March 31, 2018 Comparisons

Brotherly Competition

We did a lot of wrestling at home
Wrestling in the house
I grew up with my brother - we were 'Irish Twins'.  We were born 355 days apart.  As a result there was a lot of self-imposed competition between the two of us when we were younger.  When we got into high school and our natural abilities became more obvious, it was pretty much pointless for us to compete against each other anymore, so we became friends.  This was great.  However, I still have this competitive nature inside me that wants to show people that 'I can do things well, too.'  And it gets the best of me sometimes.  I still see this happening in my life now in comparisons I make - comparing my life to others and getting 'worked up' and/or 'uptight' about feeling second class or passed over.

A couple of examples:

Garden Valley Baptist Church

I lived for almost 4 years in Texas. While I was there I got involved playing piano with a small country church - Garden Valley Baptist Church.  I felt like I made a difference there - with the youth, with the services and the singing.  I was 20 at the time and still not entirely comfortable in my own boots, but trying to make a difference.  And I felt I had done that to some degree there.  In fact, I had turned down a real enticing offer to be involved with a praise band at another church because I wanted to be loyal to what I was doing there. 

Browsing for antiques in Mineola, Texas, I bump into pastor friends from 20 years ago
Browsing through an antique store
A couple of years ago we went back to Texas as a family.  My daughter wanted to for her graduation trip, so we showed the kids where my wife and I met, and some of the places we hung out and restaurants we went to.  Browsing in an antique store in Mineola one day during that trip, we bumped
into the couple who were pastoring Garden Valley Baptist Church back when I was playing piano there.  This was a surprise for everyone as over 20 years had passed.  We quickly caught up with each other, and then the pastor told me about a young fellow who had made 'a huge impact' in the church after I had left.  How this other young fellow had made such an impact that one of the ladies had paid his way through college, etc.

I didn't let on at the time, but I was thunderstruck.  Here I thought I'd made a big impact, and it turns out that someone came after me and had a larger influence.  Someone else had a 'bigger story than me' in the life of that church.  I was disappointed, particularly because I had passed on the opportunity with the other church in favour of what I thought was a good thing.  Did I miss out on something better God had for me?  Did I blow it?  Would my life be totally different now if I had taken that chance with that other church and tossed loyalty to the wind?

Software Contracting

I've been a software contractor for 13 years now.  I've worked in a variety of companies and industries and got a fair bit of experience under my belt.  I recently started a contract with a company I've actually contracted at in the past - they asked if I could come back and help them again in a different department.  It had been almost 2 years since I'd worked there previously.  The timing and other details worked out well (I've got another God story about that) so I went back contracting with them.   Upon return, I've found that some people who have worked there through the duration now have more knowledge and experience specific to the company than I do - which has changed since I worked there previously - and this has been a challenge for me.  What if I had stayed and never left - where would I be now?  I have to swallow my pride and ask lots of questions, even though I knew the answers to them in the past.  I end up comparing my standing and situation to others and feeling... bad.

What to Make of This?

So how do I get out of this 'funk' I find myself in when I start making comparisons like these (because I definitely get into a 'funk' and it can totally mess with my attitude)?  I need to remember a few things:
  • My perspective, or other people's perspective about me - its not God's perspective.  He's got a different view on things.  I need to learn to look at my life through Heaven's eyes.
  • My responsibility here is to do what God told me to do, and not worry or be concerned about my results, and how they compare to others.  I have to encourage myself to do what He's given me to do with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. To trust Him with my life.  He knows me best.  He knows what I'm ready for and when.  He knows what would ruin me.  I need to trust Him.  He makes all things 'right' in His time.
  • All of us that are working for the kingdom are on the same team.   Paul said something like 'I planted the seed, Apollos watered, and some one else harvested.' Its teamwork for the Kingdom and I can't get our knickers in a knot about who does what, or who appears to get the accolades. 

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