Ever find yourself comparing what you do/own/look like to someone else? It is easy to do in our advanced technology, social media world we live in. Just open a browser to see where the latest celebrity has vacationed or better yet open Instagram and see what your friends and family are doing. Cousin Jenn is on this great diet and has lost 30 pounds, Aunt Melissa is raving about how wonderful her husband is; then wishing you could lose that weight or have a better marriage?
As Christians we are called to not be jealous (or covet) what our neighbor has but in reality, it is something we all have to be deliberate about. How many minutes or hours do you spend on the internet or scrolling? How much of that is productive, for work or for your spirit? I find myself having to reel in the amount of time I scroll for both my mental and spiritual wellbeing.
The podcast I am reviewing this week is called “Love and Relationships Podcast with Debra Fileta: Avoiding the Comparison Trap with guest Jamie Ivey.” Debra is a Licensed Professional Counselor, she’s also an author and podcast host. Jamie is a talk show host, author, speaker, and podcast host of “The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey.”
Jamie begins talking about how we compare ourselves to others through social media. “We can get this snapshot of what they have right now that you don’t have. This goes all the way back to the garden, Adam and Eve. Eve was comparing what Satan was telling her about how her wisdom was different than God’s. So, she’s already going, wait, I’m not getting what I deserve. I think that is what a lot of comparison is, we think I deserve more, this isn’t fair, I don’t have what I should have.”
Jamie gives an excellent example that mothers can relate to. “I remember as a young mom, really struggling with comparison. I’m not doing enough, or I should be doing this or look at my kid they’re not even doing milestones that they should be doing; as if I can control their milestones.” It can be challenging not to compare your children and how you raise them to those around you. But God made you to be the mom of your kids, with all of your gifts and talents to raise them, not so you can try to be like your next-door neighbor.
Debra provides a few practical steps on how to overcome or work around the comparison trap.
- “Limit your external influence because I think that what we’re taking in can really start to affect the state of our internal contentment. So, what are we downloading? What are we reviewing? What are we absorbing how many hours a day are we scrolling?
- Number two, is begin taking inventory of the internal dialogue. What are the thoughts I’m having about myself? I’m thinking, I’m not good enough; they’re better than me; they’re getting the blessings I’m not; God favors them and not me. All of those unhealthy thoughts.
- The third practical point is focus on what God has called you to do. Faithfulness, that’s exactly what it is. Because when you’re being faithful, the measuring stick is then you, you’re the measuring stick. And you measure yourself up against what God has called you to do. When my measuring stick is being faithful today with what God has called me to do all that other stuff fades away.”
How do you know if you are overcoming comparison? Debra states, “I actually think a good measuring stick of how healthy we are, the opposite of the comparison trap, is being able to cheer people on to truly want their best interest. To want to see them be faithful in what God has called them to do and say good job, you are killing it, I am so proud of you.”
Jamie reminds us that what we see on social media is only a snippet of that person’s life and for the most part it is only the good stuff. She states, “it’s just a reminder to me that looking at someone else’s life and wishing you had it is a false reality, because you don’t actually know their life.”
Here is the main take away from Debra, “I think the key here is this question, what is my measuring stick? Because when our measuring stick is other people, there is an emotional roller coaster that comes with that because one day we’re going to be on top and it’s going to feel amazing, and we’re comparing ourselves to all the little ones around us and we feel great. And the next day, we’re going to be far behind, there’s always somebody less than you, but there’s always somebody ahead of you.”
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:1-2
This was a great podcast, rich with examples of how to intentionally avoid comparison. I would recommend listening to the entire show. They go into more detail around their own examples of comparison and fixing your eyes on Jesus!
Heartwarming story: Abebech Gobena led an incredible life: after escaping from a forced marriage as a child bride, Gobena went on to become a huge icon in Africa. In Ethiopia, she took her experiences and built an orphanage, schools, a hospital for women and children, vocational training centers and wells, and more. Ms. Gobena is frequently referred to as the “Mother Teresa of Africa.” You can read about Abebech here.
Love and Relationships Podcast with Debra Fileta and Jamie Ivey
Jamie’s new book “You be You: Why Satisfaction and Success Are Closer Than You Think”
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