Since comparison is a trap that keeps us from fully being ourselves, we have to take intentional steps to see it as an enemy and kick it to the curb. From the heart conditions that spark comparison to practical steps to walk into a comparison-free space, our Grit ‘n’ Grace friends, Cheri and Amy, cover it all with transparency.
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- Episode #204 Transcript — coming soon!
- Is there someone that you’d like to be? Who’s your “her”?
- How would it change things to celebrate her and step into your own strengths?
- What are your comparison triggers?
Featured Author — Shannon Popkin
Shannon Popkin is a writer, speaker, and Bible teacher who loves pointing others to the truth of God’s Word. She combines her gifts for humor and storytelling with her passion for Jesus. She is the author of several books, including Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible and Comparison Girl: Lessons from Jesus on Me-Free Living in a Measure-Up World.
Shannon and her husband, Ken, have been married for more than twenty years and live in West Michigan. They have three children—one in high school and two in college.
Transcript — scroll to read here (or download above)
Grit ‘n’ Grace: Good Girls Breaking Bad Rules
Episode #204: Celebrating Freedom by Kicking Comparison to the Curb
Note: This is a machine-generated transcript that is only about 60-70% accurate.
Cheri, you have come up with a fantastic ladies who you’re not that we all we all need to live out Really? Well tell us what it is.
Okay, well, it’s good. It’s possibly going to sound really dumb or obvious, but I need this reminder constantly. In order to lose you’re not you need to realize you’re not her.
Okay, that is not really dumb.
We all do that.
You know, it’s it’s it’s funny because I was recently invited to join a Facebook group from my college and so you know, I graduated like 30 billion years ago. I guess it was only 30 years ago. Go. And people have been posting tons of old photos. Now let me just say, there are some amazing pictures of amazing as hair and clothes. And I am in deep mourning because I miss shoulder pads and stirrup pants so badly I just
make a comeback. Yes, really go ahead, mock me See if I care.
Well, I do like shirt pants. And actually last year, I bought stirrups from Amazon that I can clip on the bottom of my leggings to keep them tucked into my boots. Why don’t they just make
stirrups on them? Oh, that, you know, one of my favorite outfits. Literally had I had shoulder pads under the leg of mutton sleeves. And I had skirt pants and probably three or four inch heels. It was truly amazing. And oh, so very 80s. So I miss my favorite fashions, quote unquote, fashions of the 80s. But I’ll tell you, I do not miss the enhanced assessment. I do not miss the incessant habit of comparing myself to the other girls. And you’ve known me long enough. And you’ve listened to me lament about all every single personality test result I get. So you can probably guess which girls I constantly compared myself to
give me choices.
the I forget all the official names of them. But the happy party girl
You may have cheated by looking ahead in our notes. No, no,
no, no the enneagram at all. Yeah, late. Early. Yes. Okay.
Yes. That is who I am. In fact, as I go through the Facebook group, I’m like, Look, she was so happy in college. Like she was so happy in college. Like she was so happy in college. Yeah, no, no, you’ve absolutely read my mind. And here’s the thing. Okay, here’s the crazy thing. You and I both know, Sherry Fletcher. She’s a fellow podcaster and speaker. And she even
Ella dropped a gorgeous woman. Yes, yes, yes. And she
spells her name correctly. And we reconnected after many decades, we had known each other briefly in high school. And here’s the thing in high school in college, you know, so back in that era, I wanted so badly to be her. Like, she had the right name. And then I just wanted her personality. You know, I want to be glamorous like her. I want to be talented. I want to be popular like her. And when we reconnected just a few years ago, you want to guess who she spent her life wanting to be like,
I bet I can get it was lovely. She wanted
to be smart, or academic or whatever it was like me and I’m like, you already have the perfect name like, and here we are to Sherry’s spelled ch er II who wanted to switch personalities. And it is such a complete waste of time, comparing ourselves to each other and wishing that we could be someone else wishing we could be hurt. So yes, that is my that is my lose. You’re not statement. You’re not her. And I am practicing saying that out loud to myself in the mirror?
Well, I’m gonna say you’re not her to Can I do that? Yes. Is that within the rules? Okay, it is. So um, I tell you, well, you know, me, Sherry. And our listeners have gotten to know me, I kind of wear quirky and different as a badge of honor, a lot of times, you know, or I used to, especially when I was in high school, like the quirkier the outfit, the better that kind of thing. But I tell you when I had my worst time of comparison, and it was when I first joined the Proverbs 31 speaker team, because everybody was 100 miles ahead of me. And so and so, I’m, my worst regret about that time is instead of learning from the women who were 100 miles ahead of me, I kind of hidden shame from the women 100 miles ahead of me. So instead of, you know, just expressing where there was a gap, because listen in, in some cases, let’s be honest, there is a gap, right? And so, oh, sorry. In some cases, there really is a gap. And so and she is 100 miles ahead of me. But if we would just be humble, instead of comparing if we would go, oh, wow, here’s an opportunity for me to learn. Then we could learn from those people instead of hiding and shame and trying to pretend like there isn’t a gap or trying to overcompensate for the gap or, you know, whatever. And I just like you said, it’s a total waste of time.
Well, here’s what I find fascinating is you kept using The phrase 100 miles ahead, and you know, I resonate with that. And I know our listeners feel that, like, we all feel that in our gut, but the truth is, you guys were often in the same room. So it wasn’t necessarily 100 physical miles ahead. It was, it was had to do with experience and expertise and skill. Yes. And from what you just said, You’re the one who actually increased the distance between you guys, by hiding from them,
like, well, cuz that’s what perfection is, too. Yeah. Right. And that was, but that period of time, and then also, my young mother days, those were my worst times of perfectionism. And it was during that time, when I joined that team, that perfectionism really started to bite me in the butt. Before that, before that, it had kind of, you know, I had kind of gotten along with it, okay. But then it started really damaging things, including relationships, because when we compare, and when we find ourselves lacking, inevitably, we will hide will create facades to try to, to hide how much we feel like we fall short. And that creates distance and relationships. So while said, Mm hmm.
All right. So moving from lose who you’re not. Okay, one last time, you’re not her Yay, for Yeah, you have to try to be her, whoever your her mind to be anymore. And moving to love who you are. And my statement for this is going to be you are part of a bigger, you are part of a bigger picture, you are part of a bigger picture. And I want to look at that in two ways. You are a vital part. And you are only a part. So you’re really important. But you’re not the whole thing. So we got a great listener question that I wanted to weave into this. The question was comparison steals my joy. But how do I stop it? What is a practical first step to stop in comparison when I feel it creeping up on me. And I would like to share with our listeners a little story about an experience you and I had not too long ago that, for me at least illustrates what I hope will be a useful answer for this listener and for all of our listeners. So we had the privilege of being at Focus on the Family a number of weeks ago. much fun. It was amazing to see you again. Yeah, I think when I saw you at the airport, I might melt into a puddle of tears and fling myself non socially distantly at you.
Just imagine us running towards each other slow motion with our arms open. It was kind of like that.
Oh, my goodness, it was so good to be together again. And you know, of course, john and Jim are just amazing hosts and Ashley had done such a lovely job of preparing for the interview. And the first question ended up being directed to me and then the next one came to you and he’s you started answering the question. My critical brain kicked in. And I realized I had not included any scripture in my response. And my brain started to go into Attack Mode like see, you’re not really a Jesus girl. You’re not spiritual. Amy is the spiritual one here. Oh my god, it was this incredibly pivotal moment because as we’ve talked for a number of episodes now. But I now I now have a name for the kind of thing that started happening. And that’s recrimination. And so that’s what was starting, my brain started doing I should have, I’ve ruined everything. But then there was that part of my brain that’s learning that’s learning to love who I am. And I realized in a very small way, and of course, this is the Holy Spirit working let’s be clear, this is not me doing this. This was the part that’s me is the brain that’s going on overdrive and being critical.
But the Holy Spirit reminded me, you’re not the whole picture here. This interview isn’t all about you. And my I was able to remember Wait, this is recrimination. I don’t do that anymore. It’s not all about me. This interview isn’t all up to me. Yes, I’m a part of this interview. But I’m a part of a bigger picture. And so I was able to shut down perfectionism even as it was firing up. And I was able to just turn and listen to you. And from a chemical, a brain chemistry and body chemistry standpoint, I got a little shot of adrenaline when I realized, Oh, I wish I’d included scripture. But it wasn’t a full adrenaline dump, which I don’t know if you know the data on this, but when you’ve had a full dump of adrenaline, it takes 28 minutes. To leave the body. Yeah, wow, the short burst, you can clear it out. But when it does a full on dup, and so even remembering that back to that, I remember that beginning of the tingly feeling. And then I remember, it stopped. And I didn’t have to battle, that sense that everything had gone wrong. And here’s the thing that was so much fun is when I was able to realize it’s not when I was able to realize I am a part of a bigger picture, like I’m a part of this, but I’m only a part, then I was able to turn and go Yeah, she’s she’s doing a beautiful job of sharing a story of Jesus. How about instead of sitting here having this, and our listeners who do this will understand this all happened in my head and like five seconds, I know, it’s taken me five minutes to tell it. But it all happens in a really short period of time. And I was able to turn and listen and truly enjoy what you were sharing. And you were amazing.
And so for you wait till our listeners hear this, okay?
You were amazing, not in a Oh, she’s so much better than I am kind of way. But oh my goodness, I am listening to my friend Amy who loves Jesus so much, and is sharing her heart and truth and the truth from scripture in such an important way for those who will be listening to this broadcast. And, and I was just so grateful. I was like, instead of being overwhelmed by comparison, I just felt this sense of gratitude settled in on me. And again, I want to be clear, this is all the work of the Holy Spirit. This is not me grasping or white knuckling or anything else. And I’m and it was just an amazing experience. And very different from some of the ones that I know I’ve shared in the past on this podcast.
Well, such a great answer to that question. And for those of you that are listening, we don’t know the air date for that yet, but we will and we will share it with you.
I think we’re such a great team, Cheri Gregory, I love being part of this team with you, Amy Carol.
So what is your love who you are statement?
Mine is you are wonderful, but not more wonderful than her. You know, the part of the interview with Shannon that blew my doors off was something I had never considered before. And it was that flip that she did on us that that sometimes we compare ourselves more favorably than we should. And, and I thought about that, and I have really resonated with that. So my parents growing up, you know, it was a big deal at our house, we were not allowed to speak negatively about people we were, we were really taught humility growing up. And so you would think that this would not be a struggle for me, but I’m a one on the
Okay, like, you’re inside your cells, our little microscopes and magnifying glasses and by non oculars, by which you are constantly checking out the people around you, so you can compare them to what they should be doing.
And don’t forget the scales, the scale, yeah. Okay, so the ones that have right on one side and what you did on the other side, right? Yeah, so I keep I can be judgy once, or judgy. And I can be really judgy if I get into a comparison kind of place, and I especially become judgey of people who have created their own mess. Oh, gosh, but you know what, who of us have not created our own mess? You know, it was funny, one of our sons who shall remain nameless did something recently that was kind of a it was kind of a mess up. And, and Barry and I were discussing it and I was kind of getting a little hot under the collar. And then Barry and I started talking about all this stuff, stupid stuff that we have done bad decisions, we’ve made money we’ve thrown down into all I mean, all this stuff, you know, but in the moment, sometimes it can be very easy. Yeah, become judgey of other people and compare ourselves in ways that are unhealthy that we are thinking more of ourselves than we ought, if we want to put it in biblical terms. And, you know, I was just reminded, as I was thinking back through that portion of the talk that we had with Shannon, is that the opposite of judgment in a situation like that is compassion and kindness. Mm hmm. And, and so I was drawn back into remembering that each one of us we are wonderful, there are things to be loved about us because God created us. But we are not more wonderful than any other person made in the image of God.
I’m so so good. So good. I’m going to take that question. I’m going to weave it into my questions section here. So give me just a tiny second. There we go. We’ll just leave it as an open ended question for our listeners to answer and
I’ll transition into you.
Yeah. Good. Okay.
All right, Cheri, he has come up with some great questions for us to live our one life well, better than we were before we listened.
Yeah, you know, the thing. And I remember watching your face, as Shannon was talking about the importance of being a spout rather than focusing on the, on the lines, because that’s been your theme of, of living a life of pouring ourselves out into others. And so, you know, one of the takeaways I got was when we’re pouring, we’re not measuring. So a simple question could be, am I pouring? Or am I measuring and, and that that alone could be a great litmus test. The first question I came up with is, where’s the need with my name on it. And I love how Shannon described walking into room noticing that somebody is already doing her thing, doing our thing. And instead of competing, or sulking, the idea is to just immediately look for where God wants us to pour out what’s currently in our cup, what he’s placed into our cup. And so it’s like, in my case, if there’s enough helpers, well, then maybe this enneagram, too, is going to do something else for the next hour or whatever, rather than barging my way, or inserting myself where I’m not needed. But to be able to take that moment of pause and say, okay, Lord, where do you want me? What is the need with my name on it? And, you know, it reminds me of a time that I, I came into a lunch at a retreat, and I was late. And, you know, I still had that school girl fear of walking into the cafeteria, and nobody having a play safe for me. And sure enough, you know, the popular table was already full, and nobody had saved me a seat. And so I was like, and, you know, I ended up in the back in a quiet table with two gals who just wanted to talk. And it was lovely. It wasn’t what I would have necessarily planned for myself, but it was clearly the need with my name on it that day. So the first question, where’s the need with my name on it? The second question, what do I need to learn? And our discussion with Sharon convicted me that I have been bringing a dumpster, but
our discussion was Shannon,
thank you. Ah, I hope I didn’t do that earlier.
So the quiz. So my second question is, what do I need to learn? Our discussion with Shannon convicted me that I’ve been bringing a dumpster of disgust to social media? I’m just gonna be honest here.
There’s a lot of disgusting stuff on social media. We just say that,
yes, yes. enneagram. One, anyone you can say that. And so what goes through my head is things like I can’t believe they chose to, or I can’t believe they don’t understand, I can’t believe they believe. And so here’s the thing from differing politics, two different experiences as a pandemic, I’ve been guilty of that superiority comparison, she’s been talking about, like, early on in the pandemic, I spent months biting the heads off, biting off the heads of people who were enjoying all the free time and who were talking about drawing closer to their families, because that was just not my experience. And when I moved from judgment, like you were talking about to curiosity, funny thing I discovered, there’s a lot of perspectives and life experiences that I know nothing about. And since I’m a part of a bigger picture, it’s important to realize I have a lot to learn about that bigger picture, which is just another way of saying a lot to learn about the body of Christ. And in this specific case, I need to learn how to celebrate with people who are enjoying their lives, even when I’m struggling.
You know, we’ve talked on the podcast a lot about how important it is for people to come alongside people who are struggling. I’m thinking, at least where God is convicting me right now is yes, I can be struggling but I can also celebrate with people who aren’t that’s, that’s an important thing as well and not to fall into the what would it be kind of a victim mentality of of comparison. So it’s so unfair that their life is better than mine right now. paralyzed that they’re putting on social Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And then the third one is actually a question from a listener, and I’m going to leave that This open ended so I’m not going to even try to answer this or even offer an example of it because I’d love for us to discuss this in the Gritten grace in grit and grace of the community on Facebook. What are some common triggers? For the comparison trap? What are some of my common triggers for the comparison trap? And I think each one of us has different triggers and becoming aware of what they are, can be really helpful in either heading them off at the pass, or at least shortening the reaction to them.
Oh, that’s gonna be a great conversation. I’m going to be there. You’re going to be there share. I’m gonna be there. Okay. Absolutely. wait to hear what you all have to say.
Yes. All right, action. Amy, tell us what to do.
Well, as I always think of this, in terms of red flags, whenever we’re trying to change habits, what are the red flags that can wave so that we stop a bad habit in the midst of it kind of like what you described on Focus on the Family, you had this red flag of recrimination, and you stopped the reaction? And I think that’s a great first step, right. And we don’t have to do this perfectly. We might the reaction might have started that comparison might have started. But we it doesn’t have to be like a boulder rolling down the hill, we can put a stop to it. And so I thought the two emotions that I think for me, at least, and you can speak on this Sherry, are connected with comparison, comparison are kind of the opposite, which one is shame? Not feeling like I measured up and feeling ashamed of that. And the other is superiority, feeling superior to someone else. And so whenever we we can use those two emotions as red flags that when we start feeling shame, and it was so funny. I have we’ve talked about physical responses, but physical responses, I get this little creep in my scout and weird thing like a little tingling in my scalp. I had it happen the other night. And I was like, that’s when it’s that extreme, because I don’t always feel shame to that extreme. When it’s that extreme. It’s a big, humongous Red Banner. Or superiority. So those beyond high alert to those. That’s actually number one. Number two, is a simple one. manage your time on social media. I just I think social media has blown up the comparison. Yeah, situation. And Anson and I watched a documentary that he brought to us the other night. It’s called the social dilemma. Hmm, y’all, everybody needs to watch this social dilemma. It is. It is interesting interviews, while the most compelling part of it are interviews with people who are creating social media, or have been creating social media, talking about the manipulative nature of social media. My hair was ablaze, and my head was exploding. It was like some of the realizations that I had when I came to that. When I watched as I watched that documentary were just explosive. And for me personally, I have taken my social media off my phone indefinitely. So anyway, I think we all need to manage our social media.
Mm hmm. All right, great actions. And then what’s the scripture that we’ve, what’s the scripture that goes with these two episodes,
such a beautiful one, Philippians, two, verses three through seven, do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility, count others more significant than yourselves? Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who emptied himself by taking the form of a servant.
And what do you see as the grid in this whole? I was gonna say, comparison game, but we’re not calling it a game. So what for you is the grid when it comes to comparison?
It’s really paying attention to those red flags. You know, when we talked to Shannon, at the very beginning, she talked about this as a strategy of our enemy, Satan. This is not an Oh, well, I guess that’s just one of my weaknesses kind of issue. This I mean, this is a battle for our souls. And
talking to Shannon just makes me take that way more seriously. So the grid is sitting up, and being intentional about watching for those red flags. Hmm. And you have about what’s the grace? You know, the grace comes straight from the, from the Scripture, being reminded that of her role model who’s Jesus. He wasn’t playing the measuring game. He poured himself completely out for us. And he made himself he who was God made himself A baby made himself a servant. And if he could come to this earth and make himself small and lowly, then there’s hope that I, who typically might just my fleshly response is to walk into a room and want to make myself important one to impress the most important person in the room. But it gives me the assurance that I can learn as I’m following his lead, I can learn to to live from the spout rather than the lines I can learn to empty myself take the form of the servant and learn humility step by step and that when I fail, when I when I, when I fall prey to the enemy’s strategies. I have somebody I can turn back to I have a role model I can look at and I can try again.
Alright, want do you want me to say something like Sherry, that is so rich, I can’t wait to be with you. Okay. Yeah. Sherry, that is so rich. I cannot wait to continue talking with you about this for our Patreon supporters, Patreon supporters. We’re going to be sending you more Patreon supporters, we’re going to be sending you even more of this conversation.