Earlier this year we had a “mouse problem” in our attic and I nearly lost my ever-loving mind! As soon as I thought we’d caught the last of them, more scratching would be heard between the attic floor and downstairs ceiling, until my husband finally found the bait they couldn’t resist. Would you believe it was Cheeto puffs? (You’re welcome!)
Now before I start throwing shade on those dumb mice who couldn’t handle the bait (and are certainly NOT welcome in my house), I realize that I, too, have fallen into my fair share of traps. What traps? Comparison traps, affecting just about every decision I have ever made. Off the top of my head I can think of: single or married, children or none, working or SAHM, homeschool, public or private school (also school systems, educational model and curriculum). As women we compare child-rearing methods such as discipline, breastfeeding or formula, natural births versus epidural, and even the food we eat and serve our children such as organic, vegan, Paleo, Keto, pre-packaged meals…it’s making my head spin just typing it all out!
Although comparison has been around since the beginning of time (ie: see Rachel and Leah or Sarah and Hager in the book of Genesis), social media provides a bait we can take 24/7, tempting us to place a greater emphasis on things that are not matters of right or wrong, but merely personal preference. We have so much freedom and room to explore what works for our situation and story (and ps: it’s okay to change your mind about the non-essentials as you grow or change seasons).
God has given us wisdom and guidelines in His word for the things that hold eternal weight, but as for everything else, He gives us freedom to make decisions through research, trial and error and life experience. What does this look like lived out?
TRUST HIS WORD
Before search engines, websites and social media, we had all the wisdom we would ever need for every decision.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3
“My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:2-3
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5
LIVE YOUR UNIQUELY BEAUTIFUL LIFE
You were placed on this earth, at this time, for God’s specific purpose for you. Attempting to live out someone else’s life, will result in failure 100% of the time. Don’t worry about what all the other women are doing, only what’s best for you and your family; contentment and freedom will come much easier.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
“Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.” Galatians 6:4-5
“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16
“But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
RECOGNIZE THE TRAP
How do you know if you’ve been trapped? Check your heart for jealousy, envy or insecurity, rather than unity and peace. As we seek what the Lord wants, He will keep us focused on what truly matters: the word of God and the souls of mankind; everything else is a fleeting fad.
“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever." Isaiah 40:8
“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Eph. 4:3
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17
It won’t be easy living free from the comparison trap, but recognizing the bait will help keep your feet from getting snared. When certains apps, places, people or things tempt me to compare myself or my life, I have found that asking God to show me boundaries, asking the Holy Spirit to give me wisdom, and living vulnerably with my community make a huge difference.
What about you: How have you responded to the comparison trap? How can we help cheer one another on to live out our uniquely, beautiful lives?
Meet the Author!
Heather McAnear is a wife, mom, author and speaker with a passion for sharing God's truth to help women understand their uniquely beautiful design and how to use it for God's glory! In fact, Heather hosts the Uniquely Beautiful Stories podcast on iTunes in hopes do just that! She loves teaching young married couples with her husband, homeschooling their three children, traveling the world, enjoying good chocolate and long conversations in coffee shops. CRBC has been her church home for two decades and she is thrilled to be part of the Women's Ministry team, helping women connect with each other and grow in their walk with Jesus!