Lately, I’ve been digging into the issue of comparison when God and I get together in the mornings. I ask some questions and dig for answers, I pen down notes and I am so curious about what comparison does to our souls.
I realized I was naive to think comparing ourselves to others is a relatively new concept. I think it has always been there, the issue is just hyper-intensified currently because of social media.
Fifteen years ago, you didn’t know what everyone else in the world was doing on any given Tuesday morning. You compared yourself to people in the neighborhood or in your classroom. Now we’ve got this chance to compare ourselves to millions of others. It’s a little terrifying to think about for too long.
I read a story about Peter the other day. If you don’t know anything about Peter of the Bible then let me just give you the briefest synopsis: Peter is a feisty fisherman who Jesus places a lot of stock in. Jesus, upon meeting Peter, basically says to him, “Hey, I want to give you a different name because I don’t think the name you currently have is bold enough for you. I am going to call you ‘Cephas‘, which means ‘rock,’ because I want you to be the rock I build my future church on.”
But Peter is pretty confident. Annoyingly confident. His confidence gets him into trouble a lot and I think that is because Peter tends to rely on his own strength above everything else.
Our own strength only gets us so far.
He ends up doing the one thing he told Jesus he would never do- denying him right before he is crucified and one would imagine Peter was heaped with shame, guilt, and grief because of that denial.
But here’s the better story: Jesus uses him anyway.
Because that’s the kind of man Jesus is. He meets up with Peter after he has died and re-commissions him. He doesn’t take the mission away from Peter because of faltering, but forgives him and then basically says, “It’s time to get back to work, Peter.”
I can just hear God saying that so gently to me and to you, “It’s time to get back to work. It’s time to get back to work.”
I was blown away the other day when I noticed what happens directly after Peter is re-commissioned. His slate is wiped clean by Jesus and Peter, likely not five minutes later, asks Jesus, “Master, what’s going to happen to him?” I see Peter pointing his envious little finger at another man Jesus was investing in.
I want to shake Peter. Like Really Dude?! You just got this clear go-ahead from Jesus and you are worried about someone else?! What is that?!
It’s just proof to me that we all struggle with comparison sometimes, even these figures of the Bible who we wrongly think were untouchable struggled with the heart stuff. Clearly, this comparison meant something to God to be included in the text.
Even when life is good, even when we’ve gotten the clearest message from God that we are okay and we are on the right path, we still look for excuses to size ourselves up to other people and their callings.
I’ve learned that comparing yourself to other people just sucks the joy out of your own path. To live in constant comparison mode is to live imprisoned to a false target. It has nothing to do with those other people. Your aim was never to arrive at someone else’s destination so why bother focusing on it?
People notice when you are not playing your part. They know when the script is off.
We all miss out when you don’t show up to play the role custom designed for you. But there is magic – indescribable magic that emerges when you step out into the world dedicated to being yourself. People can tell when you’re walking on the right road. They see it.
Believe that the more you live out what you know you are called to steward, the more you give other people the courage to do the same. You stop living such a small existence, hyper-focused on things you have no control over.
You start to grow and stretch. You start to see others. You start to be a real character in the story, not someone governed by fear. You evolve and you step into what you were made to do.