I have a friend who is a wonderfully talented singer. She leads worship at our church and every time she opens her mouth, it is amazing. I often find myself wishing that I could sing as well as she can. I have another friend who has a high powered job and is very successful in the business world and travels a lot. I think about how great it would be to have a job like hers.
Isn’t that typical? We compare ourselves to others wishing that we had their job, voice, hair, skin or talents. Our culture encourages us to do this, and it leads us to feelings of inadequacy. We find that we feel worthy when others say you are. For example, if you work really hard on a project and no one says that it was well done, you start to wonder if it really was any good; if you’re any good. Also, our culture demands attention. If you measure your worth according to Facebook and Twitter, then attention equals worthiness. But God disagrees. He says that we are worthy because of our faith. We don’t have to try to be the biggest or the best. We don’t have to impress anyone. We only need to be faithful. That takes all the pressure off!
The challenge is learning to live by faith, not by sight. When we look to the outside world for praise and worth, we are left feeling inadequate. The good news is that who you are and what you do already pleases God! He has given each of us unique gifts and abilities and wants us to use these gifts to show our love for Him.
“If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.” (Romans 12:7–9)
The verses above present the argument that it’s not about us, it’s about Him. But, it’s easy for us to allow the world’s values to impact our life. We focus on material things to make us happy; believing that our self-image comes from the outside, and often think that it’s ok to bend the rules sometimes. God has an opinion about this…
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of the world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
In other words, to counter the tendency to let the world’s values direct what we do and how we live, we must intentionally choose to live so that we let God’s callings determine how we use our gifts. Using God’s word as a guide will allow you to stay on the right path and focus on His calling for you. The best way that we can show our love to God is to use the special gifts that He has given us. Remember that we are all designed to have different talents and that is what makes us unique. (After all, the world would be a pretty boring place if we all had the same talents.)
So the next time you find yourself in the trap of comparison or feeling less than adequate, remind yourself that we each have our own special gifts. Do what you do best and do it without comparison, for it brings Him much joy, and will make you feel great as well!