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The Compulsion to Compare

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
May 17, 2020 9:00 pm

The Compulsion to Compare

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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May 17, 2020 9:00 pm

Shannon Popkin, author of the book "Comparison Girl," talks about her ongoing struggle to compare herself to others. Popkin remembers how the need to compare started and explains how insecurity often fuels the desire to have more. Popkin reminds us what Jesus says about comparing ourselves to others and gives us the steps for overcoming this annoying practice.

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Lighting Your Way
Lighthouse Baptist
Lighting Your Way
Lighthouse Baptist
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Lighting Your Way
Lighthouse Baptist
Grace To You
John MacArthur

Comparison is a trap that can cause us to think poorly of ourselves. Or as Shannon Popkin points out, it can also lead to self-righteousness in the church, especially we have this Hannah looking at others with this sense of disgust so disgusted with my synovitis and I'm so disgusted like the get pedestal and Amy have this when we look at other people and we cannot communicate disgust without also communicating something about ourselves without communicating a sense of superiority on this many fairs to me elevating myself and in this is so facets of what Jesus causes to this his family like today. Our hosts are Damon and Wilson on Bob Lapine bond us are you someone who is prone to comparing yourself to others, and he recognized the dangerous potential of that talk more about it today with Shannon Popkin was welcome to family life today. Thanks for joining us. You you guys on social media. I follow you on some stuff so your twitter all over the twitter, twitter you not posted a whole lot, thanks. My coming times a week do you think you put something on Instagram three or four times a day.

No, no, no, not yet know the yes so maybe times a week nicely. We never did this and then when Zondervan. They said you said you gotta be on his radio so you feel the same way every time I who really cares will you and right now, but you know what their people and then heralded her care and in fact the thing about Instagram. I know you go about it ties exactly an hour to talk about today. Last week we we talked with Shannon Popkin about the issue of control and how that can be an issue for men and women but particularly for wives and for moms there's a second issue and and Instagram is fueling it in our day.

Oh boy, that's the issue of comparison. So DR you want Instagram do you check Instagram once a day at last at least and and when you're looking at all these other pictures, what you think and I can tell you what she's thinking thinking I wish my husband would do that to our kitchen honey liquid Joe, did you know Joe isn't as all this look at it without comparing everything. Whether it's your house, your home, your kids, your husband, all of them well and and recently at the back. Last fall I think it was that Instagram said were not to hide from your followers. How many likes you got smart. They were recognizing that this was a drug and edits to the whole issue of comparison which were to talk about this week.

Shannon Popkin is joining us again. Welcome back ;-) Shannon wrote the book control girl which we talked about last week. She's got a brand-new book out called comparison girl and and it wasn't Instagram that drove you to this book but you know what were talking about absolutely you want Instagram and you look at it. Does that same comparison thing yeah will open lately, so when did you realize that you were comparison girl think I've always struggled with comparison. I have my earliest childhood memory has little threads of comparison in it. They say that your first memory can assess something about you, you know, for the fact that sticks out in my first memory is being in church and I was sitting in the row ahead of my parents that may say something to my One-A-Day and I was steaming tile and I was holding my hand looking I was singing out really loud and then there was this woman he kind of leaned forward from the row behind me. She took my hand and she flipped it right side up, that I did not like that. She pointed out that I was doing something wrong and so I took my hymnbook and I flipped away like this is the way I write this, and so I think you would a four-year-old be concerned about being exposed as illiterate in me that I don't want anyone to point out any way that I am ever inadequate you. My heart is just hands on this perfectionism. I want everyone to see me as perfect and that the threads of what was in my little four-year-old South are still in me to know why you said that I feel so exposed that someone would think that my house is in perfect or that many marriages and perfect or middle aged woman who I struggle with my weight went to another kind of normal. These things that I struggle with. I think it's kind of the normal things of life and yet I'm perfectionism and being seen in the eyes of other people as as having I identify with everything you're saying here's the crazy part is that all of us as women have usually struggled with this in some form or another and what it does is it alienates us from one another so sad because I look at when I think look at the power and strength that we have if we can lock arms with one another and yet were hiding from each other and really hiding. We are men struggle with nausea say of course we do. I mean this is as a preacher and both of us preach that our churches in world enough to know back in the day when we would preach nobody compared us to very few other people didn't hear anybody else you know, unless they went to another church. I came back that is get really good now look at me like we got listen to him when we could listen to Piper say you're competing with that every day you talk about comparison I you never measure up here something that I found for myself I'm comparison aware in areas that I really value in areas that I don't value.

It's like no big deal. So I look out of my go if somebody is a better ping-pong player. It's nice, that's cool.

And I can cheer him on, but if I aspire to be a really good ping-pong player. That's where yeah I do get down to the minutia. I have a situation not long ago where I was hearing about a guy who had been invited to be an MC at an event.

I was thinkable when they asked me a really good kind of what I did but the point is, yet in those situations where you do aspire to be good at something, the comparison monster shows up it's true for both men and women.

I think though, again, for when we talked about this with control last week. I think there's something about a woman's psyche where she may be more bent and more prone toward this comparison issue and feeling you say it's like a drug.

The more you taste it, the more competitive the more you wanted and you can get sucked in really useful you now your your reading Martha Stewart magazine and on what is my kitchen look like this and you're getting them the magazines I got the pictures women you know I don't I look like this and it's all of these things coming together and just put you under the pile can last throughout your whole lifetime.

You know you start comparing as a young man with a new baby and then you go into a mom of teenagers are a mom and grandma and their kids are. You start in a new position in your comparing yourself with all the other new hires and then by the retirement party you're still comparing yourself with the others you are retiring. It's this problem that the more we compare the more we want to compare and it is not producing anything remotely healthy or unhappy in our hearts its history. One of the things I've noticed you mentioned this in the book is when you get stuck in the comparison trap again. It could be women could be men, it causes you not to be thankful or content or content I can. I can remember it's a long time ago but never walking up to Detroit lion player in the locker room right after the newspaper. It said he signed a new deal your chaplain for the light out 33 years 730 lines all these years and he's a good friend and that's interesting thing about pro athletes. We know their salaries are so strange, but I do and so I just read this I walk up to him. He's a strong believer like the leader of our ministry in the locker room. I said to man, aren't you just thankful to God for your deal you just got of signing bonus.

I use the number but I was like, look how God has blessed you and he looked at me yeah but did you see what this guy got another team and to Mike, really because I was happy for like an hour and then I read what it he said the guy same position different team he goes I'm struggling to be grateful because I should be the most thankful gun really goes and what happened.

Compare I was great until I saw it. Some else got until you lose gratitude to talk about the lobotomy and how does that work for women because I know works that way for man, but do you find the same thing and in a woman's life when I'm in the trap of comparison I lose perspective.

Yes, absolutely, and tunnel vision and in others, and I mean like it's easy for me to see these football players you comparing Michael why can't you just be grateful it's really hard for me to see myself falling into the same trap of comparing and sideways, glancing, and not just grateful he could praise God has given me so that's why can't I just beat. We think the fair that he is in your book you outlined a number of areas where comparison shows up in your life and in the life of a lot of women you talk about comparing sins it's comparing sins, but comparing righteousness. At the same time it's looking at others in thinking what your sin is worse than mine or I'm I'm holier than you or I wish I was as holy as you. It's that whole comparison it's evaluating our spiritual lives by looking at other people stuck for a women's group recently and I asked them to raise their hand on their favorite chapter in the book and I was kind of worried about this. Comparing sins chapter had enough. Everybody else stated as much, as I was doing that most of the women were interested in and looking at and reading especially. I think as Christians we tend to compare our righteousness or our sin with others and you in the church, especially we have this habit of looking at others with this sense of disgust so disgusted with my son for this or I'm so disgusted like the cat that is so, and we have this when we look at other people and in his book, age of outrage. Ed Stetzer says we cannot communicate disgust without also communicating something about ourselves without communicating a sense of superiority that we can't look down at others with discuss without lifting ourselves up this me first to me elevating myself and in this is so facets of what Jesus cause us to the comparison of my sins and your sins. I'm in my experiences that I tend to minimize what are my against the areas where I I'm not as prone to assume or don't have the same temptations. I tend to blow those up as the really bad things that other people do without recognizing that what the Bible says is all sin is ultimately rebellion against God and against his goodness and his purposes so well.

We can't say all sins are equal in terms of their damage that they do to us or to others. All sins are equal in terms of what they're saying about who God is about who we are there all rebellion against yeah yeah think I'm looking at what Jesus say about comparison. What is he saying to people who are comparing and there are lots of instances where people are comparing their sin with someone else's sin in the Gospels.

One of those is when Simon is hosting this dinner and there's the sinful woman, who comes and sees, weeping at Jesus feet and has some sort of looking down at her with disgust and then Jesus says something Sadie and Jesus tells this little story, and he tells a story about two people, one of them has a lot of debt.

The other one has a little bit of debt. Both of them that are in debt and they can't pay off their debt and so in a sense, Jesus is putting Simon and this woman side-by-side in the story, and he saying this woman. She has a lot more sin than you, but you both are in exactly the same situation where you have a debt that you cannot pay and and so for Simon to look down on her. He's not recognizing his own and how many times and we looked down at something else.

Ascent were ignoring our own condition. We are men and women heal Liz with this enormous debt of our own sin.

Whether it's minimal or a lot of sin.

None of us can face guide her face eternity based on her own merit. We are all in a desperate situation. The think women tend to look at their sin as I'm above the other people or as for myself I usually have looked at myself in the past this. I'm way worse elsewhere where we hit what I think maybe we we try to deal with our sense of inadequacy. I looking for a way we try to douse that inadequacy with pride like location is a way that I know I'm superior just intuitively, our hearts look for ways because we hate. That is, inadequacies, and we either think of ourselves like to like me as a four-year-old I don't think that I have any files I want everyone to think of me is perfect and so as Christian women. Sometimes I think we tend to think okay.

I'm really good person something to focus on then makes you feel better if I look at these other center but it's not healthy that's not producing anything good in our hearts. You talk about what you call sideways discussed explain what that is. It's just like constantly looking to the side and in looking at other people. I feel like I'm looking at them. The ultimately and looking at myself and in measuring myself against them. Even so concerned about this. This discussed factor I, in the church really grown comfortable with communicating disgust towards people who are outside the church are even those inside the church same bandits and friends to do a discussed factor challenge with me so he went three weeks and we just kind of monitored our faces in her voice times and are her attitudes for little signs of disgust and it was all over the place in reliance. We were so surprised at some of the things and not just right and wrong. They were just differences like different preferences, we tend to want to group up with the people who look like us and heal you to live in the same neighborhoods with us or go to the same kind of denomination and we cast the sideways discussed at the people who are not like us Pinot and the church of Jesus Christ. Every person is celebrated, the church is the most diverse group of people that ever was to exist.

The church stands every ethnic backgrounds.

Every income bracket every generation. The church is the most diverse and unified group. It's not uniform. You know, there would be no need for unity if everyone was uniform in the church. Church is completely diverse and you are unity forms as we celebrate our differences. That's what the churches must be like no place for discussed yeah and what you think that comes from this discussed me when you say that were all cigar had gone. I've done it. I felt it but worsened me feel it from others.

As I've done it to others and you mentioned earlier think a lot of people out there outside the church. That's one of the reasons they don't come they don't feel welcome. They feel sort of a judgmental comparison I so where does that come from.

I know we talked last week about the control thing being tied back to a curse word you think the comparison gene because it's it's human, where words come from think it's that the world system that we live in, and there is a ruler of this dark age and he has set up a world system where she invites us to measure ourselves and compare ourselves back story to Satan, but from what we can gather Satan had authority and prestige in heaven. He was a leader and yet he was not content with. He said that he wanted to be lifted up. She wanted to be like the most high DC that comparison word like the city as a created being to compare himself with God and want to be on par with God and that was the beginning of his file. Jesus said he fell like a streak of lightning to this world and he didn't land on our planet with some new meekness. Satan is a liar and he cannot embrace the truth and so she lives out the solution that somehow he is God's arrival, and on the heat, he tries to compete with God and he throws attacks at God by turning to access he comes after us and and he tries to lure us into the same behavior of him like he wanted to lift himself up, and that's what he intends us to do the same. He wants us to lift ourselves up to constantly be measuring ourselves and in he invites us to prove that we are enough that we have enough that we are better than others and and then when we can't prove that he seems us right and says you don't measure up in either way, he just tempts us into this continual trap and bondage of measuring ourselves is really like the discussed part of comparison that you just got it is really rooted in the national religion of hell yeah Gordon CS Lewis so there's a sense that I'm better and yet if I'm completely humble it's the opposite.

No one would feel disgust from me they would feel graceful and they be drawn in first John has a verse that talks about loving the world, the things of the world and the goes on to talk about the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes. The boastful pride of life, you ask where this comes from the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes.

The boastful pride of life.

It's the comparison with other people who trace that back to when Satan came to Eve in the garden and showed her the fruit it says it look good to her. It was desirable. She saw this would make me wise.

So it was appealing to her pride to her ability and our comparison is that there's something inside of us that we will be esteemed. We want people to look at us and think were better than we are. Think were all wet bag of chips right.

We want folks to to think highly of us and we think the way to do that is through through self aggrandizement.

Rather than saying that what Jesus said if you want to be great in the kingdom you become the servant of all. And that's when God looks and says there's a great one right there. Amazing how people are so drawn to Jesus because he was humble and he's got he's the creator of the universe and yet he drew everyone to him. The sinners, the meek, the broken, sick, and he healed them. He loved them. He bent to them, and yet you compare the Pharisees to Jesus, who are the legalists who were always in comparison. Yeah, I wonder who we are and who we should become in the church is Jesus. Yeah this comparison girl that the subtitle is lessons from Jesus on me free living in a measure up around and so I die just studied all of those different places, like you mentioned Bob where Jesus gives an upside down version of comparison that he came inviting us to be part of his kingdom and he saying you know, in this kingdom. It's not like the kingdom of this for the kingdom of this world and the ideal is to measure out to have more to be more in my kingdom. It's upside down. The greatest is the servant lust. Every one of the areas that you say is a comparison pitfall in your book comparison Grover talking to Shannon Popkin about this. You you talk about wealth being a comparison issue. Certainly in our culture. We've all talked about keeping up with the Joneses and and being aware of the neighbor gets a new car instead of going good for them.

We think when we get a new car right right yeah Tim Keller says that you don't know your greedy if you are and what is really convicting to me really talk about ourselves as being blessed you know when we have wealth but were blessed. But what if we just been tested.

What if God was saying, you know, as you have opportunity to pad your bank account or pad your purse, are you you love me with that many you can love yourself. I can use that wealth I can use it to measure yourself against others and to be seen as superior. Are you can give away your wealth Marine that part about the camel in the needle and for the first time I recognizing what candles really big and in the Avenida is really small and if I have wealth it means I have that sort of stacked against me, my wealth is actually not too many of the intents.

It puts me at a disadvantage.

It keeps pulling me into measuring myself and trying to prove that I'm superior and the only way to break free from that is to give money away. That's what frees me of this type of comparison, and then also thinking about the fact that when I take my measuring cup full of money and I tip it out and I pour my wealth out every little bit is collected in the place where where moth and rust cannot destroy us very motivating.

Are you going to Midland when when you said what if instead of looking at his blessing.

We looked at it as a test I don't know that I've ever thought of that, that God gives you wealth and it may be to say okay let's see what you do with this.

Let's see how your godliness is going to manifest itself in. This is a gonna be well I'm sure lucky I can do things other people can't do or is a gonna be in generosity and kingdom focused living. I remember pastor one time saying most of us look at our bank account and we say how much of what we have or will share with God. Instead of saying how much of what God is given to us a real keeper ourselves dollars a whole different perspective if we say okay this is not my money. This is God's money, how much of it do I keep for myself because it all belongs to God. How much does he want me to spend on me. How much does he want me to spend on advancing his kingdom and wind of the really radical instead of comparing our wealth to our neighbor because were always like I would. I hope I have more. What if we compared Goodwin said I hope I can be the most generous. Jesus invites us to compare and that way to member the story of the widow at the at the temple and she brought her two little copper cleans and that day the temple would give a widow I'm two coins per day for her bread for the day and so this woman is basically saying you want to manifest today to give generously.

Many go without for it is interesting she had to contend she could've given one for herself that she was so generous and Jesus says in response that he calls his disciples over and get her look at her. She has given more than all the rest of these and so is this interesting thing that Jesus invites us to compare in a way that inspires us not to measure ourselves against each other. But let's be inspired by the generosity of this woman and and you he lifts her up.

She had herself so drastically and yet he lifts her up and inlets inspired by the people around us.

You are generous to the point comparison can be corrosive and toxic, or if were comparing ourselves to what God called us to. It can be inspiring and it can be something that's motivating to say my goal is to be like Jesus dollars a comparison that we are always gonna fall short of but when that's our goal, not for our glory, but for God's glory. That's a whole different kind of comparison, and that's why the subtitle your book is so like learning from Jesus on me free living in a measurable world. This is not about how do I look good. It's about how does God look good.

How does he look good through me.

How do I glorify him. I'm guessing that may be more than a few of our listeners wrestle with this issue of comparison. Get a copy of Shannon's book, and maybe go through some other women. You can order Sherman's book from us or you can call to order one 800, FL, today is the number again.

Our website is family life to, the number to call to order Shannon Popkin's book comparison girl is 1-800-358-6329 that's one 800 F is in family L as in life and in the word today about the next couple of weeks are to be pretty significant for us here at family life. You've heard us. Maybe mention the fact that we've had some friends of the ministry who come along and offered to match every donation we received during the month of May, dollar for dollar up to a total of $345,000.

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When you make a donation today and we so appreciate you look forward to hearing from you. Thanks in advance for whatever you're able to do that tomorrow were going to talk more about comparison talk about how we can follow the trap of comparing our kids to other people's kids will join us again tomorrow and join us as well. Think our engineer today along with our entire broadcast action on behalf of our hosts Dave and Van Wilson about being Sue back tomorrow for another edition of family life, family life today is a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas. Accrue ministry help for today hope for tomorrow

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