The Joneses are Overrated Giveaway

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NOTE: It is not too late to join over 8,000 women who have now signed up for Proverbs 31 Ministries” Melissa Taylor’s online Bible study of my new book LET. IT. GO. How to Stop Running the Show & Start Walking in Faith.

Sign up here.

Get started by reading  LET.IT.GO.Free.Chapter until you can get the book.

Check out the optional conference calls by Jill Savage, Sharon Glasgow, Candace Cameron Bure and me here.

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Welcome to those of you who found your way here after reading my Proverbs 31 devotion tody. If you haven’t read it click here to do so and catch up with the rest of us. :)

Today, let’s chat.

Do you struggle with contentment? With keeping up with the Joneses?

Is this something new or have you done this since high school?

Do you think social media like Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest make this harder when you see what others are doing, buying, making or thinking?

Have you ever had to go on a media fast to realign your contentment?

Any tips for gaining contentment that you’ve learned along the way?

How about any guidelines you put in place for your online viewing habits?

What do you think of this statement: discontentment comes from counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own?

Leave your thoughts and questions in the comments section. We’ll tackle this topic together today.

Also, one person will be chosen to win this giveaway.

It includes:

~ A copy of LET. IT. GO. (signed to increase the worth at your garage sale someday!)

~ A pink and brown softcover, compact, but large print Bible in the Holman Christian Standard version.

~ A bright, funky journal–you can use it to count your blessings.

~ An index card binder system, to use to record and memorize verses to help you keep your perspective.

~ A bag of cinnamon coffee–just for fun!

Okay—let’s chat. What are your answers to any of the questions above or any other thoughts you have?

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NOTE: the winner of the free conference call on how to write a bang-up book proposal is: CassandraS Send your email address to kim@proverbs31.org so we can get you signed up for the call. If any of the rest of you who did not win want to sign up for the call, the information is found here.

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250 Comments

  1. Contentment- that one hit me in the face a few years back. My sister-in-law had a great house, in a local that I liked, near some of my friends, etc, and I wanted it! I hated going to visit because I left feeling less of a person and that what I do in life didn’t compare. Several times I cried as we left, just wishing for a portion of what she had. Then one time I tried to started looking at what I had that she didn’t. Maybe I didn’t have lots of indoor space to host family gatherings, but I had LOTS of outdoor space for my family to roam. I could hang out my laundry on the line- her housing group didn’t permit clotheslines (how crazy to buy a house for the neighbors to tell you how you can live?!?) And I found that if I looked at what I had rather than what I didn’t have, it made the visits much more enjoyable

  2. I have to say that I do find my self full of discontentment when it comes to my appearance. I am not one to really wish for things others have. But I do get to thinking man I wish I could eat like her and not struggle with weight or why can’t I be like my husband and cut very little out of my diet and lose 12 in a month!
    As far as a social media fast…..that might not be a bad idea!!!

  3. I think for the most part i am content with my small apartment. I don’t need a fancy car, expensive vacation or shopping spree, or pretty jewels to make me happy. I struggle with wanting more than one good pair of jeans like maybe having 2 good pair. I struggle with wanting to replace my only 2 three year old, too small, worn out bras with 2 new ones or maybe even 3! Is that being discontent? I don’t have an extra penny due to being on disability and it seems that this is just the way its going to be. I will never be able to afford socks, underwear etc. Am i being discontent by wishing for those things? I don’t know. I mean it would be nice to have the necessities of life. Seriously i am trying to be content with my lot in life because i don’t think its going to change anytime soon. So when i look at this question…
    What do you think of this statement: discontentment comes from counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own? When i see the the new dress they are wearing, the new fancy hair do, the steaks, roast and expensive groceries they put in their cart and i can’t even afford a lb. of ground turkey or 1 new bra let alone 2 0r 3 it does tend to make me discontent, dissatisfied and jealous for a short time. However i’m not usually one for pity parties though so i don’t let myself dwell there. I have a warm apartment, food, a car that runs and clothes to wear among many other blessings and when i think of that then it’s really not so bad. Thanks for this today. It is another one i will print and keep for future reference.

  4. Overall I do believe I am a pretty content person. Material things are not important to me, I can’t take them with me to Heaven. Vacations should be about what you and your family enjoys. Just because others are going on a cruise or to Disney does not mean it is what we need to do. My family loves camping and hunting and the great outdoors, those kind of vacations appeal to us and work within our budget. However, I do find it a challenge to teach this to our children. They see other kids with things they think they have to have…like cell phones or Ipads and it makes it hard. So we work through it and in the end it always seems to work out if we use God as our focus.

  5. Contentment and Comparison, both words that go hand in hand. I find that when I am comparing myself to someone else, discontentment soon follows. Also, being a perfectionist, which I am, can be mentally and physically exhausting.

    I love the statement about discontentment comes from counting someone else’s blessings and not your own. How true this is!

  6. I learned a lot about keeping up with the Jones family while watching my mother succumb to the pressures. My friends all referred to her as “Martha Stewart” and would say, “I wish my mom was more like your mom.” She made sure we kept up with the latest trends, got to go out and participate in social activities, clubs, athletics, all while working full time, keeping an emmaculate home and having a homemade dinner on the table every night for dinner. My mom was very emotional when others weren’t around, she would let her stress build and build until she’d cry hysterically over a mismatched placemat at the dinner table; but never in front of the company. It wasn’t until I was out of high school that I ever knew we struggled with money, or that my mom had high blood pressure and drank regularly.

    Now I am pregnant with my first child, due in September, and I am concerned that I will succumb to the pressure to be “super mom” like my mom needed to be. I think this book will provide valuable tools for my beginning parenthood and look forward to reading it.

  7. Everyone needs a media detox every now and then. I find that most often when i am not focused on God, my mind strays. Its those days when a ride to the country, some time alone, a nice bubble bath, a cup of tea, or even a good book can help more than anything.

  8. Oh my…isn’t it funny how when you really need a word from God specifically about what you are trying to deal with…in comes a devotional about it. Karen, your devotional today was really helpful and help me to ask God how to help me in my particular situation. I’m not going to compare our relationship to those of other couples. I’ll trust God to tell me what to do (and to for Him to tell my Fiance what he needs to do). It’s so hard.

    I had mentioned on my facebook page that I’m engaged. My fiance wanted me to move much quicker than what I had planned and it really seemed like my path just led to that. He was afraid I’d meet another man and he’d be devastated. During that time, odd things that I hadn’t had happen to me in and outside of work happened and voila: perfect timing for a move.

    However, right now I’m seeing odd behavior from my fiance and i’m trying not to cry but it’s hard…and I’m asking myself when it’s pretty clear that God made a path for me to move faster to be closer to my fiance, why has He put me here? I don’t need heartache…what am I supposed to be here for? Am I supposed to help my fiance with stuff he’s going through? Am I supposed to learn or refine a godly characteristic? what? you know?

    I’m not on facebook much because I’m honestly not sure what to write and I thought this was the man God had chosen for me. maybe he is. Right now though it’s like a bad infomercial that has misrepresentation written all over it. I won’t go into details but I feel like I’ve been had and it’s hard to “let it go” when you just want to tell that man to get his act together and return to treating me like a fiance and not less than a fiance, you know? I’m seeing I’ve been lied to about a few things and his behavior is changing….not fun at all. Thank you for the devotional. :(

    1. Last year I was engaged to a man I had dated for 2 years prior. We were compatible people and he would go to church with me as long as we were out before the football games came on. We served in Children’s ministry together and I thought he was just as plugged in as I was. But 1 1/2 months before our wedding he stopped going altogether and told me I would have to go alone. When I got to the bottom of it he said he wasn’t actually a Christian, he was a Deist, and that would just have to do with us. It was like I had been tricked into committing my life to someone. I had just signed a lease to a place I couldn’t afford on my own, I didn’t have a job at the time, and no other options. I prayed for God to calm my fears and speak his will for my life more clearly- should I succumb to an unequally yoked marriage, or should I stand up for my faith and leave? The answer became very clear. I was supposed to leave. I let him know and he was out within 5 days. Day 7 I was offered a job, day 9 I had a new roommate who paid for the entire summer up front. day 39 I went on a date and met the man who is now my fiance. We work together in a children’s ministry that he served on prior to meeting me and we are praying where God will take us as he finishes his nursing degree and pursues nurse practicioning school.

      Julie, I pray that in the midst of your struggle that you lean on your saviour. The only one who will provide the comfort you seek. If you would like to talk more you can reach me at kayla.kearns@siu.edu and I will do my best to offer more support from my personal experiences. I would suggest that you find a church in your new location and talk to a female there you can trust. It’s always helpful to have a friend closeby to call on when you need prayer.

  9. I have very crafty friends who can craft & bake. I am so basic. My child’s bday party was at a waterpark with no games planned (she’s not into party games). My friend’s kid parties have a theme, party games, amazing decorations & fancy cupcakes.
    I’ve been a mom for almost 21yrs. I stopped keeping with the Joneses a long time ago. There is no competing. I just do what is right for my family.

  10. Yes I struggle with contentment and the “if only’s” as I compare myself to others. Thankfully we serve a God who loves us and is reminding me that He made me in His image to do what He has called me to do! Thanks Karen for sharing your heart, for your honesty and your love for Jesus.

  11. Karen, thank you for this paragraph in today’s devotion:

    To truly embrace our circumstances, we must decide to stop pleading, “God, get me out of here!” and learn to humbly ask instead, “Lord, why have You brought me here? What are You trying to reveal to me that I would never discover if You were to suddenly pluck me out of this situation? What godly character qualities are You trying to grow in me? Patience? Trust? Faith? Compassion?”

    I am stuck with the ‘get me out of here cry’ and with this prayer I am going to work to turn my mind to asking the Lord ‘why have you brought me here?’ and ‘what do you want me to learn?’

    <3 Dorothy

  12. Contentment is a constant battle in our culture! Being satisfied with what we have and our current season of life can be a real challenge! The many forms of media overloads us with the idea that our happiness and contentment rest on having and doing it all! As an adult and parent it can be extremely difficult being thankful for what we have when we are surrounded by people who feel the need to overshare their good fortune. Jealousy can rear it’s ugly head all too often! We must train ourselves to be content and not think that the quality of our lives is measured by having or doing what the Jeoneses do! The real challenge is teaching this discipline to our children! God can equip us!
    Thanks Karen for the devotional and the reminder! : )

  13. I’ve found that staying away from the mall and not looking at the Sunday paper ads help me with my contentment. If I don’t see what’s out there, I don’t think I “need” it.

  14. We are media saturated and our children, our friends, we are being saturated by what Hollywood sees as needed, wanted, should be desired by all, we see their version the the “got to haves”. It makes raising children so very difficult because even in our “christian” school 4th graders are getting Iphones and I-touch for Christmas – WHY? i really don’t get it but it is a constant battle and a tiring one. We are trying to teach our children to be content with what they have and more importantly to be grateful for what they have which is so much!!!!!!!
    Thanks for your encouragement.
    Blessings,
    kareng

  15. Great post! Love the title! Boy, do we ever live in a “keeping up with the Joneses” world?! I personally do not do Facebook, twitter, or any real social media of the sort. I browse Pinterest every so often but quickly get disgusted so it doesn’t last too long. I cannot for the life of me understand why other people think anyone is interested in what they are “cooking for dinner!” It goes way beyond just chatting with your girlfriends casually for some dinner ideas. When has our society gotten so completely obsessed with the “see me now” attitudes? I cannot stand it! Can you tell I kinda feel strongly about this issue? Ha! This is only the second time I have ever posted a comment on a blog but when this was the topic…I had to!! There are aspects to social media that are great. The fact that I was able to read your post and realize there are people out there that might share a similar viewpoint as myself is wonderful. I homeschool and read many homeschool blogs. I am subscribed to Proverbs 31 as well as other great daily messages, but Facebook and all that, no way! Not necessary for my life or my family! We all survived without it before and I believe I am not missing a thing! Isn’t it obvious our lives could be a bit easier, a bit less messy, a bit less discontent without constantly looking into others lives? It’s exactly as your post says, the comparisons are overrated! It’s not reality! Oh well, I’ll stop now. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

  16. I am currently striving to take up the joy dare, actively looking for graces, gifts, and blessings in my life. If I fail to look for God’s goodness, I miss so much of it, and it is so very easy to dwell on the “things” other people seem to have. I have also found that much of the ungratefulness and discontentment in my own life surfaces when I think that I deserve something better than what God in His goodness has provided. Yes, the Joneses are lauded and paraded, and it can make my efforts more difficult, but as long ad my heart is right toward God, the struggle is easily overcome with His love for me.

  17. I definitely think media can effect the way we list our gifts. I so needed your P31 devotional today where you quoted Elisabeth Elliot & said we should change our prayer from “get me outa here!” To “what can I learn from this?” Currently our family is in the midst of a difficult situation, & it is so easy to think “Lord, please, give us a new place to serve you!” But He has taught us so much this year and brought us closer to himself. My husband & I have a much stronger relationship because of it! No matter how difficult the circumstance- there is always something to thank Him for! Please, pray for us to not rush ahead of God, but that we will trust His grace is sufficient. Thank you Karen!

  18. I have Christian ‘friends’ on facebook who seem to love to big themselves up. Their comments on their wonderful family etc etc annoy me – so I ‘block’ their newsfeed from my facebook page and don’t click through when they comment on others’ news while I deal with my ugly attitude. A ‘facebook fast’ in this way, while requiring discipline, really helps me.

  19. I so appreciate your post for today. I am in a study group right now dealing with insecurities. This post so goes along with it. I do think that I am one of those that gets so involved in the thoughts of someone else’s (others’) blessings and in doing so I forget to notice the blessings that all around me and instead have feelings of jealousy and discontentment. Thank you for the reminder or the nudge to remember how God has so blessed me and my life.

  20. Thank you for this posting. It could not have come at a better time. We, in this family, are struggling with contentment. I will honestly admit that I wish I could be just like some of my friends who take nice vacations, buy new cars, clothes, etc. I find myself praying for me to be happy with what He has bessed me with. And what He has given me is unbelievable…I will continue to pray about this one.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Robin :)

  21. I struggle with contentment. Although I’m happy for the success of my friends, I still feel a pang of envy. I try to think about all my blessings when I have these moments, and it helps a little :)

  22. I have struggled with contentment. I’m trying to learn as Paul stated in Philipians the reason for contentment. The more you lean on Jesus, the more you’re content with what you have and the less you worry about wanting what other people have.

  23. I think a spirit of discontent keeps us from focusing on all of our blessings.
    When I am discontented, I focus on what I don’t have rather than all the
    blessings I do experience. I love that verse that teaches us to be content
    no matter what. Something I am still learning to do.

  24. There’s a lot of areas I know I need to “let go”. Everytime I hear the song forgiveness on the radio it’s a constant reminder. I hope to find this book at our library someday.

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