All my life I’ve played the comparison game. As I tried to reflect back on when it all started, my first instinct was to peg it on middle school since that’s basically the worst time in a kid’s life (or was that just me?) But if I think about it, it was actually around 4th or 5th grade. The battles started to rage in my mind.
Am I good enough? Pretty enough? Smart enough? Funny enough? Strong enough?
These thoughts left me in constant fear. Fear of never measuring up to everyone else. Fear of failure, loneliness, and not having any sense of purpose. Ironically this led me not to overachievement, but underachievement.
I didn’t reach out to others in fear of rejection. I didn’t try out for anything in case I couldn’t actually do it. My grades were barely average out of sheer laziness, not for lack of smarts. I never served in the church because I thought all the other girls were “more Christian” than me (whatever that means). Everywhere I went I sold myself short.
It seemed everyone else around me was doing something. Going somewhere. Being someone. Except me. The years crept on. High school graduation. Work. Job loss. More work. A failed relationship. Community college. Military. More community college. More failed relationships. It felt like it would never end.
Fast forward. ⏩⏩⏩
I’m now 31 years old. I’m still not married. No kids. No degree. I don’t have 20K followers on social media. I haven’t traveled to exotic locations or own a Prada bag. I don’t even have a dog. By the world’s standards I would be considered unsuccessful.
But ya know what? I don’t care.
Yes I had many missed opportunities. I let fear run my life and that really is a tragedy. But God (two greatest words ever), has taken all of that, my fears and failures, and made it into something beautiful. Despite what I may “lack” in others eyes, God is still faithful and has blessed my life in other ways I would never have expected. I read something in 2 Corinthians the other day that had never stood out to me before. In chapter 8 verse 12, Paul says, “For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.”
It’s not about what I DON’T have! He continues on in verses 13-15, “For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance may supply your lack, that there may be equality. As it is written, ‘He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”
I don’t know about you, but that blew my mind when I read it! You have something in abundance that others don’t, and others have things in abundance that you don’t. That’s okay! God did that by design so that we would live in community. The reason we struggle is because Satan has poisoned and perverted all that God meant for our good and His glory. Let go of the fear and the comparison and let God do what only He can do with everything you already possess.
Don’t doubt your worth or your purpose. It’s not up for debate. Your worth (cost, price, quality) is enough that Jesus looks at you and says “I died for you. That’s how much you are worth to Me.” Your purpose is to love God and love others (Mark 12:30-31), wherever you are with whatever you have. It’s not a question of “What do I do to make a living and be successful?” but rather, “How can I bless others with the gifts and passions God has given me?”
God has given you a voice. He has forgiven you and redeemed your past. What were once barriers have become blessings. What you thought were your biggest failures can be used to set others free, because we are not alone. We walk this life together. But we cannot give into fear and isolation because of fear and shame. Fear and shame cause us to live in darkness, but God is calling you out into the light (1 Peter 2:9).
Your identity and worth are not in your relationship status, your job, how much money you make, how many friends you have, your social media, or anything else. It is in Christ alone. You are worth more than many sparrows. There is nothing in your life He cannot use for His glory and your good. So throw off the lies you’re hearing and the expectations of the world, and do what He has called you to do! Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world!
“Take heart. Get up; He is calling you.” Mark 10:49 (paraphrase)