you're not them
Sometimes I feel like I am publishing my diary online here. Because I forget about halfway that people actually read this and I'm not just talking to myself. So, welcome.
In high school, I was on drill team (shout out, tiger belles).
Glitter, crew socks and white Keds to look like drill team boots, high ponytails and a really weird hierarchy.
I absolutely loved it (most of the time).
I remember going to competitions in February every year in high school, having worked my butt off for the past few months on specific routines we would compete with. My senior year I think I was in seven different dances, because I was an officer. We would perfect every movement to the best of our ability, ready and confident to go out onto the gym floor to perform.
About halfway through the day (the time would vary), soloists who made the finals would perform. Most people were interested in watching, so a large group from our team would run down arm-in-arm to see the talent. These girls (and some guys) that would perform would be AMAZING. ahhhhhhhmaaaazinnng. Like jaw-to-the-floor-how-does-a-human-body-move-like-that kind of amazing. The talent of some of these dancers was just unbelievable.
Looking back, did I sit there in the bleachers and say to myself,
"wow, what amazing dancers!"
No, I remember thinking,
"wow, how can I call myself a dancer?"
My immediate reaction is not to compliment others but to insult myself. Anybody else?
This can be in any area of life -- talent, family, clothing, social media following, career accomplishment, technology, relationships. We are in the comparison business and it is holding us back every single day. We can see someone else's success as poison for ours, like we are unable to succeed alongside someone else. When we lay it out on the table like that, it does sound ridiculous. When I lay it out on the table like that, I feel ridiculous. There is never too much goodness, or grace, or love in this world. Why do we feel like our contribution not measuring up to others makes our contribution less significant?
The goal is to admire someone's beauty and life without questioning your own.
And if at first you can't do that -- maybe don't look. I like to think of it this way -- I am not very good at distracted driving (thank goodness, because I don't know what I would do if I were good at it). If I turn my head for any reason or look over to the passenger in my car to talk, I immediately start to swerve over; even ever-so-slightly. I feel like that's how we run our lives sometimes. We are so busy looking left and right to what is next to us and how we measure up that we are swerving all over the place -- swerving all over our lives. It may mean unfollowing those people that make you feel like you aren't as cool or edgy until you can feel completely comfortable in your own skin. Feeling confident in who God has made you to be is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself right now.
Admire someone's beauty and life without questioning your own.
Because the truth is, you are not them. You never will be. God has created you to be you. We can obsess and create scenarios and compare all day -- but you will never be them. It seems like such a simple truth, that God created you to be you. There are beautiful, unique, and messy things that make you who you are. It would be a shame for you to change those things to try to alter yourself to be someone else. You have gifts and skills that are distinct to your life, use them well and all of the way. The way that other people are gifted doesn't diminish the way that you are.
I could not get through writing this without thinking of this scripture from 1 Corinthians 12:
"14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.""
How often do we say these things to ourselves?
"I can't do this because there are so many other people doing this."
or "Because I don't have the skill that person has, I obviously can't lead the way I want to."
How often do we get critical of ourselves because we can't speak or dress or live like the person next to us?
Like it says in verse 18, God chose our gifts. He chose you. He chose you to be who you are, right where you are.
Know who that is, where you are, and use it well.