Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Dragon of Comparison

It was only her third time leading worship, and I thought she had done a fine job. So when it was time for me to offer feedback, I tried to encourage her. I wanted her to know how blessed I was by her efforts. I wanted her to know that she had led well. Above all, I wanted her to feel God's pleasure in her service.

But as I spoke, tears welled up in her eyes. Sadness overtook her, and I let her feel its weight before I sought her gaze with questioning eyes. Finally she spoke.

"I just don't understand why God would ask me to lead worship when there are so many others who are more qualified."

The monster of comparison had reared his ugly head. I wanted to be the wise mentor that she needed, but the truth is, I haven't fully slain that dragon. I don't give him free reign in my life, but he keeps a steady growl going in the corner of my head, spewing flames that often reach their target.

"You'll never write as beautifully as Ann Voskamp, so why do you bother blogging? Besides, she has super spiritual music and great photography on her blog. You just have soundless pictures of your cat. Give. It. Up!"

"You'll never teach as powerfully as Beth Moore, so why do you bother teaching? Besides, she has an incredible wardrobe and  nifty sets. You just have last-year's Capri pants and a candle. Give. It. Up!"

"You'll never knit like Margaret...."

"You'll never evangelize like Becca..."

"You'll never run like Nicole..."

"You'll never cook like Holli..."

"You'll'll'll never..., Give up! Give up! Give up!"

Unrelenting flames from that old dragon who would just love for me to think that what I have to give is not good enough.

Good enough for whom?

That, my friends, is the question. Because I am deceiving myself if I claim that my gifts are not good enough for God. He is, after all, the one who gave me the gifts that I have. He chose to gift me just so much--more than some and less than others. But he certainly isn't expecting me to produce something beyond the capacity of the gifts which I have been given. That would be silly.

No, God is quite pleased with what I have to offer when its offered by his strength and for his glory. I am the one who is disappointed. I want better gifts. I want to be better than I am. I want to be better than others. Not for his glory. For mine. And that is what feeds the dragon.

After Jesus rose from the dead, he had a picnic with his disciples. In a quiet conversation, Jesus tells Peter a bit about his future. Peter is given a pretty awesome responsibility, but he also hears that he will die a painful death. When he hears of his future demise, the comparison monster shows up on the scene:
Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them... So Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?” 
What about him? What about her? Why can't I be like them? Jesus knows how to slay the dragon! The power is found in his response:
Jesus said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!”
In other words, we are not to concern ourselves with God's plan for others...what is that to you? Peter's problem started the moment he turned around--taking his eyes off of Jesus and putting them on his friend. The solution Jesus offers is simple--quit looking at others and follow me.

When my eyes are fixed on Jesus I can't compare myself to others. When my eyes are fixed on Jesus I can only marvel at his goodness and grace. When my eyes are fixed on Jesus my greatest desire is to get lost in the praise of his glorious name. When my eyes are fixed on Jesus, I offer all that I have and all that I am without any concern for how it compares to gifts that are being offered on my right and on my left; I only delight that he is receiving ALL the gifts! I marvel that he gave me a gift in the first place--just so that I could have the joy of throwing it at his feet.

And with that, the dragon dies.


  1. This was one of God's loving arrows aimed directly at my heart. I rejoice as I weep. Thank you for being faithful to share.

    1. Rejoicing and weeping--two things I love! Praise God for his faithfulness to us.

  2. Praise the Lord! For you and others (myself included).....slaying the dragon!