by Leslie Galema
The other day I forced myself downstairs to our basement to get on our treadmill. As I was running walking, I decided that the hardest part of working out is not seeing immediate results.
It takes repetition and time.
Just as a rule of thumb, I like seeing results—immediately. I am impatient and—okay, fine—a little lazy too.
Sometimes when I’m driving, fast food splayed across the passenger seat, I’ll see an Athleta-outfitted fitness enthusiast jog by me and wonder, Do they know that, either way, sweat or not, they will die and will not live forever? And then, my very next thought is: Why can’t I be like them? Or Why is it so natural for them and not for me?
Comparison brings out a wide range of feelings in us like jealousy, anger, self-loathing, and defeat. When we compare ourselves to others, we always lose.
The truth is, God has called us all to our very own race in our very own lane— Hebrews 12.
Yes, it takes effort to see results, but our results will always look differently than everyone else. Why? Because we are all created differently!
We compare in our churches too. We see all the amazing things that other churches are pulling off, and we may feel defeated because we are just trying to get enough money in our budget to buy goldfish crackers and crayons to last us until spring!
We may see their high tech check-in systems, amazing environments, incredible talent, and what seems like endless amounts of volunteers with matching colorful T-shirts and wonder how we’ll ever be like the church down the street.
Stop it. Stop it right now.
Do not let your temptation to compare steal your joy and cloud the clarity of God’s call on your life.
Yes, large churches can pull off some incredible stuff! Yes, we can all learn from and be inspired by their leadership and example, but don’t forget who you are and where God has called you!
We need to remember who opened the door to the church we find ourselves in today. God. Who did God ask to lead the ministry you lead? You!
We can’t run a race by keeping our eyes on another church’s our neighbor’s lane! We have our own lane to worry about!
In Hebrews, Paul writes: “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Hebrews 12:2-3, The Message).
Let’s cheer each other on—we are in this together. We are all called to uniquely share the love of Jesus to the people and places God has creatively called us. Let’s keep the end in mind and do the work, making the effort to stay focused on our own lane. Yeah!
Leslie has spent the last 10 years Thinking Orange and has nearly 15 years experience in ministry to the next generation. Leslie lives in Indianapolis with her husband Adam and three kids, Cassity (age 11) Jared (age 8) and Ryleigh (age 5) You can read more of Leslie’s thoughts by visiting her blog: www.lesliegalema.blogspot.com