I think we all do it at one point or another. In some ways it gets better as you get older….or does it? It seems like it’s mostly outward comparisons – looks, nice car, awesome clothes, a perfect plus one. But then again it can also be inward comparisons. That person is so much (funnier, smarter, more personable, more extroverted, more centered, more…) than I am. Why do we see others as more and that naturally leading to us thinking that we are somehow less?
God gifts each of us in mighty ways and just because our “gift” isn’t the same as the next person’s, that doesn’t mean that it’s any less.
One of the texts for Sunday is Romans 13:8-14 and it speaks hugely to these desires of the flesh – this coveting – this jealousy.
There’s all sorts of thoughts that run through our heads on a daily basis. For me today some have been pretty small like it’s a bad hair day and maybe I should actually get a hair cut, that’s not my feet smelling up Wesley are they, or I wish I wasn’t so old and didn’t have aches and pains. Others strike to the heart…if only I could spend hours of leisure with my children so I can see how their first day of school went, one of my constants – I wish we had a yard even though I love our lovely town house so that our kids could play in the back, or that question that I hate coming up this time of year…the one about whether what I’m doing is good enough.
I don’t think it’s just pastors that feel this way. I’m sure it’s many in the work place or any who begin the lovely comparison dance. I love seeing other campus ministers post on facebook this time of year and it’s great being able to cheer them on and glean great ideas from them. I like the fellowship building of that and the collegiality. And although I truly am excited when things are going well and there are more folks coming to Christ and finding that essential community, if I were completely honest with myself, this also often brings a list of questions and worries to mind as well. Am I working hard enough? Do we have enough students? Are we going to have enough supporters or money coming in? Is the job enough to count as ministry? Why can’t we just rejoice with those and not have it automatically mean that something about us is less or not enough?
That’s the thing about ministry sometimes. We think that it’s all about us. Are we cool enough? Hipster enough (don’t get me started Mac people)? Funny enough? Spiritual enough? Know our Bible backwards and forwards enough? Do we have enough activities? Do we have a big enough crowd? Are we marketing ourselves well? It can drive you crazy.
Reality though is that God has gifted each of us and we’re not going to be all things to all people. Wesley is going to always be a place that emphasizes community and justice and following Christ – not just nice and clean but down and dirty. It is what it is. Narcie is not ever going to have unlimited energy, a nice and witty thing always to say, perfect patience with everyone even in the most random of requests or the poof of suddenly being turned into a hot male with skinny jeans, muscle shirts, the strategic tattoo and gelled hair. It ain’t happening.
I’m me. No less than anyone else. But all the more because of the One who has called us each by name. I don’t have to feel unworthy or ashamed or less than. I just have to trust the One who made me and created me as me. I am enough. You are enough. We are plenty. Isn’t a theology of abundance that much more life-giving than a theology of scarcity? It’s not that someone got our gift and since they took it, we can’t have it. It’s not that someone is doing so super well that there’s not enough for us.
We are enough. As Romans 13 verse 12 says, “Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light…” May we lay down the words of darkness that creep into our heads and our hearts and may we put on the armor of light that protects us and surrounds us and sees us through to the other side.
Andrew Ripp – You Will Find Me (speaks so well to these feelings – great song!)