- This will be a 14-day challenge. Prior to the challenge, you are to list down five things or platforms that cause feelings of comparison and/or jealousy to arise in you.
- During the challenge, fast from the above-mentioned things or platforms.
- Suggest five ways that you can combat these feelings during the course of this challenge.
I am excited for this challenge! We live in a world that is increasingly competitive, and it is so easy for me to define my success and worth based on how well I am doing in comparison to others. Whenever I feel jealous, I try to use these feelings as a source of motivation to do better. However, I know that allowing my actions to be motivated by envy and the fear of being inferior is not how God wants me to live my life.
I will be deleting Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube, and avoiding secular music and online shopping.
I have asked a close friend to keep me accountable and remind me to stay committed to the challenge if she sees me liking or posting anything on Instagram. She will also be able to view my activity on Spotify to make sure I don’t listen to secular music.
Today was pretty challenging. Throughout the day, I still instinctively searched for those apps on my phone before remembering that I had deleted them. I struggled with thoughts on comparison even when I was simply observing people around me. These included things like being envious of the way others looked, talked, or carried themselves. On the upside, I was surprised at the difference fasting from these platforms made spiritually! Since I didn’t have all my social media platforms to scroll through in my spare time (such as while travelling home from school), I tried using that time to talk to God instead, and pray about the thoughts and feelings I struggled with during my day.
I found that not being so caught up with all the noises of the world generally helped me be more in tune with God and more sensitive to His voice and what He was saying to me.
Something happened today that I was really eager to post about on Instagram. I was disappointed when I realised I couldn’t, as it was one of those things that would give me temporary confidence after posting about it. In that specific moment I was prompted to pause and ask myself what was my reason for the post. Was there something about myself that I wanted to prove? Was I just eager to rake up some points in this game of comparison that everyone else was playing?
When I was texting my friends and hearing about what they’ve been doing and accomplishing throughout the day, I still struggled with thoughts of comparison, getting frustrated at myself when my day didn’t seem as fulfilling or productive as others’ did. However, I found it easier to recognise and manage these feelings by reminding myself of the things God has taught me the past few days. I also took time daily to pause, converse with God, and thank Him for what He has blessed me with.
One evening, I was involved in an online vote for the new Executive Committee of my co-curricular activity. Normally, I would question my own abilities and competence in comparison to the rest. However, I found myself committing everything to God and asking Him to show me who He wanted to appoint as leaders in each specific position. To my surprise, every person I voted for was the exact person who won that round. I also felt joy when I texted those individuals to affirm them!
Something happened today that I really felt like posting about again, but this time I realised that because my thoughts were already centred more on God’s heart and seeking to please Him, it didn’t bother me one bit that I wasn’t able to do so! I’m really encouraged seeing how God has been working in and through me these past few days.
A few of my friends were talking about a project that they found out about through social media, and that some other people I knew were involved in as well. They were discussing how they wanted to participate in it, and I was tempted to download all my deleted platforms before the challenge was up to see what it was all about. However, seeing the huge difference that this challenge has made for me mentally, emotionally, and in my walk with God, I was encouraged to follow through to the end of the challenge. I didn’t think I would be able to make it, but I’m really glad that I did.
Looking back, I think this challenge was something I didn’t know I needed. Fasting from all these platforms and meditating on God’s Word didn’t instantly make it easier for me to curb my feelings of jealousy and comparison, and it still took consistent effort to be mindful of my thoughts, but it was definitely very helpful! I’ve learnt to see things a little more like God does, and value the things that matter to Him.
Now, whenever I experience such emotions, I try to go back to God’s Word. One of the passages I like to read is Job 38–40, where Job finally encounters God face-to-face and has a revelation of God’s wisdom, which is far above his own. Reading this passage always humbles me and reminds me of how small I am in comparison to how great and awesome God truly is. I am reminded that God does not owe me anything, and yet He has blessed me with so many things that I do not deserve. This helps me refocus my thoughts and give thanks for all that God has given me, instead of feeling jealous and getting upset over what I do not have.
Moving forward, I want to continue living my life accountable to my audience of One and to Him alone — the One whose opinion truly matters, because He created me.