A few weeks ago, my worship team and I were commissioned to sing a song at my church organizations (COGOP) biennial conference. Now if you know me, the “front” or “spotlight” is not for me. As the ambivert I am, I would prefer to blend into the background or serve in ministry behind the scenes. But God certainly has a funny sense of humour and it seems that I often find myself in a position of leadership.
When my bishop brought the idea and the song he wanted us to sing, I immediately became filled with doubt and fear. Now , I have a solid team and am always 100 percent confident that they will execute efficiently but, my first reaction and answer was an immediate no way (LOL) Needless to say, he wouldn’t take no for answer and we began to prepare.
Honestly, I sat with the assignment for a minute and was filled with uncertainty and doubt in my ability to use the gift God has given me to the best of my capability. I began to compare myself to the other amazing powerhouse singers that would be there. Thoughts like, ” I can’t sing like so and so ” and ” im not confident on the stage” began to overwhelm me. Until finally, I relented and did what I should have done immediately when those thoughts came on me; take it to God in earnest prayer. Don’t get me wrong, I had been praying continuously asking for God’s covering and asking Him to do a work through us. But, I was prompted to begin to pray for my fear, doubt, uncertainty and comparison.
Now this is why I say God has a sense of humour. He had me anxious right up to the day of the event. I mean up early, ( like 430 am early ) upset tummy, allergies flairing up, stress hives and to add insult to injury a big ol pimple on the bridge of my nose…. I never get breakouts there!!! I began to pray. Nothing out of the ordinary for my morning routine. I ended up going outside to finish my devotion. Theres such something about nature and the stillness of the morning that calms me and I felt good.
We made our way to soundcheck, where the national team was finishing up. They are a anointed , talented , spirit led collective of singers. I stood in awe of the power of the Holy Spirit that was felt in even the rehearsal . So I silently said to myself, “I can’t do this” and the Holy Spirit ever so sweetly said to me ” You can’t , but I can if you’ll let me”. In that moment a sense of peace just washed over me. Outside of the jitters of a crowd ( its been awhile since there has been an “audience” in services due to COVID-19) I felt confident that the work God had commissioned us to do would come to pass.
Now what if I had allowed myself to sit in self doubt? What if I had allowed myself to depend on my own ability, instead of the guide of the Holy Spirit? You see? That’s what comparison does. It starts out as a seed of fear.It takes root and then blossoms into a full fledged tree of doubt; spreading branches of uncertainty and bearing fruit of loss.
What do you lose by comparing? You lose the opportunity to experience the joy of just being YOU. Being exactly who God created you to be. With your own diverse, talents and abilities.
Comparison is not a new phenomenon. There are so many instances of comparison in biblical times.
Cain vs Abel: God was pleased with Abel’s offering but not Cain’s. You would have to imagine all the things that went through Cains head. Ultimately, this led to devastating outcomes where Cain commits murder.( Genesis 4) Comparison can breed jealousy.
Jacob vs Esau: Twins. We already see the dynamic of twins in todays society, they are constantly being compared to one another. Such was the case with Jacob and Esau. One was favoured by his mother and the other by his father. Over the course of their life, the constant competition leads to detrimental consequences ( Genesis 25 and Genesis 27)
Comparison has consequences.
Rachel and Leah: Sisters. Rachel was described as beautiful and Leah was known to be what we call “homely”. Now, even though Rachel was beautiful, she was unable to have kids ( for a period of time) while her sister was extremely fertile. Both sisters had things the other desired, which probably led to contention between them.
Comparison can bring about contention.
Saul and David: Saul was appointed king. But due to disobedience, a successor (David) was set forth as a replacement. Now Saul was cool when David defeated Goliath, but once he saw how David’s popularity and notoriety threatened his own, he began to resent David. He did everything in his power to hold on to his power and sabotage David.
Comparison can limit progression.
This quote has been used countless times in history and people often mix this up as a biblical verse. It was in fact first coined by President Teddy Roosevelt. As a man who dealt with a vast amount of grief in his time, he never allowed himself to compare his downfalls with others successes. I think that’s an attitude we should all take hold of. Your journey will never mirror anyone else’s… because its not supposed to.
Jonathan McReynolds wrote a song called fittingly ” Comparison Kills” and one of the lines that really stuck out to me was this one:
It comes to steal
And hide what is real
Don’t let comparison taint your reality. Let your only mirror be your Father. After all , you are a reflection of His image? What’s more perfect than that?