Written by Micah Joy Burke | ChattHOP Staff
The stick I made for measuring
I used most every day.
It helped me to compare myself
with others on my way.
I watched all those behind me,
or further down the road,
and I would readjust my pace
or lighten up my load.
The only real drawback
with how I ran my race
was watching everything around,
except my Savior's face.
Anne Peterson (christianitytoday.com)
I don’t know about you, but living life alongside so many different humans, along with having access to see thousands of other people’s lives through the media, it’s so easy to compare my life to theirs. In fact, more than easy. In fact, it’s probably kind of automatic for many of us. What are other women wearing these days? What kinds of homes do other people my age have? How many kids? How much money? How happy are they? How perfect do they look? What kind of adventures are others having that I haven’t had? How old should my daughter be when I let her get a cell phone because “other kids have phones”!? What kinds of people are described as successful? How did they get to be successful? Am I successful?
What kinds of feelings usually follow this comparison-fest? Probably insecure and frustrated ones.
However...what happens when I swing the other way with comparison… How many Christians are dying for their faith? How many children have no parents? How many people around the world and in my own neighborhood can't afford to eat healthy food? There’s that family driving that car that is falling apart… there’s countless people suffering from diseases, with and without medical treatment.
What kinds of feelings follow this comparison? Probably sad and guilty ones. It’s too overwhelming. And my inkling is that maybe we are supposed to avoid this kind of thought train.
Comparison can rob the life and energy out of us, rendering us less able to run our own race with focus and precision. Every life has thousands of unique nuances, different layers of history, experience, wiring, emotions, beliefs, social settings, social statuses, that make it to be a story unlike anyone else’s.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was being formed in secret,
And intricately and skillfully formed,
as if embroidered with many colors,
in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were appointed for me…
I’m a part of a women's group from my church that gathers together every Friday morning. We only just began gathering in the fall and already, our hearts have bonded to one another. You know why? Because we have taken turns sharing our stories. Every Friday, one woman takes as much (or as little) time to share her story. She shares about what has made her her. What has impacted her, shaped her, what are the struggles and successes and frustrations and dreams that have brought her to where she is today?
And each time a woman shares, it’s like holy ground. And there’s always tears around the room. Because we are learning to hear one another and applaud her for being HER. Some stories have been filled with sadness, some have brought laughter, some have been dramatic, some have seen more time, some have been more simple. All of the dynamics of her life have shaped her to be the glorious woman she is, and there are ALWAYS many reasons to cheer for her!
What would happen if we all stopped looking around, and instead, sighed a big sigh of gratitude and determined to faithfully run the race that God has called us to? To appreciate our own race as well as appreciate the diversity of another's life, rather than comparing our own to it? It’s hard to measure your own life without some sort of measuring stick of the world... but it is such a faulty system.
Your personality, your face, your love, your skills, your belongings, your faith, your love for Jesus, is all channeled in to divine purpose, every single day of your life. No one else has your life. Only you. Enjoy and live it fully, embracing the life of God within you, and imagine yourself crossing that finish line with a full heart and lots of cheering from the saints. :)
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses….let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, looking away from all that will distract us and focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith…”