‘Compared to her’ by Sophie De Witt

“I am a recovering Compulsive Comparison Syndrome sufferer. It causes me to feel envy, despair, pride and superiority. It cuts away at my relationship with God, with my loved ones, and with myself. It has promised me contentment, and yet robbed me of it.

And although I don’t know you at all, I’m fairly sure you have CCS, too. That’s not meant to sound rude. It’s just that I’ve rarely met a woman who doesn’t struggle with it.”

This book is about how to spot this syndrome and its effects in your life; the view of life that causes it; how the gospel treats it; and how you can move beyond it to live a life of true, lasting contentment”

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This is a simple good ol’ fashioned plugging of a book.

‘Compared to her’ is an insightful, challenging and encouraging read. And it’s really short, which means we can probably all read it within half a day or a day. And it also means that I won’t summarise the main elements of its content, otherwise I’m ruining you simply getting on and reading it. However, it is about our identity – about where we find and anchor our significance and security. It’s aimed at women and how they compare themselves to others. But hang, our identity in comparison to others is just as much a guy issue. We all live in a society saturated by advertising which causes us to compare ourselves to others: who we are, what we have, even who we have gets thrown in there. This books aims to get us thinking about our comparing, to encourage us to compare in a healthy way, to love others better and yes, to find ourselves in God.

Many of the book’s elements work really well. The Scripture passages are well-integrated, and explained. The ‘life-examples’ are, fortunately, not wearisome and annoying – they actually add to what’s being said, extending and applying. Probably one of the best elements to the book is that Sophie writes, as one of my friends said, ‘with humility.’ It feels like she comes alongside you. There’s no haughtiness, no arrogance. She has simply spent a bit more time than most of us thinking through things and now she’s chatting to us about it. It is a good primer for thinking about comparison and identity and what the world values. It won’t lead you all the way; it hasn’t spelt out each and every detail. But it does give you enough of a head start to get you well on your way in thinking about a comparison culture and what’s really going on underneath it all.

This is a book I’d easily recommend. In my mind it would be perfect as:

  • A gift for a female friend who doesn’t know Jesus. It is such a good way in to thinking about comparison culture – a culture, as I said fueled by advertising. And I don’t think that the book would be considered overly religious or although you’re cramming something down her throat. Sophie writes so easily and simply that I couldn’t imagine it being an affront to someone from the get-go, maybe only later when she starts grounding things in Jesus but by then she might have won over their attention.
  • For older Christian women (in age or the faith) to read and then give to women that they mentor/disciple and to chat it through with them.

I would encourage any of my Christian sisters (older or younger) to read this. I’ll be telling my own sister about this book. I’ll be keeping it in mind for female friends who don’t know Jesus. And I even reckon my Christian brothers should give it a go.

 

If you want more of Sophie then i’d also recommend her book on 1-2-1 discipling. (“One to One: A Discipleship Handbook” – not quite sure why I couldn’t readily find it on amazon.com but it does exist)

 

You might also find useful: The Billboards lie

 

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