I'd fallen into the trap of uttering the most dangerous word in the world: deserve. I convinced myself that, in honor of my daughter's birth, I deserved to create a beautiful nursery for her. Furthermore, my daughter deserved to have a beautiful nursery. The child wasn't even born yet, and I was setting her up to believe in what she deserved!
Deserve is dangerous because it rots away our insides and makes us hard to live with. It motivates us to lie, cheat, and steal to get what we want. It turns our hearts inward and urges us in the wrong direction—far from where God wants us to be.
Where Danger Starts
I've heard it said that comparison is the death of contentment. You might be fine and dandy, enjoying your life and appreciating your blessings until your friend gets something better, nicer, or bigger than you. Suddenly you look at your life and it doesn't measure up. What was fine before now seems lacking.
This is a reason I rarely go shopping. Going to a mall exposes me to wants I didn't know I had. It's like an alcoholic going into a bar—the temptation is best avoided altogether. I shop now only when I have specific needs and money in hand. I no longer carry credit cards so I'm not tempted to use them.
But I also understand avoiding malls isn't a cure-all for comparison. The root of this problem goes much deeper than shopping. It goes to the heart of what we believe about ourselves and how we perceive that others see us. For many of us, comparison is a lifelong habit grounded in inferiority and based on a need for approval. This constant comparing leads to feelings of self-doubt and a diminished identity. The urge to compensate for these inadequate feelings drives us to do whatever it takes to raise our status in the eyes of others.1