In around the fifth grade my hair mysteriously decided it would be curly. Up until that point it was straight. For years I have gone back and forth in allowing it to be curly or straightening it. My entire Senior year of high school I got every thirty minutes earlier every morning to straighten and hot roll it.
All I wanted was my straight hair back. Then I look around and see friends, people attempting to have curly hair. Gone, for the most part, are the days of perms. But you see the perfectly fake ringlets as women want so badly to have curly hair if they have straight.
In just this small way we see our propensity, a very natural one, to focus in on what we do not have, comparing it to what others do and measuring to see who came out at the top of the leaderboard. We have to fight against that natural part of us that desires to be on top. That desires to be the best or the first.
While not our natural tendency, one that we as Christ followers are called to embrace and weave into our lives is something we should be looking to first. In the world we are told that unless you’re first, you’re last in all things. I think we as believers have even gotten to that point of believing that. Of comparing our work to the work God has given others, or looking at a season one person is in and our own season wondering what they have done to be in theirs while we may be in the desert of our own.
It’s really interesting as lately the comparisons have come in a different way…yet they are still carrying the envy of another’s season of life and not the one I am in. It took me a while to figure that out, that even in a relatively good season of life we compare-even in our walks with Christ-among one another.
I am the world’s best comparer (see, even in that moment I had to be the best at something bad). Yet I am coming to see that where He wants me to be is good. For me. He knows me uniquely. That what I am in now, is what He has known I would be in. That it is for good and not for comparison nor to stir up strife or worry. While we are on the journey together, comparing the strides, the timing and the distance is not something we are called to do. Ultimately God is at work in each of us, specific to what we need. Would I rather be intimately known by the Creator, as He walks with me in my journey, or would I rather He address me as a number? Comparing diminishes the relationship I have with Him, and subsequently, diminishes Him and His sovereignty in my life, in all things.
For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Romans 12:4, 5 (NKJV)
He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30 (ESV)