This is Taylor’s story (and second on “just a glimpse”) – a friend, intern and recent graduate of Texas A&M. I think you can probably relate to her thoughts on comparison. I appreciate her insight into the places comparison takes us.
I often call myself the “Queen of Comparison.” I find it’s such an easy title to maintain. I feel it’s the nature of our core to want to compare ourselves to others. It becomes so easy to look at what I do not have and look at what others do have and assume that their lives are better, or mine would be better if I just had what they had, or that it somehow is not fair that we are different because I am entitled to everything that they have.
Or it goes beyond that – not just what they have, but who they are. I begin to compare my personality to theirs, striving to be more like them and be less like myself. This is different from following a good role model. A mentor that I look up to allows me to take my best qualities and improve them and identify my flaws and make them better. But someone that I am just comparing myself to makes me forget all of my good qualities and causes me to lose perspective of the fact that God creates us all uniquely for a purpose.
This past semester I served on a team of 20 people, doing ministry work, and in that scenario it could be so easy to compare myself to my teammates. Our team was very diverse. We had introverts and extroverts, outgoing members and reserved members, detail oriented and big picture people, a mixture of ages from 22 to 40 something, and a number of different stories that shaped who we are. You’d think in a team like this it would be easy to avoid insecurity because everyone is so unique. Why would you compare yourself to someone so different? However, by the first few weeks I had let myself begin believing the lies that I should be more like so-and-so, and the reason they seemed to be doing so much better than me is because of who they are.
This completely removes God from the picture, though. See, when I begin believing these lies and begin acting like the reason things look different in my life is because of an individual’s personality, God plays no part in it. Their ministry only becomes fruitful because of who they are and not because God has chosen to use them for his glory.
At some point I realized this and it has made a profound impact on my thinking. During that first month or so when I was feeling unsure about my ability to perform my job well I came across a passage in 1 Corinthians 3. It goes as follows:
“For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ are you not being merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”
This passage continues to resonate with me as I sometimes slip back into wanting to compare myself to others. I realize that God has uniquely crafted us all, and while we are not perfect, we are his perfect creation. We have no reason to doubt who we are and no reason to desire to be someone else, because God desires to use each of our personalities and characters for his purposes. Through these verses I also realized I have a tendency to boast in men and I want men to boast in who I am. But Paul explains that we can do nothing without the Lord. He is the one who provides the growth and so we should not take or give complete credit to any person, because we are only servants.
It is not always an easy task to believe these truths because the world gives us many contradictory messages: that we should strive to be as attractive or talented as some, that our faults are excusable, that climbing up the career ladder will give us fulfillment, that money can provide happiness, that we should have the freedom to live any way we want.
I’ve learned that I need to stop taking my advice from the world and start taking it from my Father who knows all that I am capable of and is the only one who can provide complete fulfillment. I want to stop searching for things that won’t bring me joy and comparing myself to others. I want to live freely knowing that my creator has a purpose for everything in me and that purpose is to ultimately bring him glory.
Hey, I’m Taylor Wendt and I work with Cru at Texas A&M. I graduated with an English degree from A&M this past May and love that I have the opportunity to be back here investing in women. I love a multitude of things, some of which include reading, art, my fiancé, and spreading God’s word.