If we could have this conversation in person, I’d take you to my favorite coffee place. It’s a cozy little building tucked neatly in downtown Frisco that you’d almost miss if you weren’t looking for it. Their coffee is pretty rad but I’m particularly fond of this thing they sweeten their lattes with called “moon milk”. Trust me when I say, it tastes like melted vanilla ice cream (don’t worry, they have almond milk options too)! We’d grab our cups full of frothy goodness and find a spot to sit. We’d discuss the small things, random things (as you can tell from my coffee tangent) and before too long, we’d probably find our way to the weightier things. Passions, dreams, hopes for the future and more than likely, struggles.
If I’m being really honest there would probably be one struggle you’d hear surface more than once. It’s something that may seem small and insignificant at first, but somehow, it stacks up to feel like a boulder. A load. A massive weight. A chain of heaviness that hinders any movement because it’s far too awkward to carry very far. I’m talking about the weight of comparison.
It’s ok if you want to sigh here (believe me, this isn’t where I wanted to go either). It’s embarrassing, frustrating, and quite honestly, infuriating. I should be over this by now (at least that’s what my pride tells me). I’m an adult. I’m a follower of Jesus. I’m a worship leader. I’ve read the books, been to the conferences, and listened to the podcasts and yet, here I am. Still holding occasional pity parties for myself after nice long trolls down social media lane. Still wrestling with feelings of incompetency, lack and failure all because my giftings may look different than those around me. All because someone seems to be further along in life than I am. All because someone seems to have more influence, a greater following, or more opportunities that come their way. Please tell me I’m not the only human who’s ever wrestled with these thoughts (seriously, feel free to tell me)?
A few weeks ago, after a series of such related thoughts (that only led to feeling discouraged and thankless), I read a verse that hit like a ton of bricks. I had never thought about it in relation to this topic before because one, who likes to admit they have a comparison problem and two, surely the writer was talking about a “real” sin (yep, I actually thought that). Never the less, it took me by surprise and it’s been on my mind ever since. It’s found in Hebrews 12:1-2 and says this…
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”
Whoa. It was in that moment I felt the Spirit say, “COMPARISON has been your weight. COMPARISON has been slowing you down. COMPARISON has been preventing you from running the race God has for you!” Ouch. I’m not gonna lie, it was an incredibly humbling moment with Jesus! But then He reminded me of the end of that verse, “…let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus”. Strip it off, throw it down, run with endurance, eyes on Jesus. Yes, Lord…but please help me!
Friend, I’m nowhere near perfection in this area but I’m clinging to this verse like it’s a life line. My fear, hesitancy, lack of courage, discouragement, and frustration in running the race are not a 21st century social media problem…they’re a fallen world problem.
“If He uses ‘them’ then He won’t use me,” “if ‘they’ succeed, then there won’t be anything left for me,” and my personal favorite, “I’m not as good as they are so I guess I won’t use the gifts He’s already given.”
How much time have I wasted, allowing these thoughts to hinder my pace when I could be running with abandon? How much time have I wasted when I could be free of the burden that comes from looking to others for approval? Probably a lot, but that’s ok. When I cry out for help for the 100,134 time, I’m not berated, but instead met with new mercy. Thank God! Thank God that each time I try and pick up that weight, He’s there reminding me “strip it off, throw it down, eyes on Me!”.
Worship leader, songwriter, coffee enthusiast and wife to Jason and their 3 sweet nuggets...Camden, Harper and Raleigh.