99% of the time I love being a cheerleader! It’s easy for me to get excited about the contributions others are making to the kingdom.
I marvel at those who have gifts that I don’t.
Like anything having to do with math. Or spreadsheets. Or budgets. A poker face. Technology. Patience. The ability to not speak every word that comes to mind.
But then there are other moments.
Especially with folks who have similar gifts and talents to mine, I find myself doing what psychologists call “yard-sticking” – the act of comparing yourself to others, particularly people in your own peer group, in a manner that results in feelings of inadequacy or jealousy.
And let me just say, I know you. I’m not alone. There are certain people who, when you hear someone rave about them, or see them on social media being all shiny and successful with “perfect kids” or a “perfect job”, it triggers something sad and hurtful inside you. You feel diminished. Discounted. And that is not from Jesus.
Clearly, this is not something I’ve mastered, but there are 5 practices that have been helpful to me. I’ll share the first 3 today:
- Name your comparison thoughts and ask for prayer from your tribe.
Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. James 5:16 MSG
One morning a few weeks ago, I was going into a situation with a person I knew was likely to trigger my tendency to compare and feel wormlike. I texted my people and asked for prayer. They were kind, affirming and prayerful.
2. Listen for God’s voice.
After I texted my friends, I prayed like Samuel, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
I know how important it is to hear God’s voice above all, and as I was still, I sensed the Lord saying, “I love YOU. I have work that only you can do.” (Eph. 2:10) I went into the situation feeling wrapped in a coat of love.
3. You do you.
Galatians 6:4-5 Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. (MSG) (emphasis added)
It is an amazing thing that God has created us each uniquely with gifts and personality traits suited just for the work He has for us. The sun and the moon are different, but both shine at their own time and in their own place.
Remember when Peter questioned Jesus about John?
When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” John 21:21-22
In what situations do you struggle most not to yard-stick?