Steve Singletary is our guest blogger for today. Steve has been at The Center for Executive Leadership for 12 years and focuses his work on teaching, discipleship training, leadership equipping and marriage counseling.
I have noticed a trend in my 30 plus years of counseling and ministry work; most people think they are the only ones struggling on a regular basis. I’m here to tell you…”It just ain’t so.”
Couples regularly, and with shame filled eyes, say something like this, “We are having such a hard time with _________”.
After backing up their dump truck and pulling the lever, they will sheepishly look at me, half expecting to be shamed or ridiculed.
What they don’t expect is what I usually say…”Cheer up! Y’all are normal!”
Now to be clear, I am not saying “You’re fine”, I’m saying, “You’re normal”. There is a substantial difference. They are in my office, after all, for help. They want their marriage to be better. I get it. I just want them to understand that what they are experiencing is VERY common. I don’t want them to lose heart.
1 Corinthians 10:13 says: “No temptation has gripped you except what is common to man…” In other words, we all suffer with the same type problems and difficulties. In fact, 95% of the couples I counsel fundamentally need help with the same two common issues. Can you guess what they are? (Just think for a moment about what you and your spouse struggle with the most and you will probably nail it.) The particulars will be different but the issue will be the same. I might write about this next time.
We are all prone to look around at everyone else and imagine that they are doing great and we are lagging behind. “What’s wrong with me?” we think. Little do we know that they are thinking the same thing.
I have a strong hunch as to what is fueling much of this…. social media.
Pew Research Center reports that the percentage of people using social media in 2005 was 5%.
By 2021 that had risen to 72%!
In addition, Broadband Search reports that in 2012 the average person spent 90 minutes a day looking at social media. By 2019 that time had doubled. Two and half hours a day looking at social media! And what are they seeing?
Everyone posts the best of the best. It’s only natural. So whenever one looks at Face book (Fakebook), or Instagram (Instagratification) etc., they are looking at a distortion of reality. The natural response is to draw comparisons.
2 Corinthians 10:12b says: “…when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”
It might be prudent at this point to ask oneself, “Is looking at everyone else’s life helping me or hurting me? As a result of my time on social media, do I experience more peace or less peace? More joy or less joy? More gratitude or less gratitude?”
The next time you find yourself comparing your life with another’s, and thinking you are alone, deny that lie and speak truth to yourself. You have feet of clay and so do they. We are a work in progress.
(Oh, and if you are wondering what the two main issues are I most often counsel couples on? Communication and conflict resolution. But that’s another blog.)