Updated: Apr 28, 2019
Remember that viral video of the little girl in the car seat, trying to buckle herself up, refusing her dad’s help, and repeatedly saying, “Worry about yourself!” It’s funny because she’s probably repeating what she’s been told by her parents. Maybe she was told a new rule and wanted to know, “does she (her sister) have to do that, too?” Or maybe, as my children do, her sister was misbehaving and she wanted to make sure her punishment was comparable to one she’s had in the past. Worry about yourself!
In today’s society we spend hours scrolling through social media. We commit our lives to comparison. We stay “friends” online with people we barely know from high school and compare our lives to theirs using only the information we find in a carefully worded status or a perfectly prepared square photo. Most of us know logically that this is all so silly. But we get roped in to the comparison, even knowing we’re only seeing people's highlight reels. Francesca Battistelli has a great song that illustrates just how empty all of this really is: “Let the Light In." The lyrics below really stuck out to me.
I need you to look me in the eye Tell me that you're not always fine 'Cause on the surface it's picture perfect I know it's just a highlight reel But I can't help the way I feel That I'm too much and I'm not enough…
...This is a song to remind me We've all got some broken we're hiding None of us are ok We all fall, we all break This is a song to remind me To let the light in
We are so trained to compare, compare, compare; it bleeds into every part of our lives. We hear people’s stories of God’s blessings, his guidance, and hearing his voice, and we wonder, “What about me, Lord?” Or sometimes, we feel the Holy Spirit guiding us towards something hard, something we wouldn’t have chosen for ourselves, and we look at our friends and wonder, “What about them, Lord?” In John 21, Jesus appeared to the disciples for the third time since his death and resurrection. He spoke to Peter, asking him, “Do you love me?” Peter adamantly said he did, then Jesus continued, “Then feed my sheep.” (verses 15-17) Jesus goes on to tell Peter that the freedom he enjoys will be taken from him via a not-so-pleasant death, but in a way that would glorify God. Peter was prepared to make this sacrifice, but very humanly pointed to his friend and said, “What about him, Lord?” (verse 21) Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.” (verse 22) Worry about yourself. Jesus works differently in each of our lives. In the same way that he gives us different spiritual gifts, he gives us different assignments. If we spend our time looking at what he has given other people, we become less grateful and less content with our own blessings and assignments. Think of what we could do if we remained laser-focused on what God has given us!
After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”
“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.
Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”
“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.
A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.
“I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.” Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”
Peter turned around and saw behind them the disciple Jesus loved—the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked, “Lord, who will betray you?” Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?”
Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.” So the rumor spread among the community of believers that this disciple wouldn’t die. But that isn’t what Jesus said at all. He only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”
This disciple is the one who testifies to these events and has recorded them here. And we know that his account of these things is accurate.
Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.
When do you find yourself saying, “What about me, Lord,” or “What about them, Lord?” In what areas do you compare your life and your assignments to others’?
How might you be able to become content in where God has placed you?
Break the comparison-culture cycle. Spend less time scrolling/comparing and more time reading your Bible, praying, cooking, talking to real friends, enjoying the sun. God has given us so much. He is so good. He loves you, and he has a plan that he has handcrafted just for you. The GOD OF THE UNIVERSE has tasked you with an individualized assignment. There is nothing out there that is better for you than that.
The GOD OF THE UNIVERSE has tasked you with an individualized assignment. There is nothing out there that is better for you than that. Click To Tweet
A.j. is a wife and SAHM, an eager follower of Jesus, and a chronically loud-laugher. She loves finding new ways to look at the Bible, in hopes to grow closer to Jesus and to find fresh ways to learn and teach others.
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