Friday, May 29, 2020
From Measuring Up to Pouring Out
From Measuring Up to Pouring Out
Shannon Popkin leads women away from
a life of comparison toward a mind-set of serving
In her new Bible study, Comparison Girl: Lessons from Jesus on Me-Free Living in a Measure-Up World (Kregel Publications/May 19, 2020/ISBN: 9780825446214/$16.99), author and speaker Shannon Popkin invites women to leave measure-up comparison behind and connect with those around them by choosing Jesus’s me-free way of living. It’s a real chance to break free from the shackles of comparison.
Popkin confesses her own struggle with comparison literally goes as far back as she can remember and suspects her readers can relate. Her earliest memory is of her four-year-old self holding her songbook upside down in church. When a woman from the pew behind reached forward to turn the book right side up, Popkin felt embarrassed and exposed—clearly the watching world now knew she could not read. It may seem silly in retrospect, but Popkin admits the same could be said of many of her current struggles. “Why do I worry about being exposed as a less-than-perfect mom? Or a middle-aged woman who struggles with her weight? Or a Christian who still sins? My heart, since childhood, has been bent on perfectionism, pride, and measuring up—which has not led to great freedom and joy. Instead, it’s led to a great fear of what people think and a great dread of being found lacking.”
Comparison follows women through every stage of life, leading either to a sense of superiority (pride, perfectionism, arrogance, or judgmental criticism) or inferiority (insecurity, shame, jealousy, and self-consciousness). Satan loves to perpetuate comparison-driven bondage and isolation, but Jesus wants to set women free.
Equating our lives to a measuring cup, Popkin invites readers to live by the spout, not by the lines. “Picture yourself holding a glass measuring cup with red lines on the side. Mingled in your cup are all the things which set you apart—your gifts, aptitudes, and talents. Your personality is mixed in, along with your family background. This cup holds your life’s potential, measured out by God. Satan wants you to focus on the lines—holding your cup next to this person’s and that one’s. He says that to make something of yourself, you have to measure up—then he shames you when you don’t,” she explains. “Jesus, however, turns your attention to your measuring cup’s spout, saying that you were designed, not to measure up, but to pour yourself out. And he shows you how it’s done. He lived by the spout, emptying himself of status and pouring his life out on the cross, giving his life as a ransom for many.”
Suited for both individual and group study, Comparison Girl is a six-week Bible study that guides readers to examine conversations Jesus had and parables he shared with disciples, tax collectors, and Pharisees, who also were comparing. Each chapter is divided into lessons, allowing women on a time budget to read a Bible passage, engage in a complete train of thought related to the topic, and then make the content personal—all in one sitting. Rather than feeling preached to, women will engage with Popkin’s informal teaching tone as if they’re meeting with a trusted friend.
Readers of Popkin’s best-selling release Control Girl may find themselves in Comparison Girl as well. “I wrestle daily with comparison, and I’ve noticed that my struggles with control and comparison are related. As I look to the side, measuring myself against others, I’m often laser-focused on things that are out of my control,” she admits. Yet, there is hope. “You are different from other people by God’s intentional design. Anything in your measuring cup is a gift from Him. As you tip your cup and pour into others, the measuring stops. The more you pour, the more God fills your cup with freedom, confidence, and joy.”
“If you struggle with measuring up, if you’re worried about what people think, if you dread someone seeing you in a less-than-ideal situation, then you’re human. We all struggle with comparing ourselves to others in some way. That means we all need Shannon’s honest and wise words on the pages of this book. I know I did, and I’m betting you do too!”
~ Jill Savage, author of No More Perfect Moms, No More Perfect Kids, and No More Perfect Marriages
“Shannon Popkin has done it again! She has masterfully written another must-read to speak to the struggles of our soul. Like a dear friend she comes, sits with us, and soothes us with the truth of how purposefully we were created, how intentionally we have been gifted, and how infinitely we are loved. Inviting us to look up, listen to the tender truths of God, and learn to silence the lies of the enemy against us, Shannon shows us how to finally live freely in a culture of continual comparison. For every woman who has an area of her life where she wonders if she is truly enough—here is your answer.”
~ Erica Wiggenhorn, author of Unexplainable Jesus: Rediscovering the God You Thought You Knew
About the Author
Shannon Popkin is a writer, speaker, and Bible teacher who loves pointing others to the truth of God’s Word. She combines her gifts for humor and storytelling with her passion for Jesus. She regularly speaks at Christian women’s events and retreats, encouraging women of all ages to put their hope in God.
Popkin is also a regular contributor to the True Woman blog, her writing and speaking has been featured on FamilyLife Today, Proverbs 31 and Revive Our Hearts. She is the author of several books, including Control Girl: Lessons on Surrendering Your Burden of Control from Seven Women in the Bible, Influence: Building a Platform That Elevates Jesus (Not Me), and Comparison Girl: Lessons from Jesus on Me-Free Living in a Measure-Up World.
Popkin and her husband, Ken, have been married for more than twenty years and live in West Michigan. They have three children—one in high school and two in college.
Connect with Shannon Popkin by visiting www.shannonpopkin.com, following her on Facebook (shanpopkin), Instagram (shannonpopkin), or Twitter (@ShannonPopkin).
Read part 1 of an interview with Shannon on Comparison Girl.
Then, click here for part 2.