There she is, Miss Perfect. Between her GQ husband, angelic children, and home straight from the “Parade of Homes” tour, is there anything that she doesn’t have? Doesn’t she have it all?Have you ever caught yourself wondering how the Barbie across the congregation got so lucky? She must have given a dying child a kidney or something that made God smile on her, right?
Too many times I have wondered why God chose to bless somebody else. Maybe it is her home, or maybe it is her husband, but something in that woman’s life causes me to look at my own and see everything that I don’t have. For whatever reason, the ugly comparison nerve in me starts to twitch reminding me how much I have only wished for.
Then, slowly, God seeps into the negativity and reminds me what I do have. His grace. After His death on the cross, he crossed the border that separated us from Him. What a gift!
Unfortunately, humanness has a way of twisting the truth into a knotted reminder of what we don’t have. So what can we do to re-grasp God’s truth for our lives?
Get involved in a ministry that uses your specific spiritual gift. We were not all designed to be the same. In First Corinthians 12:4-11, Paul communicates that everyone has a different gift that we are called to use. If it weren’t for the different gifts God has bestowed upon us, it would be impossible to reach the entire human race.
In college I was blessed to have several wonderful roommates. The first year I had only one roommate, but the other three years I lived with five other girls besides myself in a suite. Living quarters were tight and whenever there is that much young estrogen in a confined space there are bound to be “tiffs.” But even through loud music and battles over the shower, we were bound by one thing, the love of God.
We were all so different. One had a compassionate touch that could comfort those struggling with health, another had this on fire spirit for inner-city missions, another could put a bunch of pictures together to present nearly a flawless yearbook, and yet another had this ability with small children. And how could I forget my roommate my freshman year that held a record in cross-country, track, and even a state trophy in weight lifting.
Each one of us contained seeds that would root in different peoples’ lives. Ministries through our spiritual gifts help us to find God’s will. And confidence comes when we minister the way we were designed to.
Reach out to those who have less. It is so easy to get caught up in our desires and not see those who are hurting. Frustrated with your husband’s lack of insight? Reach out to the woman who doesn’t have a husband. Are you about to strangle your two year old who again sent his cereal to the floor because it wasn’t ice cream? Reach out to the woman whose child was just diagnosed with cancer. Are you about ready to tell your boss where he can stick that extra pile of work that will cause you to be late getting home? Reach out to the woman whose just needs a job.
A lady who works with my mom has a screen saver that scrolls across her computer that always humbles me. It reads, “I once complained that I didn’t have any shoes until I met the man who didn’t have any feet.”
It is a hurting world and so many of us have so much to give. Yes, there are times in our lives that we need ministered to, but don’t forget those that also need a kind word. In John 13:34-35, Jesus commands us to love one another because that is how the world will identify us as His disciples. Love.
Recognize jealousy. Whenever we desire what someone else has, we are coveting and forgetting all the goodness that God has bestowed upon us. No one has it perfect, although it feels like it. Every person carries with them secret hurts and desires. Yet it is so easy to be caught in appearances and see everything that they have and wish it was ours.
Greed. Doesn’t it all just come down to greed? We are greedy enough to throw away the good that we do have just so we can have what someone else has.
One Christmas when I was very young, after all the gifts had been opened, my dad pulled out an extra gift that hadn’t been under the tree for my brothers and me. My dad handed me a My Little Pony that I had not yet attained for my vast collection with orange silky hair and stars on its rump. A great present for a little girl. But in my brother’s eyes, his harmonica was not enough. He wanted my pony and made it clear. Throwing down his harmonica he tried to grab my pony. I will never forget the hurt on my father’s face when he said to my brother, “I thought you would like your harmonica.”
I can imagine Jesus’ face when we throw what we have down and reach for what our sister or brother has. His gifts are perfect, so why do we refuse them?
In Luke 12:15 Jesus warns us to guard against greed because it only steals our joy.
Focus on a goal specifically designed for you. Sometimes it feels like no matter what we do, we never succeed. One moment I am working hard toward my passion and the next thing I know, I am passed by a perky blond with manicured hands. But God’s word tells us in Galatians 6:9 that we should never grow tired of doing good because God will bless our efforts.
In college, my piano teacher started putting more focus on a new outstanding student, making my talent seem second rate. My teacher entered her into contests and always seemed just a little kinder to her. And this student rose up to match the description of the perfect “teacher’s pet”, even taking notes during her lessons. I tried to push my jealousy aside, but when this student began winning the awards that I use to get, including a once in a lifetime internship that I desperately wanted, I began to wonder why God even needed me. Why would God want to use my abilities when he has Little Miss Concert Pianist?
What God showed me is still an aspect that I struggle with. He designed us each with different purposes in mind. No, I could never accomplish what God has planned for her life, but what is difficult to remember is that neither can she accomplish what He has designed for my life.
Although on the outside someone might seem more talented, God still gave specific abilities that are needed to fulfill your calling. He would never call us to do something that he hasn’t equipped us to accomplish. So, go after those dreams because only you can fulfill them according to God’s purpose.
Remember who you are in God. God has called every one of us by name and he has abundantly more planned than we could ever imagine. Ephesians 3:20-21 makes that claim.
My mother use to tell me to never put God in a box. Our human mind is so narrow that to think of God doing something exceptional with our lives when he could use someone else is nearly impossible to fathom. But He wants to do something in us and through us that displays His glory in a way that only He can.
Many times our “I could never do that” or “He would never choose me for something that wonderful” overcrowd our potential until we settle for second rate. God is bigger than our insecurities and our down falls. God could do something big in our lives if we just get out of His way and allow Him to do a miracle.
Be in God’s word and pray continuously. As we study His word, we become more in tune to His will and desire for us. Psalms says that God’s word is a light until our feet and a lamp unto our path. With his light we have the ability to see clearly. Walking with blinders on is a burden that just weighs us down on our journey. Dive into God’s word and pray that he will reveal the true person that he has created you to be.
God will guide us when we pray Psalms 143:10, “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” (NIV)
Satan’s two-dimensional glasses, allowing us to only see one side, can distort an accurate view of ourselves. We see our self as less than God sees us and we often question his ability to do something in us. But we have a choice. We can use God’s three-dimensional glasses, creating a beautiful image of who He created us to be.