I often have trouble sleeping at night, and part of the trouble is that I can’t turn my mind off. (Sure wish there was a switch – seems like it’s on at night, but off during the day!) Last night was one of those nights, and while I was awake I fell in to the blog trap!
My mind just kept going and going, and that’s when it happened:
I FELL RIGHT INTO THE TRAP!!
What trap, you ask? The GUILT BY COMPARISON trap! I found myself thinking about a post I had read earlier that day, and the more I thought about it, the more discouraged I felt.
I started comparing what her kids did, and thinking that my kids probably wouldn’t do that. This made me feel like I had failed in some areas of character training with my kids, and made me feel guilty. After ALL, I speak on “Training Character Into your Children”!! How could I have let this happen? Discouragement immediately followed the guilt.
At first I didn’t realize what what was happening, and let the thoughts and guilt take hold. But then it was as though God gently spoke to me,and that’s when it hit me! I was doing just what I caution parents about in many of my workshops, and getting sucked right into that comparison trap:
Immediately this verse that I often share came to my mind:
“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” II Corinthians 10:12
God tells us here that is NOT wise to compare ourselves to each other. I would guess that is because He knows that it will take us on a downward spiral that ends in guilt and discouragement.
Also, He doesn’t want us to live our lives trying to do what others are doing, but rather seeking what He is telling us to do. So when you read one of those great blog posts that starts you on a guilt trip, rather than letting yourself start the comparing game, ask yourself:
1. What you can learn from the post.
2. What actions you need to take after reading it.
3. What ONE thing you can start working on. (rather than trying to start a lot of huge changes)
Let me give you an example of what I mean, to make this practical. This past week I wrote a post called Communication Killers: 7 Wrong Responses.
Perhaps as you read that post you realized that you were indeed guilty of some of those wrong responses. It would be very easy to think to yourself that you are a bad mom because of the way you respond to your kids. It’s easy to think that your friend(s) or the blog author don’t struggle with this, and they would would NEVER say some of the things to their kids that you have said to yours.. The truth is, we ALL struggle with many of the same things, but for some reason we always look at others and think they would never have some of the same struggles we have!
If you allow yourself to continue on with the thought process, you will end up even more discouraged, and perhaps even think that you’ll never be “as good of as mother” as they are, etc.
INSTEAD, take the ideas I listed above. After reading the post, ask what you learned. (I have been responding wrong to my kids at times.) As you think and pray about it, you might decide you should take the following actions.
First, ask God to forgive you, and thank Him for bringing it to your attention.
Second, go and apologize to that child, and let them know you realize some of your responses have been wrong, and that you are going to try to do better.
Then choose the ONE that you are most guilty of, and start working on changing that one first.
There are MANY wonderful blogs to encourage us, and help us in our parenting, homeschooling, marriage, walk with the Lord, etc. May I just remind you to read them with an awareness that they can lead to comparison and guilt, and to CHOOSE to learn and be encouraged from them instead!