3am. After rolling around restlessly and pleading for sleep to return for 2.5 hours, I caved and crawled out of bed. I reheated yesterdays coffee, now ever-so-slightly stale from sitting on the kitchen counter for 16 hours and sat at my kitchen table with my journal and devotional books in front of me. Okay God, you wanna talk – I can’t sleep, I can’t even rest, so here I am to listen. Let’s chat.
The very first thing I read?
“God has gifted you with talents. He has done the same for your neighbor. If you concern yourself with your neighbors talents, you will neglect yours. But if you concern yourself with yours, you could inspire both.”
It’s not that I’m any less inspired than I used to be. I’m no less passionate, no less motivated, and I haven’t lost any interest or desire in pursuing my “dreams.” It’s just that maybe my dreams have changed?
Changed is the wrong word. My dreams have expanded – they have grown bigger and wilder than I ever realized that they could. It’s totally a God thing, ya’ll.
It feels weird, foreign, and even wrong to share my new dreams and goals with people. When I tell people of my plans or what I feel has been placed on my heart I often get a shocked looked and, “Wait, really? Seriously?” and conversation that follows is basically a bunch of jumbled up words I try to awkwardly string together in order to justify myself and my own pursuits.
One thing that these incremental “deviations from course” have taught me is that comparison truly is the thief of joy. I’m finally learning that I can be okay if I’m just okay. I don’t NEED to be the absolute best at everything I do. I don’t have to constantly say yes, yes, yes. I don’t need to be the best student, the best musician, the best whatever-it-is-I-try-to-do-er. I just need to be MY best.
Maybe it’s a confidence thing? You see, when your identity is rooted in Christ, you no longer feel threatened by other people’s successes. You are finally able to stand along side them, cheer them on, and not completely hate yourself while doing it. Sure, sometimes jealousy creeps in, but you are able to identify it, call it out for what it is, and then walk away from it. I feel so much more at home with who I am and what I’m doing with my life – I am honestly o proud, not of my achievements or the things I’ve done – but I’m proud of the life I’ve built for myself. It doesn’t look the way I thought it would look 6 years ago – it doesn’t look like I envisioned it would look even 2 years ago. But here’s the caveat: it looks WORLDS BETTER than I ever imagined it would or could look.
I truly believe, with all my heart, that God has big plans for me. I believe that He intends to use me to further His glory and His Kingdom. I believe that He will show me the way to go and He will always be willing to lead me if I am perceptive and open to His callings for my life. I believe that God gave me talents and that there are things He wants me to do that only I can do. And I believe that all of these things are also true for everyone else surrounding me. I have so much confidence, not in myself, but in my God and what He is doing in and through my life that I don’t have to worry about what the person beside me is doing. I am able to free up room in my heart and my mind in order to cheer them on, to encourage them, to love them, and to be light in their life when I am able to realize that – just like God plans to use me – He plans to use them for purposes jut as important and just as great.
We can ALL get so much farther and do so much more good in this world when we work together. If you’re going to look to your left or to your right and concern yourself with your neighbors talents and achievements – let it be so that you can speak words of encouragement to them and build them up in their endeavors, let it be so you can ask how you can help them reach God’s goals for their lives or how you can pray for them.
But mostly, have confidence that God is and will use you for a purpose He has designed specifically for you. Focus on your talents and gifts, listening for His guidance, following His footsteps, and surrendering to His will. It’s not a one-time-and-your-done-type of thing. It takes repeated commitment day after day after day – sometimes hour by hour!
When you have confidence in God – in who He is and who He created you to be, you don’t need to be concerned with your neighbors talents. You can be confident that who you are is enough, what you have to offer will suffice, and as long as you give life your best shot – you can’t miss the net. Ever.
“There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming. Don’t lose yourself at happy hour, but don’t lose yourself on the corporate ladder, either.”
“Life sneaks up on us every once in a while and gives us something we didn’t ever know we wanted, and lights within us a love we didn’t even know existed.”
― Shauna Niequist
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”