“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” – William Faulkner
It will never be enough, what other people have.
Their life, their marriage, their house, their looks, their job, their pet.
It will never be enough.
One more, just one more….maybe.
There is always one more.
One more that you don’t have.
One more skill to master.
One more person to copy.
One more dollar to make.
Our pride, it screams, never content.
We judge and we judge, every passing moment we decide,
“How are they better than me?”
“How are they worse?”
We tally up the score, and change.
Until the outcome favors us.
And we lose ourselves.
We are a people of judgement. Good or bad, we decide, and we act. We judge because we want to know our place, where we fit. Even the Disciples of Jesus, men that learned directly from Him, lived with Him, ate with Him, prayed with Him, even they argued over who was the greatest amongst themselves (Mark 10:35-45, Luke 9:46-48).
Comparison would tell us that life is a competition, a complex rating system with subjective ever-changing criteria, based on fleeting feelings and the popularity of the masses. When we win, we rejoice in the inadequacy of others, our pride inflated and self-satisfied. When we lose……
I spent the majority of my high school years addicted to Rolaids.
The walls of the school were a confine, filled with too many people, too many opinions, too many eyes looking over me: analyzing how I rated. I read judgement in every glance, on every face, whether it was actually there or not. Opinions changed with the sun, popular one moment, ridiculous the next. I could not keep up.
I could never define how I rated, where I fit. I felt misplaced, awkward, and tether-less, left to float, a balloon tossed about on the wind, unable to keep itself from rising higher and higher. My insecurity raged, eating away at my uniqueness, as well as my stomach lining.
Every word I judged of myself, every action I critiqued, but never against something that was real.
In college, I broke. As my family lovingly coined the one-year period, it was “The Dark Days of Rachel”. My insecurities and doubts had grown like a monster inside of me, stealing all that was light, all that was hope, all that was love. I was dying under my self-criticism, slowly, and painfully, until one day, in unconscious self-preservation, I lashed out.
I blamed. People were no longer people to be loved and cared for, but the cause of all of my pain.
I hated. People became inconvenient, irritating, and uninteresting.
I judged. I set impossible standards, scorning people when they did not measure up.
I made myself more, by making everyone else less.
I did the opposite of what Jesus told the Disciples to do, when He heard them arguing about who was the greatest. He said, as recorded in Mark 10:44-45, “whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man (Jesus was talking about Himself) did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
For a while it worked. I felt free, finally liberated from the shackles of caring, and it felt good…very good. Eventually, however, the bitterness and anger began to overtake me, I felt darkness creep into my every thought, consuming all of my joy, all of my light, and all of my love. I wan’t free, I had only swapped my prison.
I had forgotten who I was, all of my hopes, all of my dreams, all of the pure traits and talents that God has whispered into my being from before I was created and every moment since.
I was so busy worrying about where I fit, that I didn’t realize I was trying to squeeze myself into the place of others. I wanted what they had: their purpose, their possessions, their personalities, their lives; selecting pieces like ingredients in a salad bar, trying to create the perfect me.
What I didn’t know, is that the perfect me as God created me to be, was always a pizza. Until I decided to surrender to Him, and follow the plan that He designed for me, I had never stopped to look anywhere but the salad bar.
And let me tell you… pizzas are way better than salad.
When you compare, you lose yourself. Your special, unique, important self. Even worse, you hurt others and lose the opportunity to encourage and embrace their designs, and the beautiful masterpieces God created their lives to be.
You compare because you do not know who you are:
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” – 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)
You are an heir to the Kingdom of Heaven. A precious child of God. Royalty.
You are not a mistake.
You are forgiven.
Embrace it. Own it. Never forget it.
Challenge: Who are you? Write down your identity, at least 5 things that make you, you. Take this week to remember those things, saying them to yourself when you find yourself comparing.
If you are truly brave….. write 3 of them in the comments below!
Dreamer of big dreams – both in my life and in the worlds of fantasy
Child of God, Daughter of the King (You bet I am claiming my inheritance as a princess)