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The Antidote to the Comparison Trap

by Arielle Vogel February 5, 2018

We’ve probably all been there. Scrolling through Pinterest, inspired by all the “simple” home renovation projects, colorful meal prep plans, and impressive kid birthday party themes. Then you set out to recreate the masterpiece, with a step-by-step video tutorial or complicated recipe full of ingredients you can’t pronounce. You’re so excited to finally join the rankings of professional mommy-bloggers, achieving the glorious balance of a “perfectly imperfect” life. You even have a clever caption crafted for your Instagram post.

And then it all goes wrong.

Your DIY project looks more like a third grader’s attempt at Picasso art, and that recipe full of expensive ingredients is now just a pile of mush (and no, calling it “deconstructed” isn’t going to make it any more edible).

Instead of joining the ranks of “perfect moms”, you’re just joining the rest of the Pinterest Fail community…and 42% of other moms who experience the stress of trying to compete with (or just keep up with) the things they see online.  Out of these stressed out moms, 75% of them admitted that they caused the stress, putting the pressures on themselves.

In today’s culture of social media, it’s easy to be down on yourself when you’re scrolling through your phone, comparing everyone else’s highlights to your blooper reel. On average, moms spend three and a half hours each day on social media. And much of that time is spent in the comparison trap.

Your Finances Are Not Immune

It’s often been said that comparison steals your joy…but it also steals a lot of your money.

Moms control 85% of household purchases and are responsible for $2.4 trillion in spending power. Their sheer economic presence makes them one of the biggest targets for marketers, and one of the most vulnerable. It already costs over $233,000 just to raise a child, not to mention the steep cost of creating perfect school treats and dressing your kids like their last name is Kardashian.

Sadly, many have turned to credit cards to keep up with these financial pressures. The burden of bondage to a creditor can be great, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed with credit card debt, get in touch with Christian Credit Counselors.

And if you need a defense against the stress and pressure of overspending online, Crown has an easy-to-use guide that will help you create a budget you can keep.

Contentment, not Comparison

The only true antidote to comparison is contentment, which begins with a thankful heart.

By filling up on the beautiful truths and wisdom of the Lord, you become satisfied in Christ and grateful for all He has done. Living in gratitude brings contentment. And, when we get to that point, we are no longer slaves to the temporary things of this world. We gain an eternal perspective and can say “No” to things that don’t have eternal value, and “Yes” to saving and giving.

Just like we have to discipline our hands to save and give regularly (because for most, it doesn’t come naturally), we also need to discipline our eyes to look upon what truly matters. The things of eternal value cannot be found on Pinterest, or Instagram, or Facebook. Colossians 3 reminds us to set our hearts on the things above, not on what’s here on this earth.

Contrary to Popular Opinion…

Choosing to live differently than the rest of the world is fundamental for Christians, and stewards. It’s not easy, and it means you may miss out on some of the trends or latest online news. But it will keep your heart, family, and finances full of peace and joy instead of bitterness and greed.

Remember the words of the Apostle Paul, “At one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true.” (Ephesians 5:8-11)

You’re to “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than ourselves.” (Romans 14:19)

You’re called to remain “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord….knowing that in the Lord our labor is not in vain”. (1 Corinthians 15:58)

You’re not to “become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5:26)

Instead of checking Instagram, “Delight yourselves in the Lord,” knowing “he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

Focus on Galatians 1:10, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

The world would like to pull you into their agenda but you have to constantly renew your mind to stay focused on the things of God. Here are some ideas on how to safeguard your heart, mind, and finances against comparison:

  • Take a break from social media and delete apps off your phone.
  • Replace the time you would have spent online with a book, a journal, or time with your children and friends.
  • Create a budget and stick with it.
  • Include your children in the stewardship conversation and start to give them financial responsibilities as well.
  • Take time to serve others and focus on the needs around you.

Ultimately, your Pinterest fails or successes won’t matter in eternity. The impact that you have on others with your finances, conversations, and actions will. Start by making giving and saving a priority in your finances – for where your money is, your heart is too.

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