feel good is seeing who we are in Jesus. John tells us, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1).
Maybe it’s time to stop comparing ourselves and start knowing who we really are in Christ. We’re God’s children, lavished in love.