Ed. Note: “The Biggest Lesson (TBL)” is a series on the biggest lesson I’ve learned in life written to mark my birthday this year (March 23, 2015). May you be blessed as you follow the series. Amen.
Opening Question: How many copies of “you” did God make?
I branched at the White House the other day to do two things (as usual): to read and to feel convenient. By now, I guess you know the “white house” I was referring to. Within minutes, reading turned to surfing…and surfing turned to facebooking. No sooner had I switched to the facebook app than my eyes fell on the notification:
“xxxxxx shared a new photo”
I clicked. The photo had a caption: “It’s Official! I’m Married! Enjoying the wonders of Dubai with my HoneyPie!” Normally, I will just click on “Like” and mindlessly scroll on, but not that day. I was stunned!
My God! Is that xxxxxx? He’s changed so much since high school! See how sharp and clean he looks in that white suit… and here I am, same age with him and I’m still single. Kai! I can’t believe He’s honeymooning in Dubai. He was always so smart in school; he must be filthy rich now. And he’s married too!… And ugh, is that 265 likes and 196 comments? Oh my gosh! No one even cares about my facebook posts nowadays—at least, not that much. Church. Ikotun. Ketu. Lagos. Editor. Student Pastor. No me-time. My life is so much more pathetic and boring!
The not-so-nice effervescence from the white closet I sat upon snapped me back to reality. I was in the rest room, but far from being at rest.
That scenario isn’t totally true (I’ve edited a couple of details to suit the message I intended to pass across), but it is the truth for many of us. Isn’t it part of the human nature to compare?
Remember where we rounded off in #TBL Episode 1—that the antidote to coveting is contentment. And the first index of building contentment is to nip comparison in the bud!
Don’t get me wrong: Contentment is not passive or lazy—it’s not the absence of ambition. Instead, contentment means that at every stage of your life, your happiness is measured by an APPRECIATION for what you have, and not postponed by dwelling on an inventory of what you are missing. And how do you make a habit of showing appreciation for what you have? Start by RESISTING to COMPARE yourself with others!
Comparison is a thug that robs your joy—in fact, comparison makes you a thug who beats down somebody – or your soul.
She’s married and I’m yet to find the right man.
She’s now a mother of two, yet I married earlier than her and I’m yet to have a child.
We wrote the UTME CBT together but she had 230 while I was given 190—the same score I had last year!
He’s got 6 packs, I can’t boast of 2.
He speaks so fluently; I stammer so annoyingly.
His face is so fresh; mine, so pimpled.
Can you allow me to bring you a few points to ponder?
For starters, know this: SCALES ALWAYS LIE! When it comes to the issue of your value, worth and significance, no man-made scale ever tells the truth! The measuring sticks of men try to rank some people as big and some people as small—but we aren’t sizes; we are souls. Ask our Manufacturer—when it comes to worth, value and significance that He placed on us, there are no better people or worse people—there are only God-made souls. There is no point trying to size people up, no point trying to compare—because souls defy measuring. And when we compare, we’re essentially telling God that what He created wasn’t good enough.
Paul was correct. He said concerning humans in 2 Corinthians 10:12 (GW) “…Certainly, when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves to themselves, they show how foolish they are” Simple truth!
How many copies of “you” did God make? The Psalmist’s answer to that question couldn’t have been simpler: Psalm 33:15 (NKJV) says, “He fashions (our) hearts INDIVIDUALLY…” The Bible says, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works ….” Our English word “poem” comes from this Greek word translated “workmanship.” You are God’s poem! You are God’s hand-crafted work of art. You are not an assembly-line product, mass-produced without thought. You weren’t an accident. You are a custom designed, one-of-a kind, original masterpiece. God carefully and painstakingly mixed the DNA cocktail that created you. You are wonderfully complex. You are one in a zillion!!!, God planned, gifted and positioned you in His world.
David praised God for this incredible personal attention to detail that God gave in designing each of us: “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous.” (Psalm 139)
Sweetheart, God doesn’t make junk! You are beautiful as you are! Afterall, beauty is not from the eye of the beholder but from the hands of the Creator!
By knowing that there are 60,000 varieties of beetles, we learn God likes variety. And because God loves variety, He wants us to be special. No single gift is given to everyone. Also, no individual receives all the gifts. If you had them all, you’d have no need of anyone else, and that would defeat one of God’s purposes—to teach us to depend on each other.
Wake up each morning telling yourself:
“I am the only me that God designed. He didn’t make me on accident, and He didn’t form me with some societal mold in mind that He was trying to measure up to. He is infinitely creative and brilliant.”
Every time God creates, He does so with intention. He utilized an equal and exact amount of creativity when He made you, and every other person on this planet. When we choose to compare ourselves with others around us, or the fictitious characters we see and read of in the novels and magazines, we aren’t only making life harder on ourselves, we are telling God He didn’t do a good enough job.
The flaws you see in your body, or in your personality, or in your ability—they are not flaws to God. They are all TO HIS GLORY! In John 9, He said that the man born blind was so born that God’s Glory may be made manifest in his life. Let that marinate.
If we continually compare ourselves to the people around us, we miss the opportunity to build others up and bring glory to God in what we can do. Therefore, comparison is at its core selfish and prideful because it takes the focus of God and others and keeps it on ourselves.
You desire a way out of the comparison trap? Here’s my candid piece of advice: “LEARN TO ADMIRE WITHOUT HAVING TO ACQUIRE. Whenever you find you are comparing yourself to someone else, you should go right up to that person and compliment them on the very thing you’re jealous of or comparing yourself to.”
Jealous of someone’s change of marital status? Congratulate him/her heartily!
Jealous of someone’s great hair, nice car or beautiful home? Tell them how beautiful you find those things!
Do you find yourself comparing your accomplishments to the accomplishments of a coworker? Send that coworker a note congratulating him/her on the achievement. When we turn our comparisons into a way to build someone else up, the devil loses and God is glorified.
Comparison breeds “foolish and harmful desires that drag (people) down and destroy them.” (1 Timothy 6:9 CEV). Comparison breeds covetousness. Ahab coveted Naboth’s property and the end result wasn’t palatable (1 Kings 21). David coveted Uriah’s wife (2 Samuel 11), Saul coveted David’s popularity (1 Samuel 18), Miriam coveted Moses’ ministry (Numbers 12). What/Who do YOU covet?
Mine was the marital status, honeymoon experience and the geographical location of the newlyweds. It ate me up for a brief moment, but afterwards, the Holy Spirit ministered to me. If you forget any verse on the folly of discontent which manifests in comparisons, remember that “It’s healthy to be content, but envy can eat you up.” (Proverbs 14:30 CEV)
May you be preserved from such danger. Amen.
As I count down to March 23…See you here, soon…with Episode 3.
With Jesus Joy,
Ola Joseph Kolawole.