Compared to ............ I am like ...........
This is a pretty open-ended statement, but one we run over and over in our brains, most of the time without even being aware that it is happening! Why do we find it necessary to compare - to put things within our lives on a scale against what another has, does, or is on the opposite side of that scale? I guess we will never learn that God has a purpose for each of us - independent of what another does, is, or has! Comparison is often the very thing that erodes at our faith and brings decay into what we refer to as contentment or fulfillment. We need to guard against this erosion and decay, but how?
If we spend today looking at ourselves in the mirror, what will we see? Will we see exactly what is there - no more, no less? Not likely - because we will eventually think about our skin in comparison to that friend a few years old who looks even better than we do, or the one who works out regularly, eats mostly veggies and fruits and is the size of a twig. We do this all without much encouragement. In fact, we have to do a whole lot of 'discouragement' of our thoughts in order to get them back under control.
If we are always looking at the 'them' in our lives, we will likely begin to do one of two things - fear they think less of us than we'd like them to, or fear they think more of us than we see as our value or worth. Either way, we lose! Human standards are an ever-changing target, so God warns us to not use them. I had a professor in Bible College who always tried to tell us there was a danger in comparison because it took our eyes off of what God was calling each of us to do as individuals. We each have a calling - no matter how small or large, mature or immature we may be! We need to keep this in mind anytime we do some 'mirror-gazing'.
Resist the desire to compare. That means you have to actually get those thoughts under control and refuse to entertain them! This is the only way to actually begin to settle into the purpose God has for us in our lives. Yes, I did say 'settle into his purpose' because it just doesn't happen in a 'poof' all at one time. God's purpose for us is constantly developed - even though he has designed it fully - we will take time to develop into it. Fruit in our lives isn't instant - it is grown. Callings don't develop overnight - they are grown, refined, and sometimes even 'replanted'.
What do I mean by 'replanted'? There are times when it seems God brings 'death' to a vision in our lives - something we were pursuing or a purpose we felt we were to fulfill. When these times come, we don't just stop in our tracks and not move on. We seek God's will in the 'replanting' of our purpose once again. Renewal brings new growth and with that newness comes a difference aspect of how that purpose will be fulfilled in and through us. As with all callings in life, the very thing that stands in opposition to the fulfillment of them may actually be the pathway to the 'replanting' that will bring even greater purpose and fulfillment. Just sayin!