Defeating A Culture Of Comparison

Defeating A Culture Of Comparison

Galatians 1:10: "For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ."

I find myself needing to fast social media quite often. Normally, I will delete my Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat apps for a few days or weeks at a time. I typically do this when I have a lot going on and need to eliminate distractions.

This year, instead of New Year’s Resolutions, I decided that I would fast something new each month. I chose to fast Instagram and Twitter for the month of January. I deleted Twitter because I waste so much time scrolling through trying to find something to laugh at. I deleted Instagram because I realized how heavy I compared my life to other people’s.

Instagram is both my favorite and least favorite app. I love it because I love editing photos and posting them for my friends to see. I love seeing how other people spend time and make their feeds ~cool~. On the other hand, I hate how it makes me feel sometimes. I get caught up in seeing where other people are compared to where I am. It is something that deeply impacts my walk with God.

Sometimes, it makes me strive to be more. It makes me want to spend more time in His word and more time in His presence because I am inspired by what I see. Sometimes, it just makes me want to post more. It makes me want to post more about what I am reading and what has been on my heart to prove that I am just as faithful as she is. Sometimes, it makes me want to give up altogether. I see how God has used @prettychristiangirl and wonder why I haven’t been used in the same way. I feel like I am behind in the race to His kingdom. It all turns into a mental competition in which I seem to be lagging behind.

The reality is that no matter how pretty the calligraphy in my Bible is and no matter how perfect my Jesus Calling devotional looks with my coffee mug, it is worthless until my walk matches it. Here’s what I mean: I can have everything aesthetically put together for a super dope Instagram story, but it is utterly meaningless unless I am applying it and living it out in my every day.

Another reality is that our walk with God is between God and the individual. It has nothing to do with the girl next to you or the person you follow on Instagram. It has nothing to do with what other people see or think. It is a full surrender and submission to a non-condemning and perfect Father. Don't underestimate what God can do in private.

My point is: don’t fall into the trap of comparison. I am so grateful for the people who broadcast their faith because they truly inspire me. I am excited to see how God will use them to do big things because of the fire that is inside of them. Their obedience hypes me up and makes me want to be a part of what they are doing. Use these people to your advantage. Don’t become frustrated or discouraged because their life looks better – because it truly just looks better. Not one Christian is living the way their Instagram is living.

Let your light shine. We have all been given a platform whether we are aware of who it is or not. Jesus has hand crafted you uniquely different from 7.5 billion people. Let that be your confidence to be who He created you to be. Living for the glory of God is so much more fulfilling than seeking the approval of man.

Cover Image Credit: Ben White

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Charlotte, You Have My Heart

My home away from home.

This is going to be ironic because my last article was about being hurt, which is honestly an ongoing battle, but after a few weeks of refreshing my mind away from the lull of social media, I am feeling more at ease now instead of on edge.

I'll tell you why.

This past weekend, I went to a place that has felt like home for the past year even though I had never physically been there. I went to a place that brings light to dark days and situations. I went to a place that introduced me to the best relationship in my life.

Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina is my home away from home and I finally made a weekend trip to go visit and attend a Saturday night service.

Let me just tell you, Pastor Steven has been preaching on a series called #SavageJesus and Jesus is the bomb - even more so than I thought.

Sorry, I just had to get that out there.

But let me tell you what I learned from this sermon.

Pastor Steven was preaching in Mark 1:40 about the leper.

Lepers in that time were not allowed to go anywhere near "clean" people. If they did, they had to shout "Unclean" before even making it there.

Well, the man with leprosy was so tired of feeling unclean that he would rather risk trying to see and talk to Jesus than continue his life in isolation.

The leper made it to Jesus and asked Him to make him clean. Of course, Jesus did, because He's a loving Savior.

But this is what I took away from this sermon.

In the wise words of Pastor Steven: Jesus can't heal what you don't reveal.

This relates back to my last article; I felt hurt, sad, lonely, confused. I felt like my walls were caving in and I was being smothered by everything around me. I felt helpless.


I revealed my hurt, my sadness, my loneliness and confusion. I admitted that I had no clue what I was doing and I was tired of trying to figure it out on my own; I couldn't do it anymore.

So, I gave it to God. I had no other choice.

And then Pastor Steven put it into the perfect words: He can't heal what you don't reveal.

And when I revealed my hurt, I felt God take it all in His own hands, like a breath of fresh air.

Thank you, Elevation, for being the guiding light towards my relationship with God and Jesus Christ. It was the best coincidence I ever had by coming across you on YouTube. God put you in my life at the right time, when He knew I needed guidance, when I needed healing.

I can never say thank you enough to the clearness you have brought into my heart and mind.

Cover Image Credit: Mandy Parsons

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If God Is Good, Then God Must Not Be All-Powerful

This might be blasphemy, but it’s what I believe.

I believe in God. Let’s start there. I really like the idea that there is a greater power in the universe, beyond what we so far have been able to explain with science, and I believe that I have personally felt God’s presence in the world.

I’m a born-and-raised Jew, though my parents never demanded that I believe, only that I respect their traditions while I lived in their house. I decided, growing up, that I liked those traditions, and that I believed in God.

My relationship with God is, in a word, complicated. Sometimes I’m more reverent than others. I praise God some days and on others I mutter snarky comments to God that would make Tevye the Milkman proud. I go through phases where I write G-d instead of God, out of respect for the holy name. Other times – like now – I think, “God’s name isn’t actually ‘God,’ so what does it matter how I spell it in English? It’s not like he/she/they/whatever minds.”

This complicated relationship with God is pretty typical for Jews. Our patriarch Jacob is known for literally wrestling with God. Rabbis have been debating God’s laws, intentions, and even God’s very existence for over five thousand years. There are atheist Jews.

There’s an old joke about three rabbis debating a point, two trying to convince the third to change his mind. Eventually God shouts down from the heavens to say that the third rabbi is, in fact, correct. To that the two rabbis say, “Eh, it’s still just two on two.”

Recently I spent several days working at an event with a lot of motivational speakers. A recurring theme of these speakers’ presentations was that God had a plan for everyone. Some of them hedged their comments by saying that they weren’t trying to force their beliefs on anyone, and that we could call God whatever we wanted, but they maintained that God had a plan for everyone.

But that isn’t a general God concept. This is a specifically Christian concept. For Jews, God has an intent, but not necessarily a plan. God began creation, but now he’s pretty hands-off about it; it’s our job to continue the creation process and heal the world. The closest Jews get to the concept of God having a plan is the stuff we say on Yom Kippur about God inscribing people into the book of life for a new year. According to Judaism, if God has a plan – and that’s a big “if” – it’s re-written at least yearly, and we can ask for it to be altered.

A lot of Christians I’ve met in my life take comfort in the idea that God has everything planned out for them. They respond to their failures with the line, “God must have something else planned for me,” and with tragedies with the line, “God must be trying to teach me something.” Which is all well and good in my opinion for a lot of the smaller bad things that happen in the world.

But some bad things are just too big for me to understand as a part of a plan. Children get incurable cancers. Tornadoes wipe away entire communities in a single night. All over the world, all throughout history, people in power label a group as the source of all their problems and use that as reason to murder millions, and no miracle stops them.

The question of why bad things happen to good people is a question that people have been asking forever. My personal conclusion is this: God is not all-powerful.

If God is all-powerful, if God has a plan for all of us and controls everything that happens to us, and those things involve child cancer and genocide, then how could God be good?

Perhaps my brain is just too mortal and fallible to comprehend the logic of God. I certainly don’t have enough hubris to claim that I understand God’s will. But with the mind and the morals that I do have, I cannot see a completely all-powerful God who controlled everything and yet caused or allowed such things to happen as good.

I very much prefer to believe that God is good. I don’t want to believe in a cruel God. Therefore, God must not be all-powerful. God must not control everything. And I’m fine with that.

We say that humans were made in the image of God. Humans are imperfect, so God too may be imperfect. I can believe in an imperfect God. I am very happy with the idea that when bad things happen, God is watching with as much horror as we are.

That isn’t to say that God never does anything for us. As I said, I believe I have felt God’s presence. We call it b’shert – when things just work out so well there’s no way someone wasn’t pulling the strings. B’shert is leaving the house, realizing you left your cell phone, and going back in to find that you left the stove on. B’shert is the little voice in your head telling you to take a different route to work, and later you learn that there was a big accident on your normal route. B’shert is the tornado missing your house.

B’shert is God exerting influence on the world. It is not God controlling everything. It is not God following a plan. It is not God making bad things happen to good people. I do not believe that God does any of those things.

Perhaps one day, after I die, I will come face-to-face with God.

Perhaps God will say to me, “You’re wrong. I’m all-powerful, and I controlled everything, and you’re going to hell for believing incorrectly.”

To that I would reply, “Send me to hell, then. I’ll be in good company there, with the Jews, atheists, homosexuals, and everyone else you’ve arbitrarily damned. We know how to suffer together.”

Or perhaps God will say to me, “You’re wrong. I’m all-powerful, and I controlled everything. But I forgive you for not believing. Come with me to heaven.”

To that I would reply, “No. I will not go with you. You may have forgiven me, but I have not forgiven you.”

Cover Image Credit: Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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