10 Ways to Quit Comparing and Build Community | Dawn M Owens

10 Ways to Quit Comparing to Build Community Instead

It’s hard to quit comparing to build community. Just last night I was on Instagram and I realized I was doing it, again.

Thankfully, I have learned a thing or two about comparison and how the enemy likes to tempt us with this to pull us away from our relationship with God and with others. So now when this happens, I have the arsenal needed to help me to recognize the devil’s schemes and respond accordingly.

How about you?

Do you know when you have fallen prey to comparison? Have you found yourself putting the phone down and feeling more anxious, maybe even depressed over the view on the screen compared to your life? Does that trigger the need to change your hair, body size, makeup, eating habits, or house? I have been there and done that.

Or are the times that you not only are finding yourself comparing online, but also when you show up to work, or the mommy-date at the park, perhaps at the event you went to last night or the store you were last shopping at in the mall.

It’s not difficult for any of us to get caught up in the trap of comparison. But how do we respond to it when we do.

As an approval addict in recovery, I can find myself caught up in this if I am not aware or careful. Doing so would send me into a downward spiral, and before I knew it, I had torn myself to shreds in my mind. At which point I decided I couldn’t do anything, be anything, or engage in anything because I was less than the person I was comparing myself to at the moment.

However, now that I lead a faith-based non-profit, that temptation to compare becomes even more challenging. Because now it’s not just me, but its just as easy to get caught up in comparing our ministry to another, which is the complete opposite of what God has given us as a vision for our community.

The reality is that for every truth there is about God and His desire for His people, the enemy has a counterfeit. Comparison, aka coveting, is that counterfeit. https://wp.me/p7HNJY-zY #quitcomparing

And the enemy is pretty dang good at it. Coveting is what got him kicked out of heaven in the first place. He wanted what he couldn’t have, and so God said adios to him and a bunch of his friends.

But we do not have to fall prey to that same scheme. We can choose a different path, and in doing so instead of sinning against God (coveting is a sin, which means comparison is too), we could choose a path that brings about unity in the body of Christ and therefore honoring and glorifying God.

10 Ways to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

10 Ways to Quit Comparing and Start Building Community | Dawn M Owens

Accept-Repent-Re-Focus

1. Accept what you have done
The first step in stopping any cycle, addiction, or struggle is to accept the fact that you have done the very thing you were trying not to do. Without this step none of the others matter.

2. Repent
As I mentioned before, comparison is just a nicer word for coveting. Coveting, being the 10th commandment is a sin. The quicker we repent, the sooner we can get into right relationship with God. He can use a repentant heart.

3. Re-focus your thoughts
Another issue with comparing is that our thoughts are often running wild. The Word says that we are to take our thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). When we are set on a path to compare ourselves to others, our thoughts have a mind of their own. They are no longer focused on God, but instead on ourselves.

Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Prayer is Powerful

 4. Stop comparing and start praying.
I have found that the quickest way to stop myself from comparing, and therefore focusing my thoughts on me rather than God, is to change my focus.  I start praying for the person in which the comparing began.  It might look like this,

“Lord, I love the way you have fearfully and wonderfully made ___________. You have created ________ to be beautiful in the sight of man. I pray Lord for blessing over ___________________ gifts, talents, and passions. That you would give ___________ favor, where ____________needs it. Bless ___________ hands and feet as _________________  does the work that you have called ______________ to do.”

5. Speak God’s blessing over you
We must keep our focus on God and His perspective during this process.  We not only need to pray a blessing over the person we are comparing ourselves with but we also need to pray a blessing for ourselves. When we compare ourselves to someone else, we also start to tear ourselves apart. But we are created in the image of God, He sees us as daughters and sons, and as heirs to His throne. We certainly do not want to speak against who God created us to be. So try this:

God, I thank you that you created me in your image, with your own two hands. You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. You know my inmost parts. I thank you God for how you made me and that there is no one else like me, which means I can not be compared to anyone else, I am unique in my own right. Lord, I ask you to keep my thoughts pure, to align my heart with yours, to help me see me as you see me, and to be quick to respond to the Holy Spirit’s voice when He tells me to love who you created me to be and not compare myself to others.

Get to the Root Cause

6. Ask yourself, “Why?”
There may be a reason that you are comparing yourself to others. It may be because of how you currently feel about yourself. It may be that you have become disconnected to God. Perhaps you are harboring anger or bitterness against God, yourself, or another. There can be lots of whys in this scenario, but asking the question will help you get to your root cause.

Join the Movement

7. #Cheerheron
I want to start a new trend. Every Wednesday I am showing women on my Instagram and Facebook accounts that I think my followers should follow. I am using the hashtag #womentofollow, but I am adding the hashtag #cheerheron. Because it’s great to mention women that others should follow, but I want to do more than that. I want to change our culture. I want us to build each other up and realize when we are tearing each other down.  So in sharing that woman to follow, I also want you to speak words of encouragement over her and her calling, (recognizing that God has all called us live worthy of our callings).

Dawn Owens | Live Worthy | Do you have a calling?

8. Celebrate our different gifts and talents
The best part of being in a community is that we are not all the same. Could you imagine what life would be like if everyone looked, acted, loved, served, and thought like you?

Although different can feel difficult, can you imagine how dull and mundane that scenario could be? Oh, I would be over myself fast.

The apostle Paul was extremely passionate about unity in the body, and we know this because he talked about in almost every one of his Epistles. In every message he shared with the local churches he was telling them over and over again, honor each other in the gifts that you have received. Stop comparing one gift, talent, or passion to another. Celebrate the fact that we are all created differently for different purposes.

Balancing Social Media

9. Take a break from social media
The best way for you to stop incessantly comparing yourself to others is to take a break from social media. Yes, you can certainly find yourself in a comparison trap off of social media, but it is not as in your face or this case, screen. If you find yourself in that scenario off-line as much as you do online than I would say stay away from those places, situations, or venues for a time if you are able. Giving yourself a break will also help you give your thoughts a break. Those times will bring clarity and focus.

10. Use your feed as a prayer list
The best way to change the way you think is to go into it with a different perspective. Instead of scrolling mindlessly and finding yourself caught in a trap, use your feed, (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) whatever your social media of choice may be, as a way to pray for others. When we are focused on lifting up friends, family, acquaintances or celebrities, we may or may not know about God, our perspective changes. It’s difficult to compare, covet or have feelings of jealousy when we are lifting up those people to our Father. 

There you have it, 10 ways to help you when you find yourself comparing your life to another.

I have got one more, we’ll call it a bonus, way you can help support someone else and dig into this character flaw a bit further.

You may know that my book Like Me or Not: Overcoming Approval Addiction just became available for pre-order last week. If not, you want to go check out all the great giveaways and downloads available.

LMON Facebook Pre-Order

Apply for My Launch Team

But now I am inviting women from all over to apply for my launch team. This is an excellent way for you to start learning how your need for approval will affect your relationships. In turn, this keeps us in a place of comparison and effectively taking us out of community. In fact, chapter 6 in the book addresses just that issue.

If helping yourself so you can help others sounds intriguing, then be sure to apply today. We will only be accepting applications until April 2, 2018, and spots are limited.

Join My Launch Team

Questions: Which of the 10 ways was most convicting to you? How will you start to implement it in your daily life?

 

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Dawn Owens | Live Worthy | Do you have a calling?

Calling: How To Know If You Have One?

“Do you have a calling?” Better yet, what is a calling and how do you know if you have one?

When I was a child, I had two dreams: I wanted to be a Mom and a Teacher. I would line up my dolls and my younger sister in our playroom into desk lines and teach them a chosen curriculum for the day

Later, I would feed, bath, and dress the same crew and ready them for bed. The same way any mother would.

And though there is much truth in those early years of who I have become today, does that mean those roles have become my calling?

I’d like to suggest the answer to that is no.

But before I get to the reason why, let me share with you the scripture verse that will guide our conversation.

It is Ephesians 4:1-3 which says, 

“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”

Dawn M Owens | Live Worthy | Ephesians 4:1-3

The author of Ephesians, Paul, is making a huge statement here to the church at Ephesus and us as believers today.  If you put this verse into the context of defining calling by our dreams or the careers we might someday fulfill, it would be a particular and finite use of the word calling. However, I don’t think Paul was implying a vocation, as much as he was suggesting something much more significant than that.

The Worth of Your Calling

I’d like to offer that the value placed on the word “calling” is much larger than we may realize. Check out the words prior to the word “calling.” Paul says, “live a life worthy of the calling.”  The word “worthy” has a value associated with it that we can skim by if we are not careful.

When translated into Greek, the word “worthy” is axios.  This means weight, assigning a matching value (worth-to worth), and my absolute favorite definition:

as the assessment in keeping with how something “weighs in” on God’s balance –
a scale of truth.

This statement implies that your calling is on a balance of the same equal value or worth to God’s truth.

Worthy Image_FB Cover

I think it is safe to say, though it is important to us to have a vocation, Paul is speaking of calling that has much more worth than a specific job.

Your calling has more worth than a vocation. #calling #purpose #worth

The Blessings of Your Calling

So what is Paul telling us about the calling that we have received?

Let’s go check out that word calling in Greek too. Why not, right?

(And by the way, you can do this on your own. I am using a great website called Bible Hub. I love it for all things translation. Little secret, I get a little geeked out about finding words that have a more substantial meaning in the Hebrew or Greek than what we use in English.)

In the Greek klésis means:

calling; used of God inviting all people to receive His gift of salvation – with all His blessings that go with it

Oh.my.goodness. I love that so much.

Do you hear what God is saying to you and me in the definition of calling? Oh to be able to speak Greek, always.

God is saying to us; I am inviting you to accept my gift of salvation, that one where I sent my Son, Jesus to live a sinless life. He lived fully man and fully God. Then He took on all the suffering and all the sins of the world so you could LIVE. And not just live, but live eternally with me in Heaven.

But that is not all! Oh no, there is MORE.

Not only do you get the gift of salvation which includes eternal life, but He also washed your sins away (you know that gossip you said yesterday, those little lies you told the other week, maybe that big sin you committed in the past). And if we stopped there, that would be more than enough. But He also clothed you in righteousness AND gave you ALL His blessings to go along with it.

Say what?! It’s like winning the 5.3 million dollar jackpot, and then them saying, wait there is more, and more, and more, and…

Because here is the deal, God’s blessings…they are abundant.

Which brings us back to why there is no way that Paul is only suggesting your vocation. You’ll find the same word in several other scripture verses where the use is broader. Here are a few examples:

Romans 11:29, NIV
…for God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable

2 Thessalonians 1:11, NIV
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling, and that by His power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.

Philippians 3:14
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

The Character in Your Calling

Now that we understand there is immense worth in our calling, there is a blessing beyond our calling; we need to know in what ways to live our calling.

This may be the most challenging part.

Because I don’t know about you, but what Paul lays down here are the ways you and I should exhibit, some pretty high standards:

He says in verses 2-3, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Humble, gentle, patient, bearing in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace…goodness, I am out of the game starting at humble.

I mean, I don’t know about you, but these are not natural character traits for me to accomplish every day.

And if you thought you might be able to get away with the “bearing with one another in love” let me just mention in the NLT it says it like this “making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” Yeah, I’m out too. 

So what are we to do?

Allow me to offer a few suggestions.

Living Your Calling

First of all, this is not a do-them-all-or-you’re-out deal for you Type-As out there. So take a deep breath.

Second of all, Paul said he is urging us to live a life worthy of the calling. In his urging, he recognizes the struggle. I mean, he is the one who talked about the thorn in the flesh, right?!

Third of all, we can use these as they are needed. The more we recall these words in our mind and speak them out of our mouths, the more they will start to be exhibited in our lives.

Making Your Calling Worthy

My words of the year this year are LIVE WORTHY.

When I felt God leading me to those words, it was out of the verses here in Ephesians. But months before that, I wrote a book, and in the sixth chapter, I talk about how we get stuck in comparison rather than building community. I used Ephesians 4:6 as my scripture of teaching.

God had planted the seeds for this scripture verse and then later was going to hold me to it.

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A few months later, I was struggling with defining who I was as a ministry leader apart from my everyday role as the Founder/Executive Director of The Link of Cullman County. It can be a slippery slope when you lead something and allow your position to define who you are.  And God led me back to these verses yet again, to teach me that my calling has nothing to do with what I do in my vocation. It has everything to do with how I live for Him.

So the way this looks for me: I take one day at a time.

One day at a time where I am learning who I am in Him. In that one day, I can believe for all those blessings that are part of the invitation of the call. Blessings which includes being humble, gentle, patient, bearing with one another in love.

And then how I am seeking unity with others as I serve the world around me.

As I do that I assess if I am doing that with humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with others in love.

Some days I get some of them right, other days not as much.

But tomorrow is another day, and I will try again. And so can you.

Your calling is so much more than your vocation, a dream to be a something or a someone.

Your calling is how God created you to worship Him, serve Him, honor Him, and give glory to Him in everything that you do.

What Will You Do With Your Calling?

How will you start to live out your calling today differently than you did yesterday?

Comment below and let’s talk about how we can all live a life that is worthy of the calling we have received.