Comparison can be an easy pit to fall into. We might not fully realize how crippling comparing ourselves to others is. If we let someone else’s gift or favor threaten rather than inspire us, it leads to all sorts of complications.
When we fall into comparison, what we are essentially saying is, “What the Lord gave me isn’t good enough and I would rather have that.” The truth is that there will always be someone more talented, more attractive or more anointed than we are, but that doesn’t mean that they are more significant than us. When we find ourselves in that mindset, we devalue what we have been given and nothing that is not properly valued and cared for will ever flourish.
When we begin to understand that our true value doesn’t lie in our abilities but rather in our identity as a child of God, literally everything changes. This has been a lesson I’ve been learning most of my adult life.
For years, I found myself constantly seeking approval and trying to impress people, always looking to be the best. I was emotionally wounded and insecure and believed that unless I reached the top of the heap, so to speak, there would be no place for me. In my race to the top, anyone talented or anointed, I found threatening.
In 2009, I was leading worship at a conference in Boston. There was a married couple speaking there that I looked up to. The last night of the conference, the husband pulled me aside and put his arm around me. “For years you’ve been carrying around some wounds,” he told me with a fatherly twinkle in his eye, “but the Lord is about to take care of them. You’ve gone about as far as you can with them and now it’s time for them to go.” At the time, I was pretty oblivious to how I was wounded—as we often are—but I thanked him for what he had to say because of my respect for him. Later that evening, his wife approached me, asking if I wanted to hear what she had to tell me. Assuming it would be a compliment, I told her I did. I was surprised by what she said. “Right now you are at a crossroads in your life and you must choose to either minister to man or minister to the Lord. If you minister to man, you’ll be very successful but you won’t minister to the Lord.”
Needless to say, I was a bit shell-shocked. The true desire of my heart was to be pleasing to the Lord but I realized I was valuing the approval of man above His approval. The funny part of all of this is that my wounds drove me to seek something that could never satisfy. No matter what kind of approval I received—from leaders, friends, whoever it was—it was never really enough to fill in the gap. No amount of recognition, influence or fame could ever be a substitute for having your identity rooted in the Lord. He fills us with confidence that can only come from knowing where our true value lies.
The reality is this: in the Kingdom of God, there is room for all of us to be the best at what we do without risk of anyone losing true significance. One of the biggest lies we can fall for is that we have to fight for position and favor but that’s not the way of the Kingdom. Proverbs 18:16 says:“A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men.” It’s the Lord’s job and His joy to promote His kids. He will do so in the right increments at the right time. Some are seen by 10,000 and some are seen by 10, but both are seen by God and that is the goal.