The temptation of comparison in your mission (or any other area of your life) to that of others is very real on so many levels, am I right? I wish I could confidently declare to you here and now that I don’t have that temptation. The truth is, I recognize it in my life and I see it in the lives of others. This hyper-connected age we live catches the full blame for this a lot. Obviously it doesn’t help, but I don’t think it’s the cause. I think the cause of our comparison is much deeper. It’s our inherent but misdirected need for acceptance and love.
You could be willingly giving up your mission
Our God, the creator of the universe — every big and little thing and everything in between — He holds all the power. But as humans, we aren’t without access to that power. One of the most significant gifts God has given us is the power of choice, the power of free will. He gives us the ability to make our own decisions. Hindsight is 20/20, as they say, and I’ve looked back many times and found that I gave up that power in so many situations. As a life and health/fitness coach I have witnessed so many others give up that power as well.
We fall into that comparison trap and start to feel as though we have no control, we feel as though we have no choice, or we feel as though we don’t measure up. It’s usually because we’re uncertain.
Are you a slave to uncertainty?
Uncertainty is like living your life while standing up in a canoe. You’re afraid to move because what you’re standing on is so unsteady you just might just lose your balance and be tossed overboard with the slightest move. So you stay right where you are. You can’t do very much where you are, you’re pretty much frozen because your foundation isn’t stable enough to allow for movement.
“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. It collapsed with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27
As Christians, we find certainty only when we’re standing (or in this verse, building our house) on the solid rock of Jesus. Jesus didn’t say that those who listen to and act on what Susie-so-and-so says will be a wise man. He said those who listen to Him and do what He says. When I start comparing my mission to others it’s usually because I’m unsure about where I stand at the time. It’s because I’ve slowly taken my attention (eyes and ears) off of Jesus, the solid rock. I’ve stepped off the rock back into my canoe so I can lean in closer to Susie-so-and-so, trying to get a better look at what she’s got going on. Then BAM, once again I’m one wrong move away from losing my balance and falling overboard.
When I’m in the canoe, my thoughts are:
“Why is my life so much harder than hers?”
“Did God really call me to do this?”
“I don’t know if I can do this.”
“What if I fail?”
“Does she think what I’m doing is right or wrong?”
“Should what I’m doing look more like what she’s doing?”
When I’m standing on the Solid Rock, my thoughts are:
“I am grateful for trials because they produce perseverance and maturity.”
“Jesus has me where He wants me and will lead me where He wants me to go.”
“I have more than enough through Jesus to do what I’m being called to do.”
“I am made uniquely and specifically for a purpose.”
“Jesus already knows my shortcomings, He uses them as He works through me.”
“I am already an overcomer in Christ Jesus.”
His power and grace, our choice
With Jesus, the choice is ours. It’s always ours. God doesn’t force anything on us. He doesn’t force our decision to follow Him. Once we decide to follow Him, He doesn’t force us to stop sinning. He doesn’t force the process of sanctification. There’s no forcing us to go out and create disciples. He doesn’t force us out of that comparison trap. To sum it up, He doesn’t force us to stay put on the Rock.
Receiving the grace of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit within us are totally optional. We choose to plug into it or we choose to step back out into that canoe. We all have the option to choose victory in Christ or slavery to uncertainty. The choice seems so obvious, yet we still wrestle with ourselves so often to stay on the Rock.
Step back onto the rock
I don’t have the answers. I’m just like the Apostle Paul, I do not understand what I do (Romans 7:15). What I do know is that our incredible God already knows that we have a hard time staying put. He already knows our propensity to lean away from Him and toward the world. Do you know what else I know? I know His unending grace keeps inviting us back, time and time again. I know that each time I get out in that canoe, He’s going to come looking for me (Matthew 18:12-13). He’s not going to drag me back, but He will gently invite me back to His plan, my mission. And at that moment I will be full of confidence in Him, once again, and comparison will be the last thing on my mind. That confidence is mine and it’s yours as long as we’re standing on that Solid Foundation.