Do you compare yourself?

 

On social media, in the neighborhood, at church, or the school drop-off lane, do you push yourself to prove that you measure up, then feel ashamed when you don’t? Measuring yourself against others isn’t healthy. And it isn’t God’s plan. In fact, the way of Jesus is completely upside down from this measure-up world. He invites us to follow him and be restored to freedom, confidence, and joy.

Join me as—with humor and straightforward honesty—I share what I’ve discovered about my own measure-up fears and get-ahead pride in this six-week study. Together, we’ll explore the conversations Jesus had and stories he shared with people who—like us—were comparing themselves.

Let’s leave measure-up comparison behind and connect with those around us by choosing Jesus’s me-free way of living: lifting others up and pouring ourselves out!

 

 

 

Releasing May 19, 2020

“People who are grateful are more hopeful, energetic, and positive, while being less envious, anxious, and depressed... overall they feel significantly more optimistic and satisfied with life than those who fail to express gratitude.”

“Gratitude is the parent of peace, contentment, and happiness.” @mary.kassian in #growinggrateful

Are you sad or discouraged or disappointed about something today? Yeah, me too. Holidays carry so many heightened expectations. But what if we scaled back our hopes for the day and settled our hearts with gratitude?

Today, no doubt we’ll “fill up” more than most days. But let’s not miss the chance to be full of gratitude—which gives birth to so many other good gifts.

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord.” Psalm 92:1. It’s good FOR us!

#gratitudeistheattitude #gratefulheart #gratitudejournal #thankfulheartsarefullhearts
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I laughed out loud when a woman, who is reading Control Girl, shared that she told her co-workers, “If you see me folding my hands at my desk, you need to give me a moment.”

If you haven't read Control Girl, let me explain. In the book, I suggest a “Hold & Fold” response. We hold responsibility (think cupped hands) for ourselves with self-control, and we fold our hands (think hands folded in prayer) to surrender the rest of life to God.

I love her hand-folding warning so much, because it calls to mind the gritty battle of surrender. Folding our hands is anything but passive. It's the most strenuous work of our lives! But God invites us to find the peace, security, and joy that comes - not from taking control - but from laying it down.

Do you need to give anyone a hand-folding signal today, so they’ll know to give you a minute? This would work well, both in the workplace and at home, by the way.

Friends, let’s enter the holiday season, with a heart already postured to surrender.

#ControlGirl #ControlGirlAtWork #FoldYourHands #HandSignals #HoldAndFold #SweetSurrender
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What a delightful group of women (mostly) from Alabama! I love they way they are letting the message of surrendering control spill over into real life.

One woman told me that her 16-year-old will occasionally say, "Mom, I think you're being a Control Girl." (Has anyone else experienced this?! 🙋🏼‍♀️)

Here’s your warning, friends. Yes, it’s Thanksgiving. Yes it’s a pandemic. Yes there’s a lot that is out of our control. But let’s not add to the strain and pressure by being Control Girls. Let’s be sweetly surrendered women of God.

#happythanksgivng #ControlGirl #SweetlySurrender #HoldandFold #AlabamaFriends
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Well hello there, pretty boots. I know, I made you some big promises when I brought you home last August. I said we’d be traveling together this fall; That we’d walk onto some exciting platforms together, sharing exciting truths with expectant women. Instead you’ve been stuck in my dark closet, and I’ve been padding around the house (not airports) in slippers.

It would have been fun to take you out for a spin; I agree. But you know what? We’re going to be okay. There are plenty of people to love on, right here where we are. Plenty of serving to do, right here at home and from home.

Thanks to zoom, email, and the internet, there’s no limit to where we can go. And thanks to America, there’s no limit to what encouragement and hope we can share.

So you and I—pretty boots—we’ll wait on the Lord. Someday soon, perhaps we’ll step onto some platforms together. Maybe big ones; maybe small. And until then, we’ll stay home and keep serving up encouragement, hope, and truth—inviting women to live like God’s word is true.

Have you and your boots had anything put on hold this fall? Tell me one new thing you’ve invested in, instead.

“Stand firm then… with your feet fitted with the readiness that come from the gospel of peace” Ephesians 6:26).

#GospelBoots #iloveleopardprint #PlansOnHold #ThankfulAnyway #illwearthemsomeday
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Comparison walls. We put them up when we feel less than, or when we see someone as "beneath" us. But Jesus came to tear the walls down and draw us close—both to Him and each other.

If there was ever a wall to be concerned about, it's the one separating us from Jesus. Paul, a missionary to the early church, implores us to remember that we were once separated. All of us. There was a wall, with Jesus on one side and all of us on the other at a far distance.

Paul wrote, "But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility" (Eph. 2:13-14).

How did Jesus tear down these hostile walls? With extreme humility. He died on the cross for our sake; he did not even remotely deserve to. So how unfitting for us to group up with Jesus next to the wall torn by his flesh, and start putting up new walls between us.

This week, will you encounter any family or friends who are followers of God, but who you are tempted to compare with? Remember that both comparing up and comparing down creates walls. Instead, be like Jesus. Lean in with wall-crumbling humility, grateful for the one who first tore the walls down.

And if you encounter some on the other side of that wall—still separated from Jesus, let that be more concerning to you than the comparison walls you might be tempted to put up.

#ComparisonGirl #ComparisonWalls #HumilityHeals #BeLikeJesus #OneInChrist #UnityNotUniformity
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I sent out my first seasonal email today and then held my breath... hoping that it would land softly in inboxes.

In my book Influence, I shared how (like many writers and speakers) I worry about seeming pushy. I know how I feel when somebody seems to only be thinking of themselves, as they fill my inbox. It means a lot that people have trusted me with theirs, so I've always backed away from the idea of a regular "newsletter".

But if I'm honest, it wasn't just polite self-forgetfulness holding me back; it was fear. I was worried that if I said, "let's connect regularly" (even if only once a season), everybody would pick up their lunch and leave me alone at the table, rather than leaning in for the quiet conversation I'm always hoping for.

Wow, did I have it wrong.

Now it's true, some did leave the table. But so, so many more stayed. I got notes and phone calls and messages all day. People said things like, "I'm so glad you're doing this!" and, "I read to the end and it wasn't too long; it was perfect!" and, "It felt like a note in the mail from a good friend," and, "I'm going to look forward to these." My heart melted like butter on a warm toasty roll. And my favorite emails back were from ones telling me what the Lord is doing in their life or heart. What a joy and privilege. I was delighted to respond to each one.

My goal, when I first stepped onto a platform so tiny that my toes hung off the edge, has always been to serve. As that platform has grown, there have certainly been times when my desire to serve you turns into a desire to serve me, but the Lord is always quick to bring conviction. I know my place. I'm a friend linking arms with others who want to follow Jesus, and simply sharing what He's given me. My hope is that we would all not just know what God's word says is true, but live accordingly - filled with peace, security, and joy.

Yet still, sometimes I worry that I'll be misunderstood. My fear of what you think has left many words unspoken or unwritten.

So today was an exercise in obedience and trust. It was me, living like His word is true. And it was a day filled with joy. (Cont.)
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Guess what I worked on most of today?? Tomorrow morning I’m sending out my very *first* “Live Like it’s True! {Fall 2020}” email!

Oh friends, it has taken me quite a while to get going on this idea... But now that my first email is locked and loaded, I’m excited for it to launch into inboxes all over the world!

Will yours be one of them?? If not, you can sign up (link in bio) and receive it.

My hope for these fall, winter, spring and summer emails (plus maaaybe a couple of holidays) is to open my life a little wider to those who have trusted me with their email address. I plan to share a short story or a thought or two, highlights from my life this season, links to interviews, coupons, giveaways or other things I’m excited about.

I hope it will be fun, encouraging, and a way to connect. And most of all—as always—I hope to invite you to live like God’s word is true.

If you have thoughts or ideas, will you let me know? And for those of you who will be hearing from me in the morning—as my cute pumpkin says, I’m so grateful for you!!

https://www.subscribepage.com/shannonpopkin

#firstemail #livelikeitstrue #mightbesomethingfuninthere #ihopeyoulikeit #emaillist #signupnow #goesouttomorrow #ifeelsoofficial
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I got to make another surprise visit this morning! I love meeting this group from Westfield EV Free Church in Wesfield, Massachusetts. What an amazing group! I joined the call at the end, and they dove right in - sharing all the ways God has been challenging them with this book, and how they have been encouraged to change.

What comparison issues tend to show up in our later years?
How can we respond to our younger sisters who are comparing?
What unique comparison issues do we face, once we've been around the Church for a while?
Am I ever really done dealing with this comparison thing?

These are some of the questions my new friends are grappling with. And I'm so proud of them for pressing into this book, even when they feel like throwing it (I gave them permission to do so! ha ha).

Comparison Girls show up in every age group, every stage of life, and every part of the country (or world!). But the truth is timeless. Rather than measuring ourselves, Jesus invites us to follow Him and be me-free.

PS. Thanks to my friend Deb Latimer--whom I met in the singles group at @springcreekchurch in Milwaukee, and haven't seen in over twenty years--for inviting her group to this study.
PS. Do you have a group I can surprise? Send me a DM and we'll see if we can work it out. 🙂

#comparisongirl #smallgroup #biblestudy #oldfriends #newfriends #eastcoast #freeme @westfieldefc
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Do you carry around measuring tape in your back pocket? I don't mean the type that only measures in inches. I'm talking about the type of mental measuring tape that you whip out in the grocery check out as you size up the woman in front of you, asking, "Am I skinnier or fatter than her?" Or the kind you use in a committee meeting, when you tally how many times your work has been mentioned over the past several months versus someone else's. Or the kind that you use when you scroll and measure how many times your sister or friend has called you over the past weeks, compared to how many times you've called them.

I'm guessing you know exactly what I mean when I describe this measure-up measuring tape, but here's what you may not know. Comparison isn't a game. It's a strategy your enemy uses against you--and he has been since childhood.

I'd love to share with you some thoughts on differentiating between the voice of your enemy (who tempts you to constantly measure, and the voice of Jesus (who invites you to leave the measuring tape at home) in my book "Comparison Girl". Link in bio.

Also, check out my post with 12 quotes from when you're tempted to compare. Link in bio. https://www.shannonpopkin.com/2020/11/15/12-quotes-for-when-youre-tempted-to-compare/

#comparisonquotes #comparisongirl #comparedtoher #leaveyourmeasuringtapehome #listentoJesus #notyourenemy
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My measure-up pride and my wounded pride both want to hide my flaws and weaknesses. Both types of pride build comparison walls between me and other people. But humility collapses those walls.

Some time ago, I wasn't asked to serve in a way that I have in the past. I was feeling hurt and vulnerable, wondering if someone didn't like me and why. I wanted to pull back and isolate myself and quit on one friendship in particular. But that was just wounded pride talking. I wanted to hold imaginary court in my head and call witnesses to list out my strengths (which would surely clear up any misconceptions about my weaknesses). But that was just my measure-up pride talking.

Instead, I let humility do the talking.

I picked up the phone and called my friend to check in on her and make sure everything was okay between us. It took vulnerability on my part to initiate the conversation and ask if I had done something wrong. It took humility on her part and an investment in the friendship to work through it with me.

In the end, any walls that were forming collapsed during that phone call. I felt more connected to my friend, not less, when we hung up.

Humility collapses measure-up comparison walls.

Is there someone you've been pulling away from? Maybe you want to hide your flaws or weaknesses. Maybe you want to quit on a friendship. Maybe you want to hold court in your head and call witnesses. But that will only thicken the comparison walls between you.

Why not turn your ear to the wisdom from above and consider humility. Ask yourself, "How can I humble myself? What would happen if I was vulnerable instead?"

Pride builds walls. Humility collapses them.

"Whoever humbles himself will be exalted." Matt. 23:12

Read all "12 Quotes for When You're Tempted to Compare" - link in bio.

#comparisongirl #comparisongirlquotes #prideisolates #pridebuildswalls #humilitycollapsesthem #wisdomfromabove #biblestudy #smallgroupstudy #womensstudy #6weekstudy
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Outdo. It's a concept we become familiar with as little kids—trying to outdo each other in the classroom or on the athletic fields. As adults we secretly want to outdo each other in the neighborhood, at work or church.

But here, in a letter to the church in Rome, Paul instructs the Jesus followers to outdo each other in showing honor. Rome had its own ideas about honor, which involved power and rising above and looking down at those beneath you. But Paul was showing them a new way. As disciples of Jesus they were to outdo each other in showing honor.

When you honor someone, you put them first. You lift them up. You say, "After you," then step aside.

No doubt, in the Roman church, there were people who did not seem honorable. Or people who weren't honoring others. Yet Paul's instructions were to show such a person honor. To lay aside judgments and criticisms and disgust. To rush ahead, not wait. To run out ahead of the others and outdo in showing honor.

Who can you outdo in showing honor to, today?

"Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord." Romans 10:8-11

#instructionsfromPaul #lettertotheromans #2020 #healingwords
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I got to make a surprise visit to a #comparisongirl group from @hillsidechurchmarin in Marin, CA tonight! 🎉

What an amazing group of women, who obviously love Jesus and love encouraging each other as they follow together. 🙌

And how cool that @jenpaaske (who grew up here in MI) “happened” to find me on Instagram, hear about my new book, and decide to gather friends for this study. I love how God helps his people find each other. #onlyGod

If you live near #marinca you should check out @hillsidechurchmarin . And if you’re interested in having your group study Comparison Girl, I’d love to be invited for a visit! (Especially a surprise one! 🥰)

#Biblestudy #smallgroup #californiafriends #surprisevisit #comparisongirl
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This photo is breathtaking to me. Perhaps you’re thinking, “Umm.. your other Yosemite photos were definitely prettier 🤷🏼‍♀️.”

Yes, but here’s the story behind the photo.

We had been hiking about two hours when we realized that Lindsay wasn’t with us. Somewhere on the path, she and her brother fell quiet and the distance between them widened. Then she took one path and the rest of us took another.

By the time we realized, the sun was setting, and we couldn’t find her. So Cade and I stayed put (in case she came our way) and Ken set off down the trail in the opposite direction, loudly calling her name.

At one point, Linds and I connected by phone (at various places, we had service) and she said, “Mom, I can hear dad calling me but I have no idea how to get to him. There’s a huge ravine between us.”

At another point, his voice sounded farther, not closer. She said, “I can’t find the path and I have no idea where I am...”

That’s when I started to panic. “Lord Jesus, you know where she is. I feel so helpless, but I know that you are in control. Please, God! Will you help us find her?”

Trust is exercised best when you don’t know how things will work out. When you can’t see and it’s getting dark. When technology isn’t available.

There in the remote woods surrounded by more miles of trees than I have ever experienced, I put my trust in God. I was definitely scared. I was not sure how this would turn out. But still, I chose to trust Him. And so that sweet sight of watching my girl and her dad coming down the trail toward me was a precious, faith-building experience.

Do you know someone who has wandered? Has distance crept in? Do they seem to be getting further, not closer? Is there an impossible ravine between this one that you love and the Father?

I can’t guarantee you a happy ending. Like you, I don’t know how this will turn out, but here’s what I do know: Our God is in control and our God is kind. There’s no inch of wilderness that is beyond His oversight, and no distance that our good shepherd won’t travel.

And here’s what God wants you to do in this sun-setting, darkness-falling, out-of-ideas time of waiting: Trust. (Cont. in comments)
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From the Blog

12 Quotes for when You’re Tempted to Compare

12 Quotes for when You’re Tempted to Compare

Comparison is often an unwelcome guest. There you are, minding your own business, when—bam. You're suddenly wondering why her kids are turning out so perfect or why your husband doesn't buy you new clothes, or whether you weigh more than every other woman in the room....

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3 Me-Free Questions for the Comparison Girl who Wants to Stop

3 Me-Free Questions for the Comparison Girl who Wants to Stop

I was in a car with a group of my college friends, and Jen was telling her embarrassing story about falling on her boyfriend’s ankle during a volleyball game. The ankle was sprained, the boyfriend was on crutches, and Jen was mortified. I said jokingly, “What does it...

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