We’ve all been there, the comparison trap. That place where we don’t feel good enough, where our standards and expectations of ourselves meet who we really are. That place where we look at what others are doing with their kids or what we think they are doing, and we feel like a failure. Social media perpetuates this comparison trap and we fall for the bait over and over again.
The comparison trap is a very real place and we are all tempted to fall into it. Whether it be comparing our marriages, jobs, families, children, churches, you name it. But what we don’t often realize in the midst of fighting the good fight against falling into this trap, is that our children are also being tempted to fall into it as well.
Just as our culture and communities impress upon us a whole set of expectations of what it should look like to be a christian wife and mom, so are there expectations that are children feel impressed upon them as well. And sometimes those expectations are even self made, which puts an added pressure on each of us, right.
So how do we help our children to fight the temptation to compare themselves to others and equip them to run the race of life for an audience of one? It all comes down to one thing-- identity.
If we are going to help our children, we first need to get help ourselves. I struggled through this comparison trap as a little girl, a young wife and mom, and it continues to try to entrap me today. Over the years I have experienced both the pain of being judged and stereotyped, but also have fallen to the sin of judging others and caring too deeply what others thought of me. So, after years of speaking on this topic, we have just released the first online bible study on this topic, The Christian Woman's Guide to Building Authentic & Intentional Friendships.
Think about those times when you have struggled to compare yourself to other women. If we reflect honestly, it is most likely in a season where we are not pursuing growth in our relationship with Christ, when we have been deceived by the enemy to believe lies and untruths about who we are in Him, or when we have allowed others the power to define us by their judgements of us.
It all comes down to identity. Identity in Christ to be exact.
That’s why I believe it starts with us, the parents. We have to grow firm in who we are in Him, before we can begin to help our children fight this battle. Once we recognize the battle we are facing as individuals, we need to teach our children about the battle as well. We need to warn them, but we also need to equip them.
Here are four steps to take in order to help your children fight the temptation to compare.
- Seek to grow in your personal identity in Christ. It starts with us. We are like the blind leading the blind if we don’t do the hard work ourselves. We have to take time to grow in our relationship with Christ, to reflect, ask ourselves the hard questions like, “Have I outwardly expressed judgemental comments about others in front of my children?” We are their role models, hand picked by God Himself.
Wherever you are in this fight, whether you are stuck in the trap yourself and have been there for years, or whether you have fallen in climbed out, and fell in again, we all have heart work to do in this area.
- Talk to your children about the comparison trap. Teach them that this trap is real and that it is set by our enemy. Teach them what the word temptation means, and that we all struggle with wanting life to be fair or comparing ourselves to others, and others circumstances.
- Lead them to Christ. As parents we have been given a sacred power in the lives of our children to speak life! Take time to encourage your son or daughter. Tell them that there is NOTHING they could ever do, or NOT DO, to make you love them any less. Then tell them how God loves them and created them as they are, and that they can never earn more love from God, nor can they lose it. This is an opportunity to disciple our children. This topic leads to growth in their identity in Christ, which alone affects everything else in life, how they view God, themselves, and others.
- Pray together. There is an intimacy that comes in praying together, but it is an intimacy that is built. There is no better time to start than now. A suggestion might be, picking a weekly time to meet with your child to talk and pray together alone. You may even want to grab a book to go through to together. But starting is the point.
I see a hurting generation of women today, struggling in this comparison trap. I’ve been there. And the temptation to fall into the trap is always knocking on our door. This is no new temptation. It has been around since Genesis 3. If you are struggling with negative self talk, covetousness, jealousy, feeling like you are not good enough, I want to encourage you today that Jesus loves you for who you are. And he chose you to be your husband’s wife and your children’s mom. He has plans for you and for your legacy. All you need to do is seek Him with an open and repentant heart.
Let’s Pray Together
Lord, we thank you for sending your son to die for us so that we could be reconciled to you and our brothers and sisters in Christ. We pray for our sisters who are struggling to view themselves the way you do. Would you reveal to them how much you love them and that they are not defined by what they do, or what they have done. Lord, would you forgive us for forgetting what your sacrifice has paid, our full debt. Help us to receive your forgiveness and freely give it to others. And would you also grow in each of us a heart of compassion for those who have hardened hearts and are struggling in this comparison trap themselves. Might we speak truth and life into their lives. Your Powerful Name, Amen.
If you would like to dig deeper into this topic I want to invite you to check out this free preview of "The Christian Woman's Guide to Building Authentic & Intentional Friendships" Online Study.
I am so excited to be able to share the first online bible study on this topic!