- Comparison – the act of looking at things to see how they are similar or different.
- Envy – the feeling of wanting to have what someone else has
- Want – to desire or wish for (something)
- Scrutinize – to examine (something) carefully especially in a critical way
These words all come to mind when I think about social media these days. It’s so easy for us to compare ourselves to other people, other moms and our family to other families. We see images on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and envy what we don’t have. We wish we had thought of that idea first or wish we could do something like that or wish we had time for more things. We want and lust after things we do not have. And then scrutinize our own lives and situations feeling inadequate and less than.
I find myself doing this and I’m here to tell you we have to recognize this behavior and cut it off at the knees. These thoughts and feelings are the beginning of a very dangerous, slippery slope of deception, sin and ungratefulness.
When thinking about this post, I wanted to use some of my own experiences through images to give examples.
For instance, my daughter’s newborn images turned out great, but what you don’t know is the shoot took over five hours because my little one was crying non-stop nearly the whole time. We look so calm in the pictures (below is one example), but my daughter is facing towards my chest because she is screaming… a very unhappy girl that day at only 9 days old. I’m holding her up around my neck because my chest was blotchy and red from the stress and anxiety of my crying newborn during the photoshoot. I hadn’t slept well in nearly two weeks and while taking these lovely pictures, I was really longing for a nap. Now, if someone saw this image on Pinterest or Facebook, they would never know that. They may even begin comparing their own images to mine, but they do not know the story behind the images.
Over the weekend we took gender reveal pictures for our second baby. We had a lot of fun taking the photos, but what you don’t see is my daughter’s runny nose that constantly had to be wiped in between photos, my husband shouting at our dog to move out of the picture, my stress level that was sky high before we started taking the pictures because I was running around a mile a minute trying to get everyone dressed and everything setup and us chasing and pleading with our toddler to sit still and smile. All you see from the images is the fun we had… but you don’t see the true whole story.
These are just examples of what actually goes on behind the images. I know it’s so easy for us to want what we don’t have, but we need to remember that God gives us exactly what we can handle. We do not know what burden someone may have to bear to be able to take that image and life isn’t always what it seems. When we lust after someone else’s vacation, physique, home or picture-perfect life, we need to stop and remember… things aren’t always what they seem. We need to remember our own joy and not let someone else’s display steal our joy. We need to be grateful for the blessings He has given us and be filled with gratitude verses wanting for more.
I’ve been studying a lot about this lately and wanted to share the below quotes and posts for additional encouragement on this topic.
Lysa TerKeurst, who I LOVE to follow, recently had a great post on this topic. She says, “When comparison sneaks in, it can be hard. Worse than hard. It can just quite simply make me forget all the strengths I do have. And when we forget, our hearts shift. We stop being thankful and instead become consumed by that little thing we don’t have. That’s a dangerous place to be.” – Lysa TerKeurst
“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reels.” – Melissa Joy
“Comparison is the death of joy.” – Mark Twain
“Peter must have thought, “Who am I compared to Mr. Faithfulness (John)?” But Jesus clarified the issue. John was responsible for John. Peter was responsible for Peter. And each had only one command to heed: “Follow Me.” (John 21:20-22)” – Charles R. Swindoll
So let’s all make a commitment to stop comparing our inner self to other peoples self on display. Enjoy the life He has blessed you with and be engaged in your own ‘behind the scenes.’