I met a new friend this week. She is immensely talented and gifted. She has had great influence, and been active in a variety of areas. I loved hearing about her experiences, but it could have been easy for me to compare myself and feel inferior to her.
That’s often my first reaction when I hear of someone else’s accomplishments. I rehearse my own shortcomings and decide that I’m not as worthy, or my life isn’t as important. The second reaction is sometimes jealousy. Why haven’t I gotten to do the things she has? Why haven’t those opportunities come my way?
Do you ever compare yourself to others? Sometimes my greatest temptation to the comparison trap comes after a time of fruitful ministry or victory. The voice in my head says, “Yeah, that was good, but you could have been better at this.”
A lie the enemy tries to deceive us with is: “I ought to be more than I am.”
When we listen to this whisper, we start comparing ourselves with others. We feel badly because we’re not talented in a certain way, and it seems that everyone around us is. Then we frantically try to make up for this lack by getting involved in too many things. We tell ourselves “we ought to volunteer for this, or sign up for that.” I think that because I lack these other gifts. I must make up for it with frantic busyness. We end up overextending ourselves, and may experience a crash; either emotionally, physically or spiritually.
Hebrews 13:5 tells us to “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
This verse tells us to fight greed, first of all. The lie behind the love of money is that “I don’t have enough.” God promises He will not leave or forsake us. This is in a financial context, and is an assurance of His provision. But then we’re commanded to be content with what we have. I believe this encompasses far more than just our financial condition. We’re admonished to be content with the situation, the gifts, the opportunities we’ve been given. Use what you’ve been given in the situation in which you find yourself, and be content with that.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to grow in our giftings or seek to expand our areas of influence if the Lord directs. But feeling that you should be more than you are is a lie and a trap. It leads to discontent, jealousy, and frustration.
So how do I fix wishing I were like someone else?
How do I fight comparison or jealousy? What’s the remedy to silencing this lie: “I ought to be more than I am?”
Learn to be content
First, learning contentment. I choose to be thankful for what I have, rather than wishing for what I don’t. I acknowledge that God has created me with some useful gifts and not others. And that is all part of His good plan. Psalm 16:6 says “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” I choose to be thankful and content. I practice gratitude, and actively rehearse the blessings I’ve received. Sometimes this is hard work, but it pays off!
Remember That I’m loved
And secondly, I must believe that I am dearly and unfailingly loved by Jesus. I’m loved for who I am, just as I am. He isn’t waiting to bestow His love on me after I do more good stuff. He loves me right now, with the limitations and failings I possess. As I surrender to His will, He will use me in the ways He deems best. He is working out His perfect, wise plans for me.
Lord, help me to trust You and be content with my financial situation as well as my giftings.