My morning had been off to a great start. I kissed my kids goodbye, brewed my favorite coffee, and decided to scroll through Facebook to see if anything would pique my interest, like usual. But that good day, things took a turn for the worse with one photo. I saw her perfect house, perfect kids, perfect ministry, and suddenly my home, family, and the impact I was having seemed insignificant and lacking. INSTANTLY I got sucked into the Comparison Trap.
Comparing myself to others is an area of my life I continually evaluate. Some days I find myself jumping on Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook and see all the crafty, delicious, fun, creative things other people are doing and I’m like, I could never do that. When all the while God is whispering “I didn’t call you to do that.”
It seems one of the quickest ways to a discouraged, depressed, and discontent heart is comparing our lives to others. And, with Social Media showing everyone’s highlight reel, comparison is waging a silent war on our joy. So, how do we combat this constant bombardment against our contentment?
Here a few things that help me when comparison threatens to rear its ugly head:
Hang out with Jesus. I know this seems so simple, but it is the one thing that makes the most profound difference. The more we hang out with Him, the more precious we feel, the more love we possess, and the more sense of purpose we have. God made us, He knows what we are good at, and if we take the time to consult Him, He directs us to our gifts. Everyone is good at something. As we discover what our gift is and begin using it, we begin to shine. As you bask in His presence He fills you with His character and gives you His heart for people and suddenly you’ll find yourself appreciating the incredibly diverse gifts He has given others. Instead of feeling intimidated by them, you can applaud them for the creativity God gave them.
MIND YOUR OWN.
Business that is. This is my favorite. I love this phrase. And, I don’t mean it in a rude way, I mean it in a practical way. The apostle Paul wrote one of my favorite verses on this subject:
Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. Galatians 6:4 NLT
Come on Paul—that’s a good word right there!! (Insert all the praise hands emoticons.) When we are focused on the good work God has planned for us and operate in our specific gifting, we don’t have time to focus on others.
TAKE A BREAK.
If I find I’m looking at my followers, getting discouraged by other people’s posts, or even counting “likes,” it is time to get away. Our need for approval can only be met by God. But if we aren’t careful we can unknowingly start to look at our social media stats to determine our worth. Social media numbers will never satisfy the desire that God alone can fill. The world will not end if we get off social media for a while. When I find my attitude is being brought low by time on my phone, it is a sign I’m running low on approval from my heavenly Father.
We will no longer be victims of the comparison trap as we spend time with God. When we receive the approval our hearts need from Him, we can stay focused on the task He has called us to complete and simply shine our light.
This week, spend some time with the Heavenly Father. Grab a pencil and paper and ask Him what you are good at. List out all the ways He has created you to shine. Read 1 Corinthians 3:5-9 and think about a friend or loved one who is faithfully doing the work God has called them to. Take a moment and celebrate and encourage them by writing them a note or send a text.
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