Comparing Yourself to Other Moms
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In this episode of the Foundation Worldview Podcast, how Elizabeth Urbanowicz answer's the question, "I find myself constantly comparing myself to other moms and feeling like I don't measure up. What should I do?" Prepare to be inspired and challenged to reevaluate the way you see yourself and your circumstances. Tune in now to start your journey towards overcoming comparison and embracing a life filled with gratitude.
Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy - Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
Note: The following is an auto-transcript of the podcast recording.
Hello friends, and welcome to another episode of the Foundation Worldview Podcast where we seek to answer your questions so that you can equip the children that God has placed in your care to carefully evaluate every idea they encounter and understand the truth of the biblical worldview. I'm your host, Elizabeth Urbanowicz and I'm thrilled that you've joined me for another episode today. Today's question says, "I find myself constantly comparing myself to other moms and feeling like I don't measure up. What should I do?" Another really great question and one that I think so many people are wrestling with and asking, and if they're not asking probably should be asking this question.
Before we dive into answering this question, if you found the content of this podcast beneficial, would ask that you would consider liking and subscribing to make sure that you don't miss a future episode, and also ask that you would consider writing a review and sharing this content with those in your sphere of influence so that we can equip as many adults as possible to help children understand the truth of the biblical worldview. Also, if you have a question that you would like me to answer on a future Foundation Worldview Podcast, you can submit that question by going to FoundationWorldview.com/podcast.
Now, with this question about what to do when we're constantly comparing ourselves and feeling like we don't measure up, the first thing I have to say is welcome to the club. It's a club to which I think almost all humans, if not all humans belong because we as humans on this side of Genesis 3, we are continually tempted with comparison. We are continually tempted with comparison, and now we see this in our own lives and our own hearts, and we also see it in scripture immediately after the fall of mankind. I mean, just think about Cain and Abel. The Lord accepted Abel's offering and not Cain's, and so Cain compared himself to Abel. He was jealous, and what did he do? He killed Abel.
Then think about Joseph's brothers. Joseph was the most beloved. Joseph's brothers compared themselves with Joseph. They were jealous. They felt like they didn't measure up, and what did they do? They threw him in a pit and sold them into slavery. Then think about the Israelites. The Israelites are in the land of Israel that God has given them, and they say God is their king, and they say, "you know what? We want to be like all of the nations around us." So they're comparing themselves to all of the nations around them who do not have God as their God, and they say, we want to king, give us a king like the other nations around us.
Then think about the disciples of Jesus that multiple times they were arguing over who was the greatest. They were comparing themselves to one another. And then even after Jesus's resurrection in the last few chapters of John, when Jesus reinstates Peter, Jesus tells Peter what his fate is going to be. And does Peter focus on his own fate? No. What does he do? He looks across the way at John and he says to Jesus, "well, what about him?" And Jesus says, "you know what concern is it of yours? If I want him to stay until I return, that's none of your business." Of course, that's a paraphrase. That's not an exact quote. But we see throughout scripture just this human tendency to continually compare ourselves with others.
And now frequently what our culture does and sometimes sadly even within the Christian community is offers this positive self-talk. To think we just need to tell ourselves how great we are. We need to have a positive.
I mean, think about those popular Christian books like what are they called? Girl Wash your Face and Girl Stop Apologizing that are all about how you just need to pick yourself up by your bootstraps and realize how amazing you are and just tell yourself how wonderful and beautiful and blessed and loved you are and these things. One, they're not biblical because nowhere in scripture are we told to do this positive self-talk. We are told to focus on what is true and noble and right and pure and lovely and excellent and praiseworthy and to think about these things. So we are to focus our minds on the truth, but never are we told in scripture to have positive self-talk.
And we're not commanded to do this because it doesn't work because negative "self-esteem." And for those of you listening, you couldn't see, I just put up air quotes for "self-esteem." Negative self-esteem is not the issue. The issue is not that we think negatively about ourselves. The root issue here is pride, and pride is thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought. And that is the root issue when it comes to comparing, whether we're comparing our parenting to someone else, whether we're comparing our school choice to someone else, whether we're comparing the size of our house or the interior of our house or the behavior of our kids or the spouse that we have or the lack of a spouse that we have, or whether we're considering our clothing or our car or anything else, our giftings, our abilities. Any time we're comparing that with someone else, the root issue is pride, thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought.
And in this particular instance, we love ourselves so much that we want to always feel positively about ourselves and we're focused so much on how we are feeling. We also love ourselves so much that we become jealous when others have what we think that we deserve. We think that we deserve what others have, or we try to convince ourselves that what we have is better. Or if someone doesn't make the exact same decisions that we do, if we choose to homeschool our children and somebody else chooses to send their children to a public school or vice versa, just simply because that person has made a different decision, we somehow feel like we're being judged by them because we are so prideful and we think so highly of ourselves.
So positive self-talk is never going to help with this issue of pride. It is only going to make it worse because it's going to continue to dig down and drill down into that pit of pride. The antidote to pride is humility. I'll say that again. The antidote to pride is humility. And so humility is being content with the portion and cup that God has assigned to us. Do our children not behave as well as so-and-so's children? Maybe they don't, but we need to be content with the lot in life that God has assigned to us. Does another family have the finances to send their children to a private Christian school? And all we can do is either send our kids to public school or homeschool? Maybe, but that's the lot that Lord has assigned to us. That's the portion in the cup that he has given us. Do we have a spouse who's maybe not as helpful or as Godly as our next door neighbor or someone else at church? Maybe, but that is the portion and lot that the Lord has assigned to us. And do we realize, do we have the humility to realize that we have been given so much more than we deserve?
I had a professor when I was getting the masters in Christian apologetics at Biola who told us that every morning he would get up and the first thing that he would tell himself was, "well, you know what? I deserve to be in hell for all of eternity and instead, I am reconciled to God and I've been adopted into his family. So today is a pretty good day." And while you know that's, well, that sounds might sound extreme, it's the truth. That you and I because of our sin, we deserve to be under God's just condemnation. We deserve to bear his wrath. But instead of that, God has given us Jesus. He sent His only Son to bear his wrath toward our sin that we might be reconciled with him and not only reconciled, we have been adopted into his family. So we have been given so much more than we deserve.
Even if what we have is not what we want in this life, it doesn't matter because we have been given all of the treasures, the inheritance of Christ for all of eternity, and we need to continually keep that before ourselves. So when we're tempted to compare ourselves with the person next door or the family next door, or other families at our church or other moms or other dads or other whoever we are in the body of Christ, we don't need positive self-talk. We need the humility to recognize this is the lot that the Lord has currently assigned to me. Am I going to accept this lot with gratitude from my Savior who has given me so much more than I deserve?
And so if we want to start practicing this humility and recognizing how much we have been given in Christ and putting our focus there, we need to be diligent at practicing gratitude.
So the next time we're tempted to compare ourselves with another mom who we think has it all together, or another family who has more money than us or another family at church whose children are more well behaved than ours, rather than just sinking down into that comparison, we need to choose to give gratitude and change that thought immediately, and say "you know what God? Thank you so much for these children that you have blessed me with. I do not deserve to be their mom. I don't deserve any children. I don't deserve the gift of this family, or I don't deserve the gift of this house. Thank you so much for this house that you've given me. You know what. I might love if I could send my children to a private Christian school, but instead, Lord, you've given me the privilege of homeschooling these children. Thank you so much for giving me that privilege."
And now this change doesn't happen overnight. It takes a while to form new habits and new ways of thinking. But the more we do this, the more we do this over time, our thought patterns are naturally going to change. If you talk to anyone in my immediate family and ask them, "is Elizabeth more of a glass half full or a glass half empty kind of person?" Every single person in my immediate family will be able to tell you very quickly that I am naturally a glass half empty kind of person. That one of my signature sins is having a grumbling, complaining spirit, comparing myself to others, feeling like I have not been given as much as others. And unfortunately, God, in order to wake me up from this, God had to take me through some pretty extreme circumstances in my life. But through those extreme circumstances, he really taught me to have a heart of gratitude and taught me to practice gratitude.
And it never used to be natural for me to offer thanks. Where now because of God's grace in my life and because he has really shown me how to consistently practice gratitude, the first thing that I say when I wake up or even when I wake up in the middle of the night, or even when I get done with a work call, the first words that come out of my mouth are words of gratitude to God. "Jesus, thank you for reconciling me for to yourself, thank you for your love. Thank you for your grace. Thank you for your kindness. Thank you for the privilege of doing this." And this is, I can take none of the credit for this. This is purely by God's grace that he has developed this in me and it still needs to be developed further. But when we're intentional about praying through this and practicing gratitude, our attitude can completely shift.
Some good ways to do this, I highly recommend you buy a gratitude journal. You can just search on Amazon to search for one line a day books. In fact, we can even put a link to some of these in the show notes for this. But they sell these little journals that you can buy them on Amazon and other places where it just has one space for one line a day for years in a row. And then every night before you go to bed or whatever you're doing to wind down, before you turn in for the evening, just write down a few sentences about things that you're grateful for. And then as the years go by, when you get to the page of April 13th or May 23rd, you'll read that date and you'll be able to see all the years previous the things that God has done in your life that you've been grateful for. So highly recommend you start keeping a five-year gratitude journal.
There's also a great book on this topic by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth called Choosing Gratitude that just walks you through why gratitude is so important. And then at the end of that book, I think it's a 25 or 30 day devotional on gratitude just taking you through different passages of scripture that focus on gratitude. And so gratitude, developing gratitude and humility. This really is the antidote to comparing ourselves to others. And you know what the amazing thing is? As we start to develop these habits, we can then pass these habits along to our children that as we start changing from comparing ourselves to others and instead focusing on gratitude for what God has given us, we can start doing this as a family and developing these habits in our children. Because imagine how amazing it would've been as a five-year-old to have been taught how to daily practice moment by moment gratitude.
So that would be my recommendation for all of us. You know that it's very natural in our sinful fall and state that we are going to be comparing ourselves to others and feeling like we don't measure up, but we need to recognize that that is rooted in pride. And rather than just buying into this cultural mantra of positive self-esteem and positive self-talk, we need to recognize that this is sin. It's the sin of pride. And the correct antidote is repentance through humility and gratitude.
Well, that's a wrap for this episode. But as we leave our time together, as is typical with a Foundation Worldview podcast, my prayer for you is that no matter the situation in which you and the children in your care, find yourselves that you would trust that God is working all things together for your good by using those circumstances to conform you more into the image of His Son. I'll see you next time.
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