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Comparison Highjacks Contentment…

I recently read this post from Girlfriends in God and felt it was an important message to share today with you. I thought about writing my own spin on the topic and decided this one was so perfect for each of us here that I would share their post with y’all! Enjoy, be sure to comment below.

 

A picture of a group of friends having fun in the city

“I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
Psalm 139:14

We live in a culture of constant comparison. Someone tweets that they just had lunch at a fab restaurant; you had canned tuna and raw carrots. Not even baby carrots but a big ole carrot out of the bag.

Someone posts an Instagram of a gaggle of friends dressed in Lilly Pulitzer pink lunching by the lake, and you’re reading about it dressed in sweats, trudging down the grocery aisle with a snotty-nosed kid pawing at the cereal displays.

You pull up Facebook and read about Barb’s vacation in Paris, and you’re happy for her . . . sorta.

A woman looks at Pinterest boards, and comes away with her greatest fears confirmed: her kids look shabby, her house looks dumpy, and her clothes look frumpy.

Social media accentuates the culture of comparison by sending the false message that your monotonous tedious boring existence is a poor excuse for living compared to others whose lives are awesomely exciting all the time. Secretly you hope your husband never stumbles across Pinterest to realize what a loser of a wife he really has. Mercy!

Social media breeds instant comparison at the click of a button. Comparing who has more “Facebook friends,” “re-tweets,” “followers” and “re-pins” is maddening. The age-old comparisons of appearance, accomplishments, possessions, and position are still around. Technology has simply magnified the access to other people’s lives, even though you’re only seeing what others want you to see.

Then there’s Christmas letters. Photo cards of friends and family with letters detailing every wonderful milestone of the previous year. We read them and think, “My life stinks!” That letter doesn’t tell about Brian getting suspended from school for cussing in the classroom, Megan getting caught lying about studying at a friend’s house, Brie’s on-going battle with depression, Dad’s loss of a major account, or Mom’s twenty-pound weight gain. Just the highlights. Only the good stuff. We read it and say, “good for them.” All the while thinking, “what’s wrong with me?”

Comparison is the devil’s tool that he uses to undermine your confidence and kills contentment like nothing ever will. It magnifies insecurities and fosters a self-absorbed pre-occupation of your inadequacies. As one pastor said, “One of the main reasons we struggle with insecurity is that we’re comparing our behind-the-scenes with everybody else’s highlight reel.”

Comparison sullies the canvas upon which God longs to display His greatest work. Nothing will rob you of your confidence in Christ like comparison. The measuring stick will get you stuck every time.

I love what Jesus said when Peter asked about John’s future. (Yes, he was comparing his future with John’s) “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” (John 21:22) In other words, “It’s none of your business! Stop comparing!”

Have you ever wondered why Jesus picked such a ragtag bunch of blundering blubbering misfits to be his disciples? Even though they stumbled their way through much of the gospels, once they were filled with the Holy Spirit, this uneducated, unrefined, untrained bunch of unruly fishermen changed the world. A few days after Pentecost, the Jewish Supreme Court questioned Peter and John about their persistence in preaching the gospel and their audacity to heal a beggar lame from birth.

The dynamic duo preached a mini-sermon that struck the religious rulers to the core. But here’s my favorite part of the entire scenario: When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

The Sanhedrin leaders were mystified at how this bunch of scrappy saw-toothed misfits could wax so eloquently. Then they had an ah-ha moment. They realized the men had been with Jesus. That explained everything.

That’s what I want people to say about me! She’s an unschooled ordinary girl. How does she do what she does? Oh, I get it. She’s been with Jesus! Can you think of any better accolade? I sure can’t.

Let go of the tendency to compare and take hold of your uniquely fashioned, pre-ordained, God-given talents and abilities. You are specifically equipped by God to do everything He has called you to do and to go through. Including being the mom your kids need.

Then when the world questions how you do what you do, they’ll say, “Oh I get it…she’s been with Jesus.”

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, help me not to compare myself with others, but to celebrate the way You created me! I will praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I know this full well. Now, help me to remember it!

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Think of all the ways you compared your life with others during the past five days.

Think of all the ways that others compared their lives to your life during the past five days. (You don’t think they did? Oh sister, they did. Believe me.)

Cain compared himself to his brother Abel. What did God have to say about that? Read Genesis 4:6-7.

Read Psalm 139:13-16. Spend some time thanking God for the unique way He created YOU!

 

More from the Girlfriends

Today’s devotion came from my latest book, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For: Let Go, Move Forward, Live Bold. Just as a trapeze artist who grabs hold of a second bar, but refuses to let go of the first, we can get stuck in our faith when we refuse to let go of all that holds us back. It’s time to let go of all that holds us hostage to a “less than” life…and that includes comparing ourselves to others. Let’s take hold of all that Jesus has already taken hold of for us and placed in us! Check it out at www.takeholdthebook.com where you can download a free chapter and watch a video book trailer. The book also comes with a Bible study guide. Make sure and sign up for my weekly blog to learn when the free on-line Bible study will begin in the fall.

 

 

The Missing Tooth

Much of what we think today comes from a misconceived perception
of what we are supposed to be or act like.

What does that mean?

 

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If we look today at what the media, television and the world in general have to say about who we are, we fall so short of “their” sorry expectations.

My husband made me stop to think a few weeks ago as we were heading to serve at our church for VBS.

During my journey this past year with my body not absorbing the calcium not only did I get a T6 & T12 back fracture, I also split one of my font teeth (same one in the photo above) vertically. The dentist could not save it and it had to be extracted. In my mind humiliating to have a front tooth gone.

I have a temporary partial I can wear and generally in public I do so folks don’t stare and point at me. Well one of the nights for VBS I was running out of the house and I forgot the partial, I was going to serve first graders without a front tooth. I panicked a bit and went back home to get it. I called my husband to let him know why I would be there late and to please let the teacher I was helping know I was coming.

I told him I was embarrassed to be there without my tooth. He so kindly and lovingly said to me, “Honey, missing a tooth does not define who you are.”

 

Beautiful spring background with Salvia farinacea Benth, Lavender flower, purple lavender flower

Wow! What a moment of eye opening awakening! I was allowing the “worlds perceived opinion” of me impact my evening. I stopped, took a deep breath and was gently reminded that I am:

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.

Psalm 139:14

If we as women of God are fearfully & wonderfully made, why do we look at what the “world” has to say about us?

It is time women of God to take your power back and act like you are the daughter of a King, you my friend are royalty! So put on your crown and show the world the amazing God we serve, the amazing Father we have in heaven and out loving Savior who sent His Son for you and I.

When Doors Don’t Open

I love to share awesome things with our Cafe’ so here is an article I read this month that really seemed to be a great one to share with everyone. The timing may be perfect with summer rapidly approaching us and with the heat rising tempers seem to do the same. We find ourselves on a shorter fuse sometimes and we need that little reminder to stop and think just how what we say, do or how we act will impact those in our lives.

I truly pray you enjoy today’s post, be sure to share below if it resonated with you!

 

Two young female friends laugh and eat chocolate outdoors

 

Today’s Truth: I will never leave you nor forsake you. Joshua 1:5

Friend to Friend

The morning had been hectic and they were running late because the baby needed a last minute diaper change. Tara needed to get all three kiddos loaded up and to the car pool location quickly, but for some strange reason the back doors of her van would not open. She tried her clicker. She tried the key. She tried jiggling the lock.

Anxiousness started to well up in her heart.

“You’ve got to be kidding me!” She grumbled loudly while trying to open the back doors of her minivan. “This is NOT what I need right now!”

The kids began to sense the tension and take on the stress for their own.

“What’s wrong, mommy?”

“The back doors aren’t opening and we’re gonna be late! That’s what’s wrong!”

Pressed for time and strongly annoyed, Tara told the kids to get in through the front door and had them crawl back to settle into their car seats. As she started the car she was aware of her agitation and didn’t like it.

Taking a deep breath, Tara began to recognize the stress for what it was. She remembered the Bible verse that is written on the chalkboard in their kitchen. Spoken from the lips of Jesus Himself, the words flooded her heart…

2Peter-Jude-Dec18In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

Yes. They were having trouble getting a few doors open, but it was nothing that Jesus couldn’t help her handle. Calmed and cooled by the red-lettered love, Tara made an empowered decision … and a very cool minivan ministry moment followed that went something like this:

“Okay, guys! Here we go!” Tara began. “That was a bit stressful and I’m sorry for raising my voice. I’m not sure why the doors didn’t open, but we aren’t going to let it mess up our day. We can choose to let this situation get the best of us, or we can get the best of the situation by asking God to bring peace to our anxiousness. Remember the verse on the kitchen chalkboard? Jesus said that in this world we’re going to have trouble. Sometimes doors don’t open, but He’ll help us! Jesus told us to “take heart” because He has overcome the world.”

Then, from the back of the van her eight-year-old theologian son piped up and joined the sacred conversation.

“Yeah! And Jesus said that He’ll never leave us or forsake us. God is always with us, mom!”

From. The. Lips. Of. A. Child.

God is always with us.

What began as a chaotic and stressful drive to school became a celebration of the presence of God. It was a devotion-on-wheels that began with a door that wouldn’t open. A beautiful memory that started with stress but was changed by the grace of Jesus, our Overcomer.

Sometimes doors don’t open for us. We don’t always get the position we want, the response we want, the admiration we want, or the health we want. But with every closed door comes an opportunity of response. When Tara invited God into her frustration and opened her heart to His presence the tension transitioned to peace.

A few minutes after the “stuck door debacle” they arrived at the carpool line to pick up the other children. Tara figured she’d try again. She pressed the button to unlock the back doors, and this time they opened with no resistance.

A smile spread across her face as this thought danced in Tara’s mind. If the back doors had opened a few moments earlier, we would’ve lost the opportunity to celebrate God’s peace and our time of sacred conversation would never have happened.

With that in mind she thanked God for the doors that didn’t open as she drove the kids to school.

I don’t always respond perfectly in stressful situations. And Tara readily admits that she doesn’t either. But when we choose to turn our frustrations and disappointments over to God He gives us the grace we need to experience His peace in the midst of pressure.

Let’s Pray

Lord, Thank You for reminding me that You are dependable, available, and willing to help at all times. Please guide me toward Your grace when I grumble. Teach me to turn to You when I’m stressed so that others would see Your joy and peace in me.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Read Psalm 37. What verses in the chapter resonate with your heart today? What doors are not opening in your life that have you frustrated? Grab your journal and a pen and write a prayer of response. Not a journal girl? No worries. Swing over to my blog or Facebook page and write it there!

Thank you for this great message from our friends at Girlfriends In God:

More from the Girlfriends

I Want It ALL is now available! This new book by Gwen Smith will help narrow the gap between average ordinary living and the not-so-ordinary promises of God found in His Word. We are meant to be women of impact who expect great things and move in the power and grace of Jesus. That’s the message of I Want It ALL. Order yours today from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBook.com or your favorite retailer.

What “Chewbacca Mom” Can Teach Us…

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I was reading some articles this morning and found one from one of my favorite resources iBloom.

This video was one of the best ones I have seen hit the internet in a long time. I even paused it to grab my husband to watch it and we laughed until we cried. Candace was hysterical sharing her new found Chewbacca mask with the world…well her friends on Facebook. She had no idea how far it would go…

 

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I wanted to share some really important points that Jen Bennett made in the article here as it pertains to why we sometimes find ourselves stuck and unable to move forward in our life/business.

Here is what Jen had to say in her article:

After going live, she soon found herself in a position that she couldn’t even imagine. She not only ended up shattering the record for most Facebook Live Video Views; a record that was recently held by Buzzfeed, but she touched and impacted the lives of MILLIONS of people.  Today, her live video has over 3 million shares.

What can her video teach us about social media?

  • We must stop worrying about what other people think: The one thing I hear from business owners as to why they are not getting active with live video on social media, is that they worry far too much about what other people will think. They worry that they will stumble upon their words. They worry about saying the right or wrong things. They worry about how they look. And it’s these worries that turn into the “what will people think” worry; a worry that ultimately keeps them from sharing.One look at Payne’s video and you will see that she could care less about what other people think; she’s just being herself. And by being herself, the world has come to love her.
  • We don’t have to make things difficult: The thought of social media, especially live video, truly scares some people. They worry about having the right equipment, the right lighting, the right background and the right tools. But truthfully, we are making it way too difficult.When you look at Payne’s video, you will see that she shot her video from her car! There was no studio, no background lights, no makeup check, etc. She had an idea and decided to move forward with it by sharing it with the world, using the one tool that she had, her phone.
  • We have to be comfortable with who we are: This is what I love most about Payne’s video; she is comfortable in her skin. She’s not worried about looking a certain way and she’s not worried about what people will think when they hear her laugh; she’s just comfortable with who God created her to be. She’s being her true authentic self, instead of trying to be “perfect.”Far too often we try to make everything just right before we even think about sharing ourselves on social media. If our outfit isn’t perfect, our hair and/or our makeup, then we just won’t do it. But as you can see, if you are real and authentic and have a message to share, the world will listen. And truthfully, perfectionism is the one thing that holds so many of us back. Aiming for perfectionism means that we are not comfortable with who we are. The fear of not doing something perfect causes us to step back and do nothing. The world would much rather connect with someone who is authentic and not perfect.

So today, I want you to think about how this relates to you and your business:

  • Do you worry too much about what other people will think?
  • Are you trying to make things more difficult than what they need to be?
  • Are you comfortable with who you are, or are you wasting precious time trying to be perfect?

Take some time to work through these questions and then, do something about it. And if I may, I would like to challenge YOU to do a Facebook Live Video. Why? Because if the enemy can hold you back from sharing your expertise, your wisdom, your stories, your true authentic self, then he knows that he can keep you from being used fully for the Kingdom of God. And honestly, what better way then to let him know that he has no control over you, then by moving forward with a Facebook Live Video?

PS: If you decide to take me up on this challenge, post your link below; I would LOVE to watch it and send some encouragement your way!


About Jen Bennett:

555fa49996b2ffe023ee98504c755a7cDr. Jen Bennett is the Inspirational Communication Specialist and Project Manager at iBloom. Jen’s passion is helping businesses, ministries and individuals, #BeWorthFollowing. Jen enjoys speaking, training, and writing on all things that inspire and help leaders build a digital footprint and personal brand that is different and that helps them stand out and influence people in a crowded and noisy social media world.