We’ve been thinking about invisible robbers who steal your contentment. And more specifically, one who tries to convince you to put too much stock in (a) comparing yourself to others (in person or online), and (b) the judgments and criticisms of others.
It’s definitely a big topic. Alain de Bottom wrote a book about “Status Anxiety.” He defined it as “a worry, so pernicious as to be capable of ruining extended stretches of our lives, that we are in danger of failing to conform to the ideals of success laid down by our society… a worry that we are currently occupying too modest a rung or are about to fall to a lower one…”
And do you know what? One of the tools that the thief uses to make us feel bad compared to where we relate to others…
Is social media.
Social psychologist Ethan Kross from Michigan University said, “We measured lots and lots of other personality and behavioral dimensions… The more you used Facebook, the more your mood dropped.” It’s where a lot of the comparisons happen.
In an article titled “The Agony of Instagram” Alex Williams says that it is the “highest achievement yet in social-media voyeurism” and “a new form of torture.” Yikes!
Proverbs 14:30 says, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Would you rather have envy, comparison and rot? Or peace, life and contentment in Christ?
The point is this. If you’re being robbed of contentment, you may need to limit your exposure to environments that thrive on comparison.
Don’t scroll mindlessly. Don’t buy the lie that everyone’s life is always that good all the time. Don’t think your status under God has anything to do with what others are up to.
If you’re being robbed of contentment, you may need to limit your exposure to environments that thrive on comparison.
By Matthew Ruttan
—You can now WATCH me deliver the sermon that today’s “Up!” is based on here. It’s called “The thief of comparison and criticism” and is Part 2 in the “Contentment” series. Enjoy! [The audio-only download is here.]
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.