I don’t think I’m over exaggerating when I say that comparing ourselves to one another has been around since the beginning of human existence. It happened with Adam and Even in the garden when the serpent used his crafty line of, “Did He really say not to eat from this tree? It’s just because God doesn’t want you to have all the wisdom and great knowledge that He has.” (my paraphrase)
And just like that, Eve found herself wanting to be like God. Comparing herself to the Almighty and seeing that she didn’t quite match his greatness and, my goodness, did she ever want to. So she took that fruit and crunch, crunch, crunched.
It happens again and again in Scripture. Cain and Abel. Jacob and Esau. All of Joseph’s brothers. Even satan himself is working all of his actions from a jealous place. He wants to be God. Everything else stems from that.
Clearly if our forefathers struggled with the notion of wanting what others had, we’re not going to be immune from it either.
Years ago I felt it in me in a serious way. See, I love magazines. All magazines. Okay, so I’ve never been a subscriber to fishing digest but you get the point. I love the process of flipping through the pages, seeing the beauty in all of it; the layout, design, the colour schemes. The furniture or art or that perfect living room wall colour. I love seeing the new trends coming up for spring and the beautiful dresses and perfect jeans and the boots or sandals or all the shoes really! I study all of the models gorgeous faces carefully noticing the colour on her eyelids or the perfectly glossed lip or just exactly where we are supposed to part our hair this year.
All of this woo’s me. It beckons my heart to come and see and enjoy and while I’m in the moment I feel like this is a perfect activity. An amazing way to spend a sunny day on the deck or a rainy day cuddled up by the fire. But the second I put those magazines down I find myself in a bit of a funk.
I get up and look around my living room and feel like my mantel isn’t decorated quite right. Or I notice that my couch is looking kind of old and that the dishes in my cupboard don’t quite scream ‘perfect dinner party!’
Walking to my closet makes it even worse. Nothing in there ever looks quite new or crisp enough. It all feels last season or last year or 10 years ago! My clothes don’t hug my body the way those models clothes do, and speaking of body, time for some crunches!
Looking in the mirror is probably the worst part of all. I’m short and had acne for more than half my life. My skin is marked, my eyes aren’t doe-like and my lips could certainly use some plumping. Never mind this whole hair fiasco.
I realized that the activity of flipping through magazines was bringing me to a desperate low. I was comparing every aspect of my life with perfect lighting and new everything and on point eyebrows.
Comparison was a sin that nestled itself way down deep in my life, so deep I didn’t even really see it and I thought I was fine, but I wasn’t. Magazines were simply the tool that I used to compare my life to a perfectly scripted world and I knew, like any addict does, I had to quit.
I went completely cold turkey, boxing up every magazine laying around the house and vowing never to buy another one.
I’m happy to report that it really did work for me, taking this very active step in deleting the tool of comparison from my life. I find it’s really what we need to do. Remove that which is tempting us, run away from it, don’t give in to it’s draws. Hebrews 12:1 says, “…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…” It’s only in untangling ourselves and in distance from the things that entangle that we can begin to find clarity, find peace and start to be okay with exactly who we are and were made to be.
Because I know my heart in this I’ve had to be increasingly careful as social media has grown to become a huge part of our lives. I knew from the get-go that I couldn’t hop onto Pinterest for the same reasons I couldn’t pick up decor magazines anymore. I would want the cute porch in front of the house with the perfect mint coloured door.
I know a lot of people find the same thing with other sites, specifically instagram. We taunt ourselves with other people’s moments of perfection because, of course, everyone is only showing their happiest tidbits. Their vacations or their shopping trip or even the hip place they go for coffee. One study currently being conducted is surmising that Instagram is making us a depressed culture, a lonely people, because other peoples photos are constantly triggering our ickiest states of envy and resentment, thus lowering our self-esteem and really just making us all kinds of sinful.
I check my heart constantly on this, I’m assuming you just might need to as well and I would encourage you that if it’s making you a less than lovely person, give it up! It’s simply not worth it.
The last thing we need is more things in our life that cause us to sin. Life is hard enough without daily log ins to places that bring out our worst and mask the sin in our hearts with a double tap and a heart.
I’m thankful that I’ve been able to re-introduce (some) magazines back into my life because I really do enjoy them. But I know I just can’t with others. And I also know that social media can be a fantastic place to connect and encourage and be inspired, as long as we also know our hearts state when we log in.
Check your heart. I encourage you not to go to places that cause envy or covetousness. Avoid places that make you feel like you’re not enough or what you have isn’t enough. Know your triggers and plan your online life accordingly. It really is worth it!
**I thought it would be funny to throw out here that you can follow me on Facebook! Just click here and like the Never Static page to get blog updates that way! ha ha