Mythical Me
IVP Books
 

Mythical Me

Finding Freedom from Constant Comparison

by Richella Parham

Mythical Me
paperback
  • Length: 160 pages
  • Published: October 22, 2019
  •  Forthcoming
  • ISBN: 978-0-8308-4395-4
  • Item Code: 4395

Do you ever find yourself stuck in the comparison trap?

Speaker and author Richella Parham knows what this feels like. "I couldn't break free from admiring one person's achievements, someone else's personality, another's skills, yet another's relationships. And don't get me started on how I looked at other people's appearances," she writes. "I was haunted by the admirable attributes of other people, certain that I could never match their worthiness. No matter how well-intentioned the teaching or pithy the advice, I found that most of it didn't help me change my thoughts, feelings, or actions."

While there are no easy answers, Parham has identified cultural and spiritual myths about others, God, and ourselves that keep us trapped. From there the journey is a spiritual one. We can pick up practices that help us walk in the freedom of Christ with confidence in ourselves. If you've ever suffered from tortured moments of comparison on Facebook, in the office, or in the hallway at church, you'll benefit from this fresh perspective.

"Mythical Me is a sorely needed corrective to our contemporary culture's obsession with constantly adjusting our personal and public image to fit hopelessly impossible standards. The wonderful news is that Mythical Me not only provides an accurate diagnosis of these soul-crushing habit patterns, it also guides us step by step into transformative ways of living and thinking that are eminently practical and life giving. I recommend it highly."

Richard J. Foster, founder of Renovaré, author of Celebration of Discipline and Sanctuary of the Soul

"It's so easy to say, 'Don't compare yourself to other people,' but how do you practically live out that simple advice? How do you let go of the exhausting experience of thinking you have to be better than the parade of perfect people online? How do you let go of the mythical me who never makes mistakes? Richella has done the hard work of answering those questions and many more in a beautiful quest to wrestle comparison to the ground. I needed this wonderful book and if comparison has ever prevented you from experiencing the joy of your own life, you might too."

Jon Acuff, author of Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done

"Mythical Me heralds an important message that women desperately need to hear: how to gain victory over the habit of comparison. Finally, a book that is not just a slew of pithy but powerless platitudes urging us to bootstrap ourselves out of a habit that leaves us crushed under the twin weights of not enough or less than; instead, it is a practical path illuminated by God's Word that actually leads us toward contentment and a healthier Christ-centered mindset. Considering why we compare in the first place and taking note of myths we're quick to believe, Richella Parham deftly introduces the mythical composite woman, a perfect figment of our imagination against whom we measure ourselves . . . and come up short by design. Though Richella's story is different from my own, I discovered myself in these pages finding great hope, encouragement, and practical wisdom. Rifle through the pages of my copy of Mythical Me, and you'll find all manner of stars, underlining, exclamation points (Yes! Exactly!), and declarations in the margins; reading, absorbing, and processing her words have changed me for the better. I more clearly understand my security in God's love that blows my compulsion to compare out of the water. Time reading Mythical Me is time well spent."

Robin Dance, author of For All Who Wander: Why Knowing God Is Better Than Knowing It All

"In a world where endless opportunities for comparison are delivered to us every day through our smartphones, we need this truth-filled book more than ever. 'This hurting world needs Christ-followers to do the hard work of knowing themselves, then offering their authentic selves—each and every gloriously designed, uniquely gifted, specially formed one of us—in loving care and service of others.' Mythical Me will free you to see the beauty in who you were designed to be."

Melissa Michaels, author of Dwelling: Simple Ways to Nourish Your Home, Body, and Soul

"For years I've been teaching people that things don't have to be perfect to be beautiful. That applies to people too, but often we allow our lack of perfection to cripple us, never realizing the beauty we possess as beloved children of God. We end up comparing ourselves to each other relentlessly, looking for the security that could already be ours if we learned to embrace the love of God and one another. In sharing her own struggles and the wisdom she's discovered, Richella points the way out of the comparison trap."

Myquillyn Smith, author of Cozy Minimalist Home

"For years Richella Parham has been a kind and consistent voice of truth in my own life. Now her hard-won wisdom is available to anyone who struggles with comparison, inviting readers to find hope and healing in the circle of Trinitarian community. Mythical Me is a thoughtful blend of personal story and solid theology, and I'm grateful to Richella for writing it."

Emily P. Freeman, author of Simply Tuesday and The Next Right Thing

"Have you wrestled with the thought, I wish I could be more like . . . ? In this beautifully written, deeply personal, much-needed book, Richella Parham plumbs the depths of one of the most subtle, soul-deadening practices of our age: constantly comparing ourselves with others. In an age of compulsive comparison disorder, this book is a must-read. If you feel stuck in the steel trap of comparison and long not only for freedom but for a way to embrace the fearfully and wonderfully made person God has created you to be, this is the book for you."

James Bryan Smith, author of The Good and Beautiful God

"Richella Parham's book, Mythical Me, was written for 'such a time as this.' The digital age we live in has taken the temptation to compare ourselves with others to a whole new level. With the rise of social media, we are not only tempted to compare ourselves to those around us, but also to the millions of people online that we have never met in real life. This type of exponential comparison can seriously damage our souls. If you have ever struggled with comparison (and who hasn't, right?) then this book is for you! In it, Richella unpacks the comparison trap we all find ourselves in, helps us better understand who we are in Christ, and offers practical solutions for daily contentment and joy. I am so thankful that Richella followed her heart, shared her story, and wrote this timely book!"

Traci Hutcherson, lifestyle blogger at Beneath My Heart

"In Mythical Me, Richella Parham offers practical, next-step wisdom, all rooted in rich theological insight and offered with companionable, encouraging candor. If you're looking for some empty jargon and the illusion of a quick, easy fix, this book is not for you. But if you're finally ready to embark upon the slow, difficult, beautiful journey toward becoming yourself, you won't find a better guide."

Carolyn Arends, author, and Renovaré director of education

"Comparison is something we all struggle with on a daily basis. We live in a world of social media of beautiful images, and 'the struggle of looking at the greener grass and wishing it was yours' is real. Author Richella Parham understands. The beautifully and poignantly written book, Mythical Me, is full of helpful, practical advice to meet comparison where it exists and conquer those feelings of inadequacy. I applaud Richella for her transparency, honesty, and gentle approach to this overwhelming challenge we all face."

KariAnne Wood, author of So Close to Amazing
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CONTENTS

Part One
The Problem: Distorted Vision
1. The Mythical Composite Woman
2. What Is Comparison and Why Do We Do It?
3. Myths We Believe

Part Two
The Promise: Corrected Vision
4. Truth about God
5. Truth about Ourselves
6. Truth about Others

Part Three
The Path: Learning to Walk in the Light
7. Making Peace with the Past
8. Transforming Our Minds Day by Day
9. Moving Forward Together
10. A View Along the New Way
Acknowledgments
Notes

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