Sunday, August 11, 2013

Stop comparing yourself

Proverbs 14:17 A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

Job 5:2 Resentment kills a fool and envy sleighs the simple.

Jacob: I will not let you go until you bless me.
Man: What is your name?
Jacob: "Jacob"
Man: But no longer. Your name is no longer Jacob. From now on it's Israel (God-wrestler); you've wrestled with God and you've came through."
Jacob: What is your name?
Man: Why do you want to know my name? And then right there he blessed him.
Genesis 32: 28-29

How much of our pain comes from not knowing who we really are? Not claiming our name- given to us by God. In Biblical times, names were very important. They defined a person's destiny and identity.

We'll never embrace our true self if we keep comparing ourselves to others. There's always going to be a prettier girl or buffer guy. There's always going to be someone more talented than us or richer than us. If you live your life trying to be the better than everyone else, your not going to be happy. If you live your life trying to make the best out of what God gives you- you can be a blessing to others.

Why do we think we are supposed to be like the people around us? Don't we realize that different is  beautiful? So much of America wants to fit in. We want to look like the models plastered on tv screens and magazines. We want to have a classy wedding, wear a name brand dress, get a ring just like the diamond ones on tv. We want to be smart and we are constantly getting ranked and compared to the students in our classes. But we have it wrong- it's not a competition. Life is not a fight with our brothers and sisters in Christ- it's a battle against things in the heavenly places and spiritual things.

How much life do we lose when were endlessly comparing and measuring ourselves to others or when we are jealous of what someone else has or even who someone else is. The struggle of Jacob is the struggle of all of us. We're asked "What is your name" and were really being asked "Who are you?"

It's easy to look around and say Why can't I be like them? But to discover our true identity in Christ we have to embrace our story and our testimony- the good, the bad, and the ugly parts in our lives- We each have our own path, set apart by God. We have our own limits. We can't expect to be as good as other people at certain things. We have undergone certain struggles in our lives for different reasons. We each have different strengths according to our needs and our histories.

What a tragedy it is to live your whole life according to the expectations of others. Many people live as if their is a script already written for their life that they can just follow. Or they give up their own dreams for someone else's and God's will and dreams for them are crushed.

Mark 12:31 says "Love your neighbor as yourself" and I've heard many explanations and translations of this verse. How can I ever love and embrace someone else when I've never came to embrace myself for who I am and who I am not? I am a child of Christ. I am a sinner. I am desperately in need of Jesus.

This man asked Jacob what is your name? He's struggled and he's been broken. Jacob is done pretending he's someone else. He's ready to be himself. He's ok with the life God has given him. It's then that God pulls him into his divine destiny as father of the nation and renames him "Israel".

Stop comparing yourself to other people. Stop chasing other people's dreams. Learn about yourself and your identity as a child of Christ. Hang out with the people who accept that identity for you- who help you see yourself as God would. Stop looking around and stop pretending. God loves you. He wants you to be you- the way he created you to be.

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