I read it again, this time emphasizing the “is” and “is” before following it up with an emphasis on the educationally-effective, negative commands.
In the devotional book, Sandra Stanley writes:
“When I compare myself to someone who seems to have more, I lean into envy. When I compare myself to someone who has less, I open myself to the temptation of boastfulness and pride.”
My reminders and my takeaways for today include:
…I can be patient
…I can be kind
…I do not need to envy others
…nor, do I need to boast to them
…I do not have to allow pride to puff me up
…stop comparing my perceptions of having more or having less
…I need to focus more on genuinely loving others as He desires me to do so
…real love = real growth in me through Him.
In the Challenge for today, Sandra reminds me that it’s easy to allow thoughts to drift in the direction of envy and pride. She also says that “it’s so much more difficult to intentionally speak words of kindness and patience.”
Not only do I want to intentionally speak words in this way, I want to be able to naturally think this way. Wow, I have a lot of work to do on the inside, so that what flows outward is true and genuine.
The Challenge helped me to take the words from the verse, and it made them real and action-oriented in relation to getting me to think about how I will embrace them as I grow my walk with God and with others.
I want to move toward being more of who it is He is calling me to be.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting some of my insights and takeaways from a Bible Study called the Comparison Trap.
The study, written by Sandra Stanley and containing video lessons by her and her husband Andy, is about helping women to recognize the trap of comparing ourselves to others. It’s a 28-day devotional with four video lessons.
The study uses weekly video lessons and group discussion to kick off seven days of devotional time. A Scripture verse, a reading, and a daily challenge help women to discover the ugliness of comparing ourselves to others.
“Ugliness” might sound like a strange word to use to describe the discoveries, but it seems fitting at this point in the study (one of my own takeaways). Comparing ourselves to others leaves us feeling as though we are not enough, don’t have enough and can’t achieve enough, and it can also leave us feeling like we’re better than others or as though they have fallen short. …either option is pretty ugly, right?
Comparison also gets in the way of what God wants for us and how He’d have us walk with Him. It gets in the way of us being able to recognize where we are on our journey through life and why we are here. Comparison gets in the way of a lot, and there’s no win in comparison.
Last night kicked off a four-week, five-session journey with 43 women venturing into the Comparison Trap and some of life with one another. Feel free to check in with me as I share some of my own insights, some of our groups’ takeaways and some of the life change experienced along the way.
Since today is my first post from the study, I wanted to also share some of what our group experienced last night at the start of our short-term group.
Our time together started with each of the women choosing a photo Story Card which reminded them of something they wanted but didn’t have in their life right now. We, then, took 30 seconds to say our name, describe our card, and then share why we chose that card. This can be an intimidating idea to share—even for 30 seconds—in a room full of women (who are apt to start the trap of comparing), but I’ve always been awed at how many women step forward to share a hope or a wound. God starts relationships and takes steps toward healing in these moments.
Andy Stanley’s video lesson brought us to the Land of Er, where we see other women who are rich-er, skinny-er, happy-er, smart-er or more married-er. See! It can get ugly!
He pointed out that “there’s no win in comparison” in the Land of Er.
This led us into Ecclessiastes 4:4-6 where Solomon outlines some of the ugliness and frustrations of where comparison can take us.
And I saw that all toil and all achievement
spring from one person’s envy of another.
This too is meaningless,
a chasing after the wind. Fools fold their hands and ruin themselves.
Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.
Andy asked us to participate in an exercise where we have one hand open—ready to receive and give—and to have the other hand clenched tight. Choosing to live more open-handed can bring us satisfaction, contentment and peace, but living closed-off and tight-fisted can leave us feeling like a fool, at a loss within our circumstances, and missing out on the peace we so often seek.
My takeaways were many, and my page of notes was full. I look forward to the journey through this study as a facilitator, as a participant, and as a woman seeking God’s heart, His hope, and His will in my life.
If you’d like to watch the video, you can download the Comparison Trap app to get started. Better yet, buy the book and DVD, ask a few friends to join you in your family room, and start the study while doing life together.
In case you are wondering, the answer is “no.” I do not work for or with this company, nor have they asked for my posts or endorsements. I’m facilitating a journey for others and walking through it myself. I’m just taking some time to be real to share some of it with you.