One Runner, And Two Sets Of Joneses

Long before we ever tried keeping up with the Kardashians, we were keeping up with The Joneses. You know the Joneses? The people you compare yourself too. The ones with the nicer car? The better job? The yard that’s mowed into those cool diamond shapes? Yeah, those Joneses.

We spend way too much time living our lives comparing ourselves to others. Not just with possessions, but with everyday life.

Recently, I was out for a run with my run group. It was a crisp, beautiful, Saturday morning. (Someone cue that ‘Pure Michigan’ music, please) I felt rested. The trail was shaded. And our cadence was much faster than normal. It just felt right. We knocked out 8.71 miles at a 8:10 pace. We were movin’!

When we returned, someone new to our group said, “next time you pass me on a run, can you make it look like you were struggling?” We all laughed, but she was serious. “There’s no way I could ever run like that. I wish I was as fast as you.”

Without missing a beat, we all chimed in, “Please don’t get sucked into the comparison game. All of us were much slower when we first started running. This has taken us a few years of training to run like this”.

Sadly, I don’t think it worked. This runner, like many of us, was livin’ in the land of the Joneses. Dreaming. Wishing. Comparing.

Friends, this isn’t healthy. I’ve been there. In many ways, I still am. You see, I often wish my work hours were different, so I could do things at night, without waking up at 3:45am. I wish my pay was different, so that I could travel and run more races. I wish a few thousand more people would read my blog, instead of sitting around and watching cat videos. Sigh.

When you compare yourself to others, you create pain, and a false sense of security. It stirs up emotions of either feeling, “less than” or “greater than” someone else.

Back when CD’s were cool, there was a song by Big Tent Revival called, “Two Sets of Jones'”. It compared two families, Rothchild and Evelyn, and Rueben and Sue. They lived similar lives, but their morals were built on completely different foundations.

When the storms of life hit Rothchild and Evelyn, they were broken because their foundation was built on money, and climbing the corporate ladder.

But, when the storms of life hit Rueben and Sue, they were able to withstand the storm, because their foundation was built on a foundation of faith.

I’ll let Big Tent Revival sum things up about, “keeping up” with others, “What is the point of this story? What am I trying to say? Is your life built on the rock of Christ Jesus? Or sandy foundation you’ve managed to lay?”

Whether it’s your pace on a Michigan trail, looking around your neighborhood, or watching someone’s Facebook feed, you will be faced with an opportunity to compare. “There’s two sets of Joneses, which ones will you be?”

Join the Conversation


  1. i remember that song! it is so hard sometimes. i think especially being a single mom and knowing that’s not my heart but where i am and seeing all the families livin’ their best life (the way social media appears). working on accepting today as the gift regardless of my marital status.


  2. Thank you, for your inspiration, Tommy! I heard a wise person once say, “Never compare your insides, to other people’s outsides”. We all are struggling in one way or another and any comparison is a fools errand. FIDO (Forget it and Drive On). Keep the faith!


  3. Wow! This hit home tonight. I have loved that song for a long time. It was a nice reminder with a good message. Thank you!


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