Two new studies were released this week, the first is concerning social media, (they focused on Facebook) and the second on shopping, both very revealing about what we think about ourselves in comparison to others. (Facebook, and other social media can be great tools to connect, we just need to keep our redeemed identity in-tact, and not get caught up in the comparison conflict.)
“A new study shows that Facebook may help people feel connected, but it doesn’t make them any happier. In fact, according to the research, which was conducted by the University of Michigan, Facebook use actually predicts a decline in a person’s well-being.”
Why is this? Because of the “Comparison Conflict” I taught on two weeks ago. People are comparing their lives to those of people on Facebook, (and other social media) and are feeling less fulfilled, and wondering “what is wrong with me.” They read about what appears to be exciting things others do, and are left feeling inadequate. I can assure you of one thing, if they don’t know God’s love and grace, there are not enjoying life. Never compare your life to another person. Jesus did not come to be an example for us, but and example of us, and as He is so are we in this world. You are complete in Him, so our opinion of ourselves needs to match God’s opinion of us. People can say anything they want about themselves on the Internet, but in the individual’s heart, if they don’t understand redemption, or if they are trying to live by religious laws, their hearts are crying out for freedom (from the oppression they are in), which is only found in Christ, and our perfection in Him! This was an interesting study, but the results were not surprising.
The second study headlined: “Shopping is a ‘loop of loneliness’ study finds.” The study author Rik Pieters, is a marketing professor at the Tilburg University in the Netherlands. This study essentially revealed the same results as the first. People are discontent with themselves, and measure themselves and compare their success by others. This is a no win situation, and sadness and depression are sure to follow. Only freedom found in the gospel of grace can bring true contentment.
You can check the studies out, they are interesting, my summation is simply people are discontent and unhappy when they feel like others are doing better, or those people are “better off” than “me”, especially a friend, or someone they know. I liken it to this; someone driving down the street of a very high end neighborhood, looking at the beautiful houses, nicely groomed and landscaped yards, thinking “these people have got it made, if only I had this, I would have it made too!” Realize your looking at houses, property, and things. A house doesn’t make a home. Misery, discontentment, envy, fighting and disputing lives in a majority of those houses. Only His love can bring contentment, we are complete in Him, not stuff, nor trips, nor comparing our lives to others. The problem is easy to spot, the solution is found in our identity in Christ. Check out the liberating message “The Comparison Conflict.” Contentment can ONLY be achieved by knowing your true identity in Christ. Measuring ourselves by any other standard than Jesus, creates discontentment, and yet that is what many people fall in to, then we find ourselves striving. 2Co 10:12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. You are complete in Him lacking nothing. God wants you to reign in life!