Stop comparing yourself to others; you have your own race to run. Finish well. (Lecrae)
Do you feel the same way I do? Do you feel like God teaches you the same lessons over and over again? There are a few constant lessons I’m learning, and have been learning for years. One of them is, God always knows the bigger picture. Another is, never judge someone because you never know what is truly going on in their lives. And another, learning to be content with every area of my life.
I like to think I am a fairly positive and happy person. Most days it’s easy for me to smile at you and carry on a conversation. And if you know me in any way, you know I enjoy laughing.
Being content, though, now that’s something else. It’s one thing to be happy with life; to wake up with breath in my lungs and an able body, to be able to work, and think, and sing, and laugh. But how can I stay content in a world of comparison?
Some days it’s hard for me to focus on the blessings instead of looking to what others have and wishing I had the same. It looks different for everyone… some people want relationships, others want knowledge/power, some want to get into the best college, they want control, they want to be physically fit, they want “stuff,” they want to get married and have a pinterest-dream wedding, they want to be debt-free, they want to be the perfect husband/wife, they want a house or a better house (with the best home décor), they want a new wardrobe, they want kids, the best car, the best job … etc.
1 Timothy 6:6-7 – But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
In reality, your average person cannot have all these things or be all these things. Even the things that sound really great and aren’t necessarily “bad” to want. And yet, we hate ourselves for that. We hate ourselves if all of these things cannot be done within a specific timeline. You’re 16 and don’t have a boyfriend? You’re 30 and unmarried? You’re 30 and married without children? You don’t own a house yet? You don’t know what you want to do with your life?!
Satan tells us we’re worthless if certain things don’t happen. God tells us we’re worth it no matter WHAT happens. What Satan tells you is true, doesn’t compare to what God tells you is truth.
Do not be caught in the deception of this world.
[A lie] = something that is not true. [Deception] = true, but not truth.
“Satan will tell us what’s true, but he never tells us truth.” – Michael Wells.
It might be true that there are “better” worship leaders than me. It might be true that there are people “more” passionate about High School ministry than I am. But it is not truth that I cannot sing or lead and that God will not use my abilities, or the talents HE has given me, to advance His Kingdom. It might be true that I don’t have enough money to pay my bills, but the truth is God will take care of my every need. (Matthew 6:25-30) It’s about Him, it’s not about me. He knows better than I do, and there is a definite reason behind why God made me this way.
So, will I be content with being single, when all of my friends are with someone? Will I be content with my second-choice college, when my friends are going to their first picks? Will I be content with not having my dream job/having a job that I didn’t go to college for? Will I be content living somewhere I don’t like? Will I be content with living in an apartment so I can pay off my student loans, while all my friends are buying houses? Will I be content with waiting to have children when all my friends have kids?
I have failed the contentment test time and time again. I like to think I’m content, but when I truly seek God’s wisdom in this area, I realize, in a lot of ways… I’m not. For example, when my husband and I lived in Rockford, I wanted nothing more than to move. I loved our church, I loved being part of the ministries there, and I was content in certain ways, but the truth was I wanted out of that city. I just didn’t like it. I wonder how many things I missed out on while living there just because I wasn’t content with where God had me for that time. I made some lasting relationships there for sure, but what bothers me is that just because I couldn’t see the next step, the next place where God would lead us, that meant I couldn’t be satisfied with the blessings around me.
I wonder if the same goes for you. Are you just dying to get out of this stage in your life, so much so, that you are missing out on the ways God is blessing you, right here in this moment?
If we’re honest with ourselves, Facebook is nothing but one huge comparison game. Who got married? Who just had a baby? Who bought a house? Yep, they broke up again, so glad that’s not MY life. Oh look, they’re dating. So cute. Why can’t I have a boyfriend? Look at her profile picture, my mom would KILL me if I posted a picture that revealing!! But, I wish I looked that good.
You get the idea, and it goes on and on…. Facebook will make it nearly impossible to be content with your own life if you let it. If you use the app on your phone, try taking it off your phone for a while. Does anyone want instant access to see what the media tells us we should be? Where we fail in our friends lives, or even, how much better we are/or feel than certain people? Do you use it to build yourself up by noticing how much better your life is compared to someone else’s? Do you use it to brag? Do you use it to tear others down? Do you use it to see where you fail or where you think you need to be?
You are probably thinking, no! I just use it to stay in touch with people, to post pictures, etc. The truth is, sometimes we do this stuff without thinking. At least, I know I do. I innocently log on to Facebook to reach out to a friend, and yet 30 minutes later, I’m scrolling through someone’s wedding pictures wishing I had made different choices about my own.
Look at your timeline. Do you encourage and celebrate more or complain, argue, and gossip more? (Lecrae)
The key to being content, I’m learning, is to stop complaining and stop the comparison game. Focus on where God has you so you don’t miss something. Focus on what God has blessed you with. And most important, just focus on GOD.
There is only one you. God made it that way because He knew there were specific things you would be GREAT at, and He wants you to use those gifts well. Not everyone is an athlete, so if you are, be athletic. Not everyone sings, so if you do, be a singer. Not everyone can lead, so if you can, be a leader. (Romans 12:6-8)
Don’t look at what others have in material things. Don’t look at the talents they have that you don’t, look at what you have and learn to not only be content with it, but how to use it for good and for God. It’s time to be content with who we are, who God made you and I to be.
“And you were made for more than what this world sells. All that this world has to offer -no matter how appealing at the time- is temporary. It leaves us still hungry, wanting more, because we were made for something greater. We were created to shine the spotlight on God -to spread the fame of God everywhere we go… you have been created for a great life -a life that tells the story of God.” (Chris Tomlin)