Busyness is a Bully, Comparison is a Tyrant

By: Sheridan Voysey

Each of our lives is like a pilgrimage. There’s a starting point, a destination, and a journey in between with all sorts of twists, turns, joys and challenges.

The Book of Hebrews talks about us being sojourners in this world, en-route to our heavenly home. I’ve found that a physical pilgrimage can highlight themes in our lives we might otherwise miss.

About two-thirds into the pilgrimage I describe in my book The Making of Us, DJ and I were in pain. I was lying on my motel bed one afternoon, hips aching, feet raw like I was walking on bone, just feeling exhausted. And it brought to mind some times in my life that I’ve come close to burnout:

  • As a student, trying to do too many things at once
  • As a youth pastor, lasting only 18 months in the job
  • In my early years as a broadcaster

And what was common to each was a busyness driven by comparison.

What Comparison Does

Busyness is a bully at the best of times, stomping around, wanting the playground to itself, chasing peace away first, then patience, then kindness, joy, and self-control. But this bully becomes a tyrant when it teams up with comparison. The two work together. Comparison points out someone afar, showing us all they’re doing and the success they’re achieving, then whispers to us:

You’re not good enough!

Pretty enough!

Successful enough!

Spiritual enough!

That’s when busyness comes in, jumping on our backs and yelling:

Do more!

Try harder!

Then you might be like them!

The result for me was too many times feeling exhausted… and feeling like a failure.


The philosopher David Whyte says busyness is a sure sign that we are living someone else’s life and doing some else’s work. There came a time as I was writing The Making of Us when I decided, enough:

  • Time to accept the gifts I have, not worry about those I don’t have
  • Time to accept my limits, however confining they may be
  • Time to silence the voices, quit the comparisons

Time to stop chasing other’s lives and embrace my own.

Article supplied with thanks to Sheridan Voysey.

About the Author: Sheridan Voysey is a writer, speaker and broadcaster on faith and spirituality. His books include Resilient, Resurrection Year, and Unseen Footprints. Get his FREE eBook Five Practices for a Resilient Life here.

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