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How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others: Amberly Neese

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
December 28, 2023 5:15 am

How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others: Amberly Neese

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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December 28, 2023 5:15 am

Struggling with comparison? Author Amberly Neese emphasizes the importance of community and creating a safe space where people can be seen, heard, and supported. Learn practical ways to find a community that will lift you up.

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And grab Amberly Neese's book, The Belonging Project

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Hi, I'm Amberley Nease, speaker, author, comedian, and huge fan of family life. The Bible tells us that those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. And the truth is, when I need a good refreshment, I absolutely find family life to be exactly what the good doctor ordered. It's great encouragement. It's great wisdom. It is also the truths of God in the stories that you hear and the encouragement that you receive.

And so December is a big month for family life. And we are counting on people like you and me who have been touched by the ministry of family life and who want to be generous and who want to refresh others in the name of Jesus. And so I challenge you, as I challenge myself, be the blessing. Be the one who refreshes others. And I know indeed you will be refreshed in the meantime.

Thanks so much, Amberley. And if you want to be refreshed and refresh others, you can give right now at Just click on the donate now button at the top of the page. And now's a great time to donate because of the generosity of some partners.

Every gift given will be doubled up to $3 million. Again, head over to and click on donate now. The question is for you and me as believers, are we willing to leave the comfort of our schedules and our agendas long enough to see people who are asking for help? Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Shelby Abbott, and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. You can find us at

This is Family Life Today. Okay, let me start out by asking you a question. Asking me a question. Okay, so you were a college athlete.

Oh, I just love letting people know that. It was just a few years ago. But as a quarterback, you were injured. You had to have surgery on your knee, and your best friend and backup replaced you. Now, let me ask you, did you hope that he would play really, really well?

No. You didn't? What did you hope? I would love to say I wanted the team to win and Mark to do great. And Mark could be listening right now. But yeah, deep inside, I was like, I hope he just throws four interceptions and breaks his ankle, and I'm back in next week.

Joe Montana. There was definitely a part of me that wanted him to do well, because I love Mark, and he was a great guy and still we're friends. But there was a part of me that I wanted to be the man.

I wanted the whole team to go, we got to have Dave back. When our son was playing. Why are you asking that? Because when our first of all, our son was playing football in college and high school. If he was hurt and another guy had his place, I am embarrassed to say, oh, I hope he does horrible. I hope the whole team is like, we can't even play without Cody Wilson. And then I would think, what is wrong with me?

I am so sinful. So why are you bringing this up? Because we're going to be talking about The Belonging Project with Amber Lee Nies. She's back with us in this studio. Amber Lee, welcome back. I'm so glad to be here.

She was already laughing, jumping in. I know, I love it. I'm laughing. And we're talking about this because you have a mentality that you talk about in your workbook called crab mentality.

Yes. So zoologists will be able to tell you that there is this interesting thing that both crabs and lobsters will do. This crab mentality that if a crab is stuck in a confined area, let's say a pot as it were, I do love to eat crabs.

So I put them in a pot. I'm like, who in the world? I've never heard of this in my life.

I find it in your book, The Belonging Project. I'm like, what in the world? I know. Look it up. Look it up. It is so crazy.

But what's so interesting is when you put them in a pot, if one like makes its way up and you think might actually escape, the others will drag it down. And it's so easy for us, the Pharisee and us to say like, oh, that is terrible. That's the worst thing I've ever heard.

But I've seen it in humans all the time. And to be honest with you, it may not have been football because we don't, you know, I love, I love to watch football, even though I'm a Cowboys fan, so I shouldn't love to watch football, but I do. But I will tell you that there's still parts of me that think, oh, you even had a guest in earlier who is wildly successful and does such incredible things by the grace of God. And I find myself saying like, huh, when I look at her book sales and my book sales, I wish I could say that. I'm like, oh, I'm praying for her. I just want the best for her. No, I want to squish her like a bug because she's outselling me. You know what I mean?

But in order to practice biblical community, we have to root for the rise of others. We have to be willing to say it's kind of like a mixing sports analogies. It's kind of like a sacrifice bunt. I was a hitter when I played softball. I was a hitter. And so very rarely, you know, I was the one that got the home runs. Oh, I'd be hitting the bunt. Right. So when the coach would say sacrifice bunt, it was like a thousand day death.

Like it was the worst ever. And I would think, oh, that's so terrible. But why do you sacrifice bunt?

Because you want the team to win and you want another teammate to advance. And as the body of believers, we got to think like that. We've got to be willing to look at Philippians 2. Jesus was all about the sacrifice bunt. He did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. He was willing to make himself a servant to do the sacrifice bunt.

Why? So the kingdom could advance so that other people could continue to do great things. So if we're going to live in biblical community, if we're going to thrive in biblical community and find that tribe, we have to be willing to put that pride aside and get rid of the comparison error where we're looking at other people and really think, be Christ minded when we look at other people. I was speaking at a women's event in this beautiful church in Southern California. And it was a couple of day event there at the church. And I showed up on the first day and I went straight to the coffee bar. Those of you who know me, I'm so thankful whoever made coffee, I'm so glad that God made them.

So give praise. So I go straight to the coffee bar and there's one lady sitting there and I fill up my coffee mug. I said, hello, how are you? She said, I'm fine.

I mean, the sigh was like, whatever. And I said, are you looking forward to this event? And she said, not really, no. And I said, okay. And I'm thinking, wow, my self esteem is around here somewhere. She said, no, I'm the speaker.

It doesn't matter. And I said, what is your name? And she said, Debbie. And I said, well, what are you hoping to get out of this Debbie? And she said, honestly, my husband died a couple of years ago and I promised my son that if he found a church that I would try it out with him.

I mean, this is what I'm hearing. And I said, oh, okay, well, I hope this exceeds your expectations. I hope you have an amazing weekend.

I hope God really blesses you this weekend. And I leave that little alcove and I come around the corner and there's a table with ladies of all ages sitting there. They're just laughing and having a really grand time. So I went back and I said, hey, Debbie, can you follow me? And she was like, yeah, sure. And I said, will you grab a chair? And she said, what are we doing? I said, you're following me, grab a chair. So she grabbed a chair and I took the chair from her and I plopped it in front of these ladies. And I said, hi, ladies, you don't know me from Adam.

This is my friend, Debbie. We go back about four and a half minutes and I think she would be a great fit for this group. They were like, oh, sure. Yeah, absolutely. Okay. I mean, they brought her in.

It was so beautiful to watch the body of Christ work this way. Yes, of course. Have her sit. So she sat, she looked at me like deer in headlights, like, what are you doing to me? And I was like, bye, have fun. And so I go off and do whatever.

She finds me the next morning at the coffee bar. She said, did you know who those group of ladies were? And I said, no. And she said that the widow's ministry from this church.

No way. And she said, I have somebody sitting in with me at every meal today and just thank you so much. And I said, you know what?

It was so not me. It was just like, I don't know what it is, but I just felt like that was what needed to happen. And I was so blessed to be a witness to what those women did because it's so easy when we get comfortable with our people to feel like there's not room for more and there's not, you know, need for more. And so I feel so thankful that that is the case.

She got community, but it started, she was bitter, I'll be honest, but I feel like she was open and hungry for community. And I think we have to start and recognize our own need for community and that God has wired us for community. Fifty-two verses in the New Testament have one another, which to me is like one of those things when your parents would say a message a hundred times like, be good or be kind or, you know, wear clean underwear, whatever their thing was, you knew where their priorities were. The fact that fifty-two times in the New Testament we have the term one another, it's really important to the heart of God.

Well, it's interesting, you know, when you share that story, we're all in tears because of the power of community. I think we're in tears because look what God did because you didn't know those women, but also it's like we've all felt the loneliness and the longing of our heart for people. You know, as a pastor for several decades, we used to have different strategies and back in the 90s, most pastors would say, if you want to reach people, here's the progression. They're going to become believers and then they're going to get connected. That changed probably 25 years ago where we started to realize people aren't going to become believers unless they first belong. And so it's like, it's okay for them to come find community and then they're going to find Christ because the need in our souls, and you said it earlier in our other program, 61% feel lonely.

It's such a strong need. They aren't even interested in believing until they find somebody that sees them and knows them. Then they might want to go, what do you believe?

What is this community about? Then they come to faith. Is that sort of a thing that's happening because of our souls? I mean, God built us that way, but we long for belonging.

Absolutely. If we are going to make a difference in this generation, we need to be connectors, period. We need to be connected to a God and we need to know who we are in him.

We need to be connected to other people that make us bigger, faster and stronger. We have lots of hearts that just need someone to say, I see you and I want to connect you to a God who loves you. I think I was so broken for so many years because of my own pain and I didn't know how to let Jesus heal all of that. And so the more I connected to Jesus, the word, other women, I feel like he set me free. And when you're set free, you can start looking around and women are good at seeing each other if our eyes aren't focused on ourselves and our own pain. And so I think about that group of women, first of all, you saw her. I did. You saw her, you talked to her, you felt what she was feeling.

And then the Holy Spirit just prompted you to put her in this group. And that's what women can do. Men can do it too. But women, we have this sense of, oh, I see your pain.

I feel it too. You're dongles. We are dongles. I got that phrase from your book. I've never heard that before. When Apple products, when they started making some changes, there was this silly piece, this, I don't even know, it's probably the length of your index finger. This connecting piece that would take older technology and connect it with newer technology. One of my friends said, you know, that's a dongle. And I said, you just made that word up.

That's the craziest word. And no, it's a connector. And the more I thought about it, the more I thought that is our job as believers is to be a dongle for a lost world or for a world that is just hurting for us to be willing to be a safe place and to connect to them to the one who can do the healing. And then when that happens when, you know, it's this wonderful cycle that God has created where when we are a safe place and when we serve to connect people to God, then they are more apt to connect others to God and there it starts.

So I love that. So we are indeed dongles. And we're talking about this Bible study that you've written. And the first week, you have weeks, the first week is called Find One Another.

Why is that so important just to find each other? The first part of Find, it's like one of those, I don't know if you ever read Stormy O'Mardians, Power of a Praying Wife. I remember it was at a really tumultuous time in my marriage that I bought that book thinking, I'm going to buy this book and I'm going to change my husband. I'm going to pray his face right off. I'm just going to pray.

And you open it up and it's like, by the way, if you think this is going to change your husband, newsflash, it's about you. And I was like, I've never wanted to throw a book so much. Me too. I did throw it.

I remember where I was. This is dumb. Stupid.

I just spent $16.95 on this. Well, thanks for praying for us, please. Yeah, you're welcome. It's our pleasure. It's our pleasure. But the truth is, once I revisited the book, I realized that it was about me figuring out where I wasn't practicing the one and others in our marriage. It really was a wonderful self-discovery book.

Yes, I did end up getting to a place where I could pray for my husband, but I had some work that I needed God to do in me first. And I think that that's the part of Find. I think recognizing that we need people, and again, we live in a country that it is honored for you to not need anyone. I love being American.

I'm so thankful. But we have individuality down to a science and an art. And the gospel flies in the face of that and says, No, no, no, you were created for community. You were created in God's image who Father, Son and Holy Spirit is community.

You were created in that image. And so you need other people being willing to find your need, and then being willing to open yourself up and and explore some things. And in the book, I gave some really, I feel like practical things of how people can unpack that and to look at that. Things like interest groups, you know, find something you're passionate about that you feel like God fills your heart with joy when you do it.

And do that thing. For me, it's hiking with my dog. I am telling you, I feel so connected. I know it sounds so like, whoo, but I feel so connected when I when I hike, my body's moving. I'm listening to nature. I'm listening to a great podcast, which I know some people are like, you're not a hiker. You're listening to Family Life Today.

I am listening to Family Life Today. And taking my favorite golden doodle with me, I feel so connected. However, some of the most profound hikes for me is when somebody says, Hey, I've seen you here on this hill. We live by a beautiful hiking trail, where we live in Prescott, Arizona, when somebody says, Hey, do you mind if we hike together for a while? Just walking alongside somebody, you know, initially, I think, Oh, yeah, sure.

That'd be great. I would love to walk with you. When our bodies are moving and our mouths are moving. God does some incredible work in me and through me and despite me to others. So what was here's a personal question. What was going on in your marriage?

You said you were struggling your marriage when you picked up Stormy O'Martin's book. I thought, let's visit that. So we talked yesterday about knots. You got to be honest. You got to be real.

I do. Wow. Thank you so much for calling me on my stuff right here in front of God and no, my husband was struggling with ministry. We were coming out of a really difficult time ministry wise.

And I felt that in taking care of himself in trying to get to the bottom of some of those things with himself that I got left kind of high and dry. It literally felt like I was on the roadside, stuck somewhere. Actually, speaking of that, I just took a cross country tour to visit my daughter and it was fantastic. But on the way back, I was on the 40. It was beautiful. I went through Tennessee.

I got Oklahoma, all the things. I'm making my way. It's so beautiful. And I am in a car that I've not owned a whole year and I've never gone below like 50 miles to empty. So I am looking at the map and it says that I'm 15 miles away from a gas station and I have 20 miles left.

I've never gone this. And it's the dog and me. And we're going, we're going, we're going. It goes 20 miles to empty, 19 miles to empty, 18 miles to empty, four miles to empty. And the gas station is five miles away. So I pulled over before the car actually ran out of gas because I thought I'd rather be at a place that's safe. There was a little like gift shop in the middle of nowhere.

Tumbleweeds, the whole nine yards. It was literally like, this is the CSI episode waiting to happen. And here I am and I pull over, but we're going to be in an air conditioned place and it's going to be fine. And the lady says, I can't help you.

I'm here by myself. And so I walk outside and there are some patrons that had just gotten soda pop or whatever they got at the store. And I said, hi, you don't know me, but I've just about run myself out of gas. And I'm embarrassed that I've, I've let the car go this long without gas.

Is there any way, I said, I have $25. Is there any way that you could go to the gas station a mile away and get a gas can and come back? And the first thing she said, which was so glorious is, oh girl, we've all been there before.

And I've never wanted to hug a stranger so much in my whole life. And 12 minutes later, I have a new gas can if you need one, I got you. But what I told my husband was once I got over the initial shock that it was, she was so glorious is that that's my job as a believer is to say to more people, I see you stranded.

I see your struggle. And let's be honest, it took her 12 minutes out of her busy day. She probably was busy, but she was willing to take the time.

And the question is for you and me as believers, are we willing to leave the comfort of our schedules and our agendas long enough to see people who are on the roadside asking for help? And she could have said, you're an idiot and I would have deserved it, but she didn't. She started with, oh girl, oh girl, we've all been there.

So practicing more of that, I feel like the New Testament church, the churches, we wouldn't have enough pews if more of us were willing to say, oh girl, I see you. We've all done it. We've all been there. And then leading them to hope.

So that's my personal conviction for this week. It's been, I've thought of Miss Kara. Kara is the one who found me on the roadside. I've thought of her and prayed for her 100 times. I took a picture with her and just said, you know what? I've always wondered what angels look like.

I guess I know now they have purple hair and four piercings in their left ear. She was exactly what I needed. And I feel so blessed. Oh girl, we've all been there. We've all been there. We were at a Family Life event and we had to fly from Puerto Rico to Cleveland, Ohio to speak at a marriage weekend. That night we get, we walk on stage at seven o'clock. Our flights at like nine in Puerto Rico. It was going to be a little tight and the flight gets canceled. And we're sitting in Puerto Rico and I literally call the guy. I'm like, dude, I don't know if we're going to get there.

And he's like, well, I've got a board of directors. We're going to go in a room. We're going to pray.

He was like, super calm. You'll figure out a way. I'm like, okay, thanks. Long story short, we end up getting a different flight through Pittsburgh, got to rent a car and drive to Cleveland. But here's what happens. It's Southwest because we booked the flight so late. We're in D or C, you know, we're going to be the last one. And we literally have to get off the plane first to make it. So then I go up to person A1 and I go, could I give you $20? I don't want your seat, but would you save me a seat? And he goes, no, I'm not going to save you a seat, but somebody will. And the lady behind me goes, you don't need to give me a dime. I'll save you a seat. I'm like, no, seriously, I'll give you money. She goes, you're obviously in a desperate situation. You can tell me later what it is. I will save you a seat.

Some total stranger. And she does. Ann didn't even get to sit there, but I did so I could run to the rental car. And when I sat down, she said, men were yelling at me because I'm holding this seat for you. She goes, you better have a good reason.

But I thought I felt so seen by a stranger who cared for me. She was so protective. She stands up because we have to be off of that flight. We're not going to make it. So she stands up and she's yelling at these guys in the back. We need a bag back there.

Pass that bag up there. She's doing that for us. To get us off the plane. And the whole flight, she says, so what do you do?

What's this all about? And I guarantee just based on what she said, she's probably listening right now. Oh, praise God. And she was an angel because she's like, you do what? And I'm like, this is what we do.

Write books and do marriage stuff. But as you talk about the one and others in the study, The Belonging Project, I honestly think I don't care enough for the one and others. I'm just being honest. When I see somebody on the side of the road or whatever, I'm usually thinking I got so much to do. I should stop.

And I drive by. That's selfishness. That is me centered.

How do we break that? I think that that's part of it. And the other thing is I do believe oftentimes that's an outlier. I feel like seeing the person on the side of the road. I think oftentimes the widows and orphans that are in our path is the lady at the grocery store behind us who's trying to wrangle her kids and is at her wits end or the person at the post office who is angry and frustrated and unkind. Those oftentimes are the people that I feel like God specifically places us there to love them. Not that the person on the side of the road is not important, but I'm just saying the people that we're actually doing life with, I think that's often our most profound mission area. I think you're right. It's looking for the people that are already around us.

We have a ministry for women in Michigan and we have an event once a month for women. Guess what it's called? Herd.

Not H-E-R-D. H-E-A-R-D. Being seen and heard. That's a beautiful name. Some of the women before our get together, they'll go out to eat. And there's always this waitress, this young waitress who these women are like asking her, hey, thank you. You're so cute.

What's going on in your life? And then they leave her a big tip. And so the next time they see her and they're like, hey, tell us a little bit about yourself. And she says, well, I'm a single mom.

I just had a baby who's a couple months old. And she said, I'm trying to figure out how to make it, how to make some money. And I was just offered this job for a lot of money, which is a place kind of that the waitresses, the wait staff don't dress very modestly. And so they said, come to this event with us. They leave her another really big tip and they said, we're going to talk about how God loves you and you're amazing. You'd probably love it and bring the baby. We'll watch your baby.

So this girl comes, the speaker that night happened to see her say, hey, I know you, what are you doing here? This small group of women lay their hands on her and pray for her, pray that God will provide, pray for money, pray for her as she raises this boy. Then they start asking, how can we help you? Do you need a place to live?

Do you need a babysitter for your son? And so the body of Christ comes together. This girl keeps coming every single month and her entire life is transformed by Jesus, but also by a community of people that are seeing her, loving her, caring for her. And the last event for the women that we had, she brought her mom and her mom was crying and she said, I don't even know how to begin thanking all of you. My daughter has been transformed and my little grandson is being raised in a way that I'm amazed of what a good mom she is.

Thank you. That's the power of community. That's the power of one another. You know, I have found over and over again that the more I isolate, the worse off I am.

Christianity is never meant to be a solo thing. So this perspective today has really reinforced my desire to continue to go deep with people and watch God change me and then the other people around me for his glory and our collective good. I'm Shelby Abbott and you've been listening to Dave and Anne Wilson with Amberlee Nies on Family Life Today. Amberlee has written a book called The Belonging Project. It's a four-week Bible study that provides biblical and practical help for just what we were talking about today, cultivating meaningful relationships that glorify God through this one-anotherness that the New Testament talks about. It's a beautiful book and it can really help you connect with others.

You can get a copy by going online to and clicking on today's resources. You know, we're at a unique time right now in the year and I wanted you to hear this specifically from Dave and Anne Wilson. So the clock is ticking. There's only a few days left in this year and I'm telling you, you've heard us talk about becoming a financial partner with us to literally change families and impact the world for the kingdom of God. Now's your time. There's just a few hours left. Jump in now and join us.

Every dollar is doubled. You can make a difference. Join us in this battle. It matters.

It does matter. Anne's right. And thanks to some generous donors, every gift that is given this month is going to be matched dollar for dollar up to $3 million. So you can help us take advantage of these donors' generosity and give today to help with that battle that they were talking about. You can go online to and click on the donate now button right at the top of the page.

It'll pop up right as soon as you log on. Or you could give us a call with your donation at 800-358-6329. Again, that number is 800, F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. And when you do give, as our thanks to you, we're going to send you a copy of Trillia Newbell's 52 Weeks in the Word.

With the start of the year 2024, it's a great time to renew your commitment to getting into the scriptures. And this book from Trillia Newbell will really help you do just that. Again, you could go online to donate and get a copy of her book as our thanks to you at

Click on that little donate now button at the top of the page. Now tomorrow, David and Meg Robbins are going to sit down with me, Shelby Abbott, and David Anne Wilson to talk about exploring the power of what it means to be seen in marriage, in parenting, and really in life. So we're going to talk about that and discover how acknowledging others' gifts can transform relationships and even your own self-perception. That's tomorrow. We hope you'll join us. On behalf of David and Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a donor-supported production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-28 07:16:22 / 2023-12-28 07:28:42 / 12

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