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Escaping the Comparison Trap

Air Date 11/06/2015

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Popular blogger Kay Wyma offers insights, encouragement and advice in a discussion based on her latest book, I'm Happy for You (Sort of ... Not Really): Finding Contentment in a Culture of Comparison.

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Episode Transcript

Opening:

Teaser:

Mrs. Kay Wyma: Measuring up is powerful and the ER words you said, the better, thinner, faster, prettier, all that, those are signs of comparison that I've made the situation about me as I relate to you, as I relate to expectations, as I relate to social medias, the glimpses I see, all kinds of things like that. And that's where comparison can be a negative thing on us.

End of Teaser

John Fuller: That's author Kay Wyma and she's with us on "Focus on the Family" today. I'm John Fuller and your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly.

Jim Daly: John, I love what Kay said right there, because it's so true. We live in a culture that is "me centric." We've talked about that a lot on the broadcast and it's driving us every day to be faster, smarter, better than anyone else and then we measure that as success. I am starting to seriously doubt whether that's a good Christian approach to the world.

Today we want to help you step off that performance treadmill, to take a breath and learn how to put comparison in its place and that sounds like, how can you talk for 30 minutes about comparison? I think you're gonna be astounded once we start peeling this topic back as to how it infiltrates us each and every day. Think of it, Pinterest and Facebook Likes and Twitter Retweets. It's easy to let our worth be measured by others and for us to allow, you know, our comparisons to trump others. It, again, is just not healthy thinking.

It's also easy to look at what others seem to have and wish their fortune could fall on us. Maybe even secretly pray for that. "Lord, I wish I could be like them." God has so much more for us when we take our eyes off ourselves and others and look to Him and we're gonna talk about that today.

John: Kay Wyma, as I said, is our guest and she's been here before. She's an author, the creator of The Moat blog, M-O-A-T, which stands for "Mother of Adolescents and Teens." (Laughter) What a great group and most of her material admittedly, comes from life as a mom of five kids and they range in age from 8 to 19.

Jim: So, she's got experience.

John: Absolutely

Body:

Jim: Kay, welcome back to "Focus."

Kay: (Laughing) Experience.

Jim: Yes (Laughter), in a good way. You're like mommy experienced.

Kay: It's the real life.

Jim: It is real life.

Kay: It is the real life.

Jim: Let's talk about this book, which my wife, Jean, I told her the title today as I was preparing and she laughed. It says, I'm Happy for You, (Sort of…Not Really). (Laughter) And she started howlin'. She said—

Kay: I'm so glad.

Jim: --that is so true.

Kay: Well, the "sort of, not really" is the authentic part--

Jim: Right, I'm sure it is.

Kay: --you know.

Jim: But let's start with comparison generally. I mean—

Kay: Okay.

Jim: --there's I'm sure bad comparison and good comparison. Let's distinguish between that.

Kay: Yeah, 'cause not all comparison is bad.

Jim: Right.

Kay: I mean, there's a lot that we do to inspire or to aspire and there's nothing wrong with the aspirations. It's our relationship with the aspirations and what occurs on the other side that could bring discontent in, because if I succeed or do better than I thought, then pride could be tempted to come in and if it's less than, I can let my self-worth be defined by where I measure up against those things. And so, measuring up is powerful and the ER words you said, the better, thinner, faster, prettier, all that, those are signs of comparison that I've made the situation about me as I relate to you, as I relate to expectations, as I relate to social medias, the glimpses I see, all kinds of things like that. And that's where comparison can be a negative thing on us, but it's in an aspiration way, there's good things about it.

Jim: Well, it's like so much of life, it's something that God's given us, the ability to compare, but then it gets gnarled in the Fall, right? And we take it in a direction that is unhealthy and not productive for us.

Kay: Well, and it's interesting you would say "the Fall," because that's really where comparison came into the picture.

Jim: So, right there with Adam and Eve.

Kay: It did. If you think about it, as they stood in the Garden, there was the tree and the tree was the one thing. There were a couple of things that the Lord said, "Don't touch that." And someone came in and said to them, "By the way, He has something that you don't have and He told you not to touch it." And so, in that moment, they compared themselves to Him and to what they could have and all they should be, they could be, they would be and they opted for that. And the comparison they put themselves in the driver's seat.

Jim: Yeah.

Kay: And it was comparison that was the tool that did it. And I find it so fascination and the comparison made them focus on themselves. Who am I compared to Him? Rather than just being focused outward and it was at that point they looked at themselves and realized all that they aren't and then ran to clothe themselves in shame.

And that's where the power, the negative power of comparison comes in. Theodore Roosevelt said, you know, the thief of joy, comparison is the thief of joy. And joy is what the Lord promises us, joy, you know, that's so much more than happiness, because it's not based on circumstances. That deep joy in a comparison is the thief of it. Why not stop it? We don't have to live in it.

Jim: Well, and it's true. It's hard to do (Laughing), 'cause we—

Kay: Oh, yeah.

Jim: --live in a culture that bombards us with comparison.

John: Yeah.

Kay: Right.

Jim: Whenever you're seeing a commercial, it typically is rooted in comparison, right?

Kay: It is, isn't it. I love that you brought that up. Checking out at the grocery store, I mean, there are the magazines to tell you what your kitchen should look like.

Jim: Oh, I thought you were gonna say, lookin' at the other person's groceries.

Kay: Or at the other [person's groceries]. (Laughter) I mean, that's—

Jim: They're eating ice cream--

Kay: --the truth though.

Jim: --and I can't.

Kay: Oh, for me (Laughter), it's the lady in front with all the vegetables and I'm like, "Ooh, don't look at our[s]"

Jim: Our frozen—

Kay: We'll put our—

Jim: --food.

Kay: --conveyor belt back here. It's the potato chips.

Jim: Yeah, those Pop Tarts aren't good.

Kay: I know and so, yes, it actually is everywhere and it's fascinating, 'cause it could be me against myself, you know, comparing myself to former me. Even when I get dressed in the morning and pull open a drawer that may have pants that I wore, you know, eight years ago, a couple of babies ago and wonder why I'm not that. And so, it's incessant and it takes captive our thoughts.

Jim: Oh and you know, again the enemy of our soul works as well as our own flesh and the world all in concert, trying to diminish our ability to have a healthy—

Kay: Right.

Jim: --value of comparison. Talk about how those three components do work against us, I mean, even to the point of depression. Certainly some of that is physiological.

Kay: Right.

Jim: But you know, just being down about who you are, 'cause you're comparing yourself.

Kay: Well.

Jim: And women tend to be more susceptible in some ways.

Kay: In some ways, but you would be surprised. When I did research on the book, there are segments that are clear comparison ones, like body image, you know. We are very quick to not be happy with the way that we look and in that, it ruins our day. Believe it or not, men have more trouble with body image than—

Jim: Oh, I can see that.

Kay: --women do.

Jim: Sure.

Kay: That surprised me. I did not think that.

Jim: Having two teenage boys on the football team, I totally get that.

Kay: How interesting. Isn't that interesting.

Jim: 'Cause it's, "Dad, can we get some muscle milk. I gotta build some mass."

Kay: Really.

Jim: Really, okay, why do you gotta do that? 'Cause I'm not the biggest guy on the line.

Kay: Yeah, isn't that fascinating?

Jim: Yeah.

Kay: And then it makes them think negatively about themselves, versus possibly thinking about what could be good about them.

Jim: What's a healthy way to be rooted so that you don't absorb too much of the negative comparison? To assume you'll never or you can get to a point where you never absorb it is ridiculous.

Kay: It is.

Jim: But how do you get to a point where you can have Teflon and now—

Kay: I love Teflon.

Jim: --and not be absorbing the bad comparison?

Kay: Well, there's a lot of things that are practical, but truly at the end of the day, this isn't one you're gonna beat, but the one that helps you beat it, it's where Paul, you know, "What I've learned, the secret of being content," which he said, whether in plenty, I mean, he really did have it all, or in want, which he truly had nothing. He said, "I can do all things through Christ Who gives me strength." And that operative word is "through." You know, it really is. It's Him through you.

So in that moment if I'm on Facebook, I'm startin' to feel bad (Laughing) or wherever, in the car pool line or at the grocery store or whatever I'm doing in my head, it's like recognize you have that thought. And so, in my mind, I kinda thought of the old computer days where we would hit "Control, Alt, Delete," you know and if it's not working.

Jim: I still do that. Doesn't that—

Kay: Turn it off.

Jim: --still happen?

Kay: Oh, I always …

Jim: Is my computer that old? (Laughter)

Kay: Is yours still control, alt delete?

Jim: I still do that sometimes.

Kay: But I do turn it off and turn it on. (Laughter) I think it's the best way to solve any problem in life. Shut it down—

John: Just restart.

Kay: --and start it back. Yeah.

Jim: So, that's the idea.

Kay: Actually, it really is. So, the control, recognize that you're doing it. You know, see that it's going on. Alt, get an alternative perspective, all right. And that in that moment is actually hard to do, but there are things that you cando. You know, first of all, think about the things that you have to be thankful for.

One day I was sitting in the car pool line. I had my phone. I happened to scroll through old photos and we tend to take picture of good things. And in the midst of all those friend pictures, I started to look at the date, remembering that there were bad things going on then. And yet, there we were, okay in the midst. Makes you realize that your friends do last for a long time, probably gives you perspective that you are not as fat as you think you are. (Laughter)

You know, there's a funny saying. If only I could be as fat as the first time I thought I was fat. (Laughter) And so, it's like, it's really not that bad and 10 years from now, you'll look back on this going, oh, it was not as bad as I thought it was. Get it in the moment, so alternative perspective. Think about those things you can be grateful for. Gratitude is enormous and when you are grateful, it's hard to be grateful and have your eyes on yourself.

Jim: Kay, you use a story in the book that I think was hilarious and it shows you how quickly we're groomed in our life about comparison and it was a story about, I think you and your son and his—

Kay: I can only imagine.

Jim: --measuring up.

Kay: Oh, yes, at the King Spa and Sauna. (Laughter)

Jim: Yeah and I thought of, you know, a theme park---

Kay: It was fascinating.

Jim: --like Disneyland and all that. And my boys went through that when they were too small, but talk about that.

Kay: Yeah, okay, so this is spring break when we're not on a vacation, which I'm just saying, I might have been wallowing and so, 'cause everyone's at the beach.

John: And you—

Jim: Everyone.

Kay: Everyone's--

John: --were not.

Kay: --at the mountains. Yeah and we were at home, livin' it up.

Jim: Cleaning.

Kay: Yeah, "Grouponing" it, you know? We were. We did clean and I did tests; we went to the dentist. We did every single horrible thing that you'd never want to do that week. But I was the cool mom and [got] Groupons to a lovely indoor water part. And when we got there, I took our youngest and the next kid up--he's 13 now--and a couple of his friends. And when we walked in, there was like this whole wall of life jackets.

And a very mean person saying, "You're not tall enough." And so, the kid had to stand up next to one of those measuring lines that you do see at the theme parks, that has the hand that says, "This high."

Jim: Yeah, right.

Kay: You know, and it's like this high to ride.

John: This is for safety reasons.

Kay: Right and that boy that walked in instantly was going to be determined whether he was a young man or a baby. And I watched him will himself to grow as he stood next to that line that would either make him okay or totally break him—a line, a measuring line, that in all reality had nothing to do with his self-worth.

Jim: Right.

Kay: And at that place, it was a measuring line that was a safety issue, okay. But we bump up against those measuring lines everywhere we go. It could be what office you're in. It could be what car you drive. It could be what title is on your business card—a piece of paper that could define somebody's thinking of themselves the minute the walk into a minute and trade them with people.

And it's like, are we really gonna let that suck the joy out of a moment? And therein lies the question, because it does face us all the time and those measuring lines that we feel like we have to hit, they are not real.

Jim: Well, and it's such a great analogy and metaphor for life, as you said.

Kay: Yeah.

Jim: And what would you say, 'cause I, you know, we just recently went to a theme park in Southern California and those lines were there and the hands and they happened to be mouse hands.

Kay: Yes.

Jim: (Laughing) But you could see these little 5- and 6-year-old—

Kay: Yeah.

Jim:--kids crying, 'cause they didn't measure up.

Kay: It's heart crushing.

Jim: What would you say for the parent in that moment? That would be a good teaching moment. What do you—

Kay: It really is.

Jim: --say to them to say, "Listen, this isn't, you know, this doesn't tell you who you are inside. It's only a safety thing." But how would you go about [doing it]?

Kay: Boy, we're living it today, because I have one of our kids is a junior, you know, "the junior year," just sayin', the junior year. (Laughter) I don't know who made that the biggest thing in the world, but apparently it is.

John: Juniors did.

Jim: I thought the senior year was the biggest (Laughter) thing.

Kay: Oh, no, because they take the SAT. You know, how many—

Jim: And you got the prom.

Kay: --AP's are you taking? So, the stress level is enormous, to the point where I took her and it's like, this stuff, the way it is now, ACT's, SAT, prom—

Jim: All the lines in your life.

Kay: -- every single thing, they're new. It wasn't like this 10 years ago. We found a phone book when we were cleaning up the other day looking for something. You know, how you clean when you look (Laughter), because you can't find it.

And it was a phone book and the youngest picked it [up]. He'd never seen a phone book in his life and he'd never seen anything with names and numbers next to it, just like the entire book is that. And I was like, "Oh, by the way, I, you know, I used that about 10 years ago and we used to have phones that were connected to the wall with a cord and (Laughter) that's what we did. Like it was a cave man experience.

And I gave it to my daughter and I was like, I want you to remember this book, because it does change. This was the standard a couple of years ago and this is what we all used. We don't use that anymore. And so, don't let the moment or the circumstance define your self-worth, because it isn't.

And so, then I say, but I'm telling you, go back to the "I am happy for you." The greatest power in all of it is getting your eyes off of yourself and possibly for a moment, if my daughter in the moment of that junior year can get her eyes off of herself, she might be able to encourage the person next to her that is feeling equally the same way, because on this road, we are truly traveling it together. It doesn't matter where you are, someone is suffering from the same thing.

John: Well, we're talking with Kay Wyma on today's "Focus on the Family." [I] love the insights and the stories. Her book is called I'm Happy for You (Sort of…Not Really): Finding Contentment in a Culture of Comparison. We spent the first part of the program really just looking at how comparison begins and if you'd like to learn more, if you didn't catch that first part of the program we've got that as a download or it's on CD. You can also listen on our mobile app, all of that and Kay's book at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio.

Jim: Kay, you have a funny story, as well, about I think it's your daughter and three little words. Tell us about that one (Laughter), Those three little words. (Laughter)

John: That was a great story.

Kay: That's exactly right. Never help anybody with their homework. (Laughter)

Jim: Tell people what that is.

Kay: Well, she came out of school and she had just experienced what so many of these kids do. She was in a classroom where a test was taken and returned and everybody was asking, "What did you get?" "What did you get?" And in that moment of "What did you get?" they were lining up against each other, making sure they were okay compared to the other person.

Jim: That they weren't on the bottom.

Kay: It's fascinating and so, the kid gets in the car and says to me--this one, she lives out loud--and she said to me, "I can't stand this situation." So, I'm like "Why?" And she goes, "Because when they're doing that, I don't want to tell 'em." And I was like, "Why not?" And she goes, "Because if I score higher than they do, then I am very glad about that." And she said, "I like that feeling. I like feeling that I'm better than anybody else and I don't want it to stop. And so, it makes me want to do it again and again and again and I don't like that."

Jim: Wow.

Kay: And then she said, "But if I score lower than somebody else, I really don't like that and I don't want anybody to know, because it confirms everything I think about myself and that is, that I'm worse than [others]" because they do. They're teenagers.

Jim: Oh, that is incredible self-awareness.

Kay: Do you know what I mean?

Jim: I mean, that's really incredible.

Kay: It really was and I sat there with her and I was like, "You know what, there's gotta be some way to live in this situation. There has to be some way to thrive."

Jim: Live healthy.

Kay: Healthily and because what she just said is us, really. It's all of us.

Jim: Yeah, you're being groomed from that age--

Kay: It really is.

Jim: --and earlier.

Kay: And I was like, "Honey, you just said a load, because you just described what everyone struggles with." And I was like, oh, and I thought, "You know what. I think there's three words that you could say to diffuse that whole situation." She's like, "What?" And I said, "Well, why don't, "you know, being the parent that I am, I was like, "Why don't you guess what they are." (Laughter)

John: Wow.

Kay: Because then—

Jim: Okay.

Kay: --then they own it, right?

Jim: Go to Chick-fil-A.

Kay: Isn't that how it works? (Laughter) Isn't that the truth? That's sort of what she was doing and I was like, no and she goes, "I love you." And I was like, "No." And she said, "Well, good, I'm glad. That'd be awkward." (Laughter)

And then I said to her, "the words are, I'm happy for you," which she said to me, "That's four words, not three." (Laughter)

Jim: It was a trick question.

Kay: I know. I was like, okay. (Laughter) Which is why I don't help them with their homework.

Jim: And say it again. What did you say?

Kay: I said, "The four is, 'I'm happy for you.'"

Jim: I'm happy for you.

Kay: I am happy for you and you'll love this, because as she sat there, she thought about it, which who knows if they're listening or not. She apparently was listening that time. And she returned to me, "That really is interesting, but I think the hard part about it is meaning it."

Jim: Yes.

Kay: Okay.

Jim: You can say the veneer thing.

Kay: Right, but meaning it.

Jim: Yeah.

Kay: And then she was like, "Well, I'm gonna try it." And I watched her and have to this day, watched her try it and if it can work for a teenager, truly it can work for anybody. She came off the volleyball court a couple of weeks later. They'd had tryouts. They put her as the setter and she's not some teeny little thing that runs across the court all the time. She's really a good athlete and she loves to hit the ball. But when they put you as setter, you never win the point. You never get to spike the ball.

Jim: You're helpin' the other person do it.

Kay: Exactly and so, she was kinda bummed and she got in the car telling me that and we kinda had a similar discussion about what accolades are (Laughing), thinking that that's what she wanted. And when we finished that conversation at the end, she turned to me and said, "I realize about half way through the entire practice, that I actually had the best job on the court, because I know what I feel like when I spike the ball and it feels so good to hear people cheer for you." And she said, "I get to set everybody up to be able to feel that way."

Jim: Huh.

Kay: And I think—

John: Wow.

Kay: --of, "Honey," and it's true. So, what happens? If she sitting in that classroom, "What'd you get?" "Hey what'd you get?" "Well, I got a 96." "I got an 84." And whatever it is, and she says, "You know, I'm so glad you got that 96." Do you know what it does for her and the other person? It—

Jim: It's aspirational.

Kay: --it does and it really and truly diffuses it. If a teenage girl can walk off a volleyball court and say the words, "It actually makes me feel good, like I feel good when I'm setting other people up," there's something about that.

Jim: Well, and what's so good with that, Kay, is you're equipping your daughter in that instance to succeed. You know, she's not doin' the comparison thing. She's living within her ability.

Kay: But it's countercultural, because—

Jim: It definitely is.

Kay: --the world says just the opposite.

Jim: Well, let …

Kay: Get ahead; get ahead. Be the best, best, best, best.

Jim: Right.

Kay: And "best" is another weird word—

Jim: Yeah.

Kay: --because what is "best?" Who came up with that one?" (Laughter) Because that one always moves.

Jim: Now I want to say as a sports dad though—

Kay: Yeah.

Jim: --goin' through Little League and all that, I was frustrated with no score. Everybody kept the score, you know. We were all up there. What's the score? Well, they don't keep score at this level, but it's 3 to 2. (Laughter)

Kay: Right.

Jim: I mean, that's really what goes on and so, there is a need for measurement—

Kay: Absolutely.

Jim: --'cause that's what tells us if we're achieving something.

Kay: You bet.

Jim: So, I want to make sure for all the other sports moms and dads out there who are going, you know, you—

Kay: And grades.

Jim: --got to have grades. You've got to—

Kay: Absolutely.

Jim: --and some schools have tried that without grades and you can end up in a disaster.

Kay: Right, so this has nothing to do, okay, I'm really glad you brought that up, because that has nothing to do with the measuring. It has nothing to do with the best and those kinds of things. Or let's throw social media in there. [It] has nothing to do with social media. It's our—

Jim: If it's right or wrong.

Kay: --it's our relationship with it--

Jim: Right.

Kay: --okay; it's what I do with it. If I had made being the best it, I'm gonna have a problem, because you never get there. There's always more.

Jim: Right.

Kay: When you get to the more, there's more to get. I had a friend who said, they had redone the landscaping at the front of their house and as soon as landscaping was done, the paint on the house did not look so great. Had to do that. Then as soon as the outside was painted, the inside didn't look so great. And in the midst of all of it, she started to realize, her mind was always on their house. It wasn't even on the people that were around her. And at the end of the day, she said, "I really didn't like it, because enough never was it. I could never get to it."

And it's like these elusive things. It's not good landscaping. It's not the kitchen. It's not these kinds of things, but it's my relationship with it and how I let my mind think about it.

Jim: Well, and as I think about it with your daughter and that experience of being the setter and all that, you know, oftentimes we struggle attaching Scripture to modern-day life.

Kay: Right.

Jim: But it's there, right in Romans it says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep."

Kay: Right.

Jim: That's an application of that Scripture. That's—

Kay: Right.

Jim: --what it's telling you to do.

Kay: Like really doing it.

Jim: Yeah.

Kay: And it is one of those things that if He says, you know, "What's the greatest commandment? To love the Lord, your God with all your heart, soul and mine and love others, because it sums up all the law and the prophets," there's something in that.

Jim: Yeah.

Kay: And that's where the "I am happy for you" is, because as you sit on the sidelines and your son may or not be the quarterback, can you really be good with a kid that is the quarterback and the, you know, the National Merit finalist and the head of the student body and you know, fill in the blank, the scholarship here. It's hard to do that, to celebrate with them.

But if I cannot make it about me and possibly celebrate with that person, there's such an enormous area for ministry in that and it breathes life into everyone.

Jim: Absolutely, I had a (Laughing), you know, how your kids can teach you so much—

Kay: Yes.

Jim: --if your ears are open. So, I had a thing that I would say when the boys would slough off on their homework or not do the best they could do on a test or something. So, they'd come back with a grade that was far below what they could—

Kay: Right.

Jim:--have done and I'd say to my boys, "You know, you gotta think about this out in the future, because when you're older, you don't want to be a ditch digger." And blah, blah, blah and I'd go into my parental mantra. One day my oldest, Trent, look at me and just said, "Dad, what's wrong with being a ditch digger—

Kay: Yeah.

Jim: --if I love Jesus?" (Laughing) Oh, that was like, okay, yeah. Touché. (Laughter) That's fair. And so, I apologized to everyone who's digging ditches, which I did in high school and some college years. And you know, that's not a bad occupation, especially if you—

John: It's hard.

Jim: --love the Lord and it's hard work. But you gotta be careful about how you do that as a parent in terms of comparison, too, right?

Kay: Right, so it takes it from the best and adds a couple of letters, I R and makes it "their" best. And that's a big difference

John: I wonder, Kay, I mean, you've written a book, so you're an expert at this. (Laughter) Since you said these three little words—

Kay: That's funny.

John: --the four words actually.

Jim: Which is the proof that John—

Kay: I'm an expert--

Jim: --John said to me—

Kay: --I'm an expert comparer.

Jim: --yeah, John said to me when he's reading the book in the prep, we got together, he said, "That's four words."

John: I—

Kay: Thank you, John.

John: --really stumbled over that, but so, how has God taken this to you? I mean, I love the parenting aspects, but we're all walking with God as individuals.

Kay: Right.

John: So, where are some of the struggles for you in this?

Kay: Boy, it's daily. The awareness can be overwhelming, because it is one of those things that once you start to think about it, you realize actually, it's everywhere. And so, for me, it has been interesting, because if I apply in the moment the perspective, the gratitude, allowing my giftedness and where I am to be something that hopefully the Lord has prepared in advance for me to do, then it helps me breeze through the day. So, when our son, our oldest right now is in college, sort of a--

John: Now are you comparing there, since he's sort of in college?

Kay: --well, I'm just telling you the facts.

John: Okay. (Laughter)

Kay: It's sort [of], I mean—

Jim: That's the measure.

Kay: --okay, because and this is part of society. Society tells you, you go to high school. You go to college. You get an MBA or whatever it is and then you have an office here and you have an office there, which is why they now [say], not only do we have a midlife crisis, there is a quarter-life crisis with kids in their 20's, because their expectations are not meeting their reality, which is a problem.

Okay, so what I thought when I had that child is that, of course, because here's what you do. You live life. You play on these teams. You go through school and you go to prom. You go to the socials. Well, this child hasn't done any of that. And so, I could be very unsettled and—

Jim: You worry.

Kay: --and worried, all kinds of things 'cause fear plays an enormous—

Jim: Is he normal?

Kay: --role in this. And "normal" is an—

John: Right.

Kay: --interesting word, too--

Jim: Yeah, it is.

Kay: Isn't it?

Jim: Yep.

Kay: And so, as school started this year and I could have had moments, because Facebook is big. It's like we live Christmas card letters every single day. I mean, you don't even have to wait for Christmas to be able to see the montage of what every family is doing well.

You know, you really get to see it every day. And so, as I see every kid got his friends going into their dorms, their roommates, their fraternities, all this kind of stuff, I can tell you honestly as I bumped up against that, resting in the fact that my child's normal is different or whatever it is. His road is his road.

Have we done our best? Oh, yeah, to the best of our ability. Have we loved him well? Boy, as much as we can. Could his road be different than somebody else's? Looks like it and we're okay with that.

Jim: Yeah, I mean, that is so well-said and the other side of that is what every human heart yearns for and that's love and acceptance.

Kay: Exactly.

Jim: And that's what you're talking about.

Kay: It really is and so, for me on a personal level, to watch that play out with someone I love more, I had no idea I could love my kids so much. That's a big deal for me, even as an author. You know, I don't ever check anything, 'cause it could make me feel bad. I don't look at sales.

Jim: I don't either.

Kay: I don't look at Shares or Twi[tter], I just can't do it. I don't think I'm mature enough. (Laughter)

Jim: That is fun.

Kay: I'm an expert comparer, but I'm not gonna let that define my day. It's just not worth it and then it's like, call a spade a spade. Don't let it have the power and then put into action steps to stop it and then realize there's someone that you can encourage right next to you and a lot of that's being authentic.

Jim: Well, that's "control, alt delete." I love that analogy.

Kay: It is.

Jim: You can't lose with that, control, alter your thinking and delete those bad habits that you have.

Kay: Or at least try to.

Jim: Try to. Kay Wyman, author of the book, I'm Happy for You (Sort of… Not Really) (Chuckling) and this has been such an invigorating discussion. How do we apply Scripture to our lives so it makes a difference, so we actually live the Word? And when we talk about this issue of comparison, it cuts right to the bone.

Kay: It does.

Jim: I mean, this is where we're living and it has been so good to hear your thoughts on this. Thanks for bein' with us.

Kay: Thanks so much for havin' me.

Closing:

John: Well, there's been so much good stuff here in the discussion and great wisdom and humor and I hope you'll go ahead and get the download or the CD or get our app so you can listen to this again. Just share it with your family maybe to get some good perspective. And you'll find the download and audio at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio .

We can tell you about those and Kay's book, I'm Happy for You when you call 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.

And when you contribute a gift of any amount to the family-saving work we do here at Focus on the Family, we'll send the book to you as our way of saying thank you.

Our program was provided by Focus on the Family and on behalf of Jim Daly, I'm John Fuller, thanking you for listening, hoping you have a great weekend and inviting you back on Monday. You'll hear the story of a family that chose adoption and they share about the joys and the challenges they faced, as well, as we once again, help your family thrive.

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Guest

Kay Wyma

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Kay Wills Wyma is a popular blogger, speaker and writing contributor for publications such as The New York Times, D Magazine and Dallas Child. She has authored two books, Cleaning House and I'm Happy for You (Sort of ... Not Really). Kay is a stay-at-home mother of five children. She is happily married to Jon, and their family resides in Dallas. You can learn more about Kay by visiting her website, The Moat Blog.