Do you ever wish you had someone else’s perfect life? Have you ever thought your life would be better if you could just have their talents and skills, their perfect family, or their awesome job? Sometimes it’s easy to envy others when we think they have the best personalities, the most talent, and other attributes we admire. Frequently we get into the comparison game and come up the loser.
The fact of the matter is while we are busy envying someone else’s life, that very same person may be envying another person, too. When I was younger I could sense something wrong in a relationship with a close friend. I couldn’t put my finger on what was going on, but it seemed we were losing our closeness and I was stymied as to what I had done that would make her avoid me. Finally, unable to stand it any longer, I confronted her. I was stunned when I heard her say she was jealous of my ability to make friends easily and I had a boyfriend, while she struggled to build relationships. Feeling badly about her relationships, she had started to avoid me, especially when I was with my boyfriend.
But the REAL fact of the matter was that I envied her for her sense of humor, her close-knit Christian family, and her obvious musical talent. Once we were able to talk about our feelings and recognize that God made us unique individuals, with our own strengths and weaknesses, we abolished the barriers we had let build over time.
Being much older and somewhat wiser now, I have learned to recognize that God has made each of us unique and equipped us with different gifts. Our families, communities, belief systems, and temperaments have all factored into making us who we are. When we learn to recognize our personalities, and learn to understand our strengths and weaknesses, we can come to a greater understanding of ourselves.
I am learning to be content with who God made me to be and to recognize I need to work within my strengths. I have also learned to acknowledge my weaknesses and not be afraid to ask for help from those who are strong where I am weak. I am finally allowing myself to be me, flaws and all! That doesn’t mean I am not continually trying to grow and thrive in my environment, but it does mean I have given myself permission to not be perfect. (Which is a good thing, because the Good Lord knows I have a long way to go!)
There is a reason God doesn’t want us to be envious of others. When we start comparing ourselves to others and becoming envious of who they are and how they live, we find seeds of discontent being sown. Envy can lead to bitterness and selfishness. (James 3:13-18 deals with this very subject.) When we focus so much on others, we forget to focus on the One who created us.
Being me. I am the only one who can be me. Being you. You are the only one who can be you. God can use us both. For today I am content being me and realizing that while life isn’t perfect right now, someday when I am with my heavenly Father, it will be!
Have you learned to be content with who God made you to be? Have you learned to let God use you through both your strengths and your weaknesses? Or are you still wishing that you had someone else’s life? I don’t know anyone who has a perfect life. But there is peace that comes from embracing who you are (imperfections and all) and giving that to God to use.
*originally posted on September 6, 2011 by Linda Wallace cwrn.org website (no longer published).