Too often, the voice of "You're-Not-Good-Enough" speaks so loudly in my ear, sometimes so loudly that I have trouble being grateful, that I have trouble finding joy.
She has much better fashion sense than I do.
Her marriage seems so effortless and loving all the time.
She has wonderful children.
Her home is always so clean.
Why doesn't my path look like that?
You know what Jesus says about those feelings, those thoughts?
In John 21, the resurrected Jesus has just revealed himself to Peter and the other disciples. He and Peter have a good heart-to-heart about the whole denying three times before the rooster crows thing.
Jesus goes on to tell Peter the plans that God has for him, the awesome and humbling task of being the founder of the Church, of "feeding his sheep" and "tending his lambs," even to the horrible and painful martyrdom that will end Peter's time on earth- all to the glory of God.
And how does Peter respond?
"Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them...When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, 'Lord, what about this man?' (John 21:20-21, ESV, emphasis mine)Oh, Peter. You are just like me.
Jesus has just given Peter a tremendous path in life, and Peter asks, "But what about him?"
We don't know what was going on in Peter's head, but my hunch is that Peter's hearing those same voices, the ones that I hear, whispering...
His life seems... better.
And isn't that what's at the core of all of our comparisons? Her life seems... better. Easier. Cleaner. More godly. More polished. Calmer. More exciting. More blessed. Better.
How does Jesus reply to my (well, Peter's) question?
"Jesus said to him, 'If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!'" (John 21:22, ESV, emphasis mine)."What's it to you? Worry about your own path! Focus on Me!"
What does it matter if they have a great new house?
So what if she's lost fifty pounds and looks great?
Who cares if my neighbor does the cutest projects with her kids?
What does it matter to me if that woman in church can totally pull off the dress that would make me look like a frump?
(All those things aren't necessarily bad- good for them! But...) Other people's paths are not what I should be focusing on.
We know what our focus should be- Following Jesus. Plain and simple. Instead of worrying about how my life compares to the lives of those around me, I need to follow Jesus. The path he's given me may look a lot different than the path he's given other people, and that's okay.
When I put my focus where it's supposed to be- on Christ alone- there is no more comparison problem. I just gotta worry about myself- Following Jesus, seeking God's will, no matter where that path may lead.