Dare I say that some of the most successful people in the world’s history have been those who were not afraid to be “different” from everyone else? They embraced the gifts and talents they were given by God (whether or not they recognized He was the one who imparted them), stared at the world head-on, and said, “Here I am, and this is what I was born to do!” People that come to mind are, Einstein, Oscar Wilde, Galileo, Martin Luther King, Jr., Leonardo da Vinci, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Aristotle, Michelangelo – to name a few. These people were not afraid of what others thought of them in their quest for greatness; they were not afraid to step out of the box of human thought and action and do something different for the sake of following their own hearts. I am not suggesting that we liken ourselves to these people (some of whom do not have the godliest character). What I’m suggesting is that we realize that each of us was made to be different for a reason, and those who embrace their differences are often the ones who can be used to make a difference in other peoples’ lives.
Many times, we feel that we need to fit some kind of mold to be liked and accepted by others. We feel that if we could just look like someone else, have the things that they have, or act the way they do, we will suddenly have it all together and feel happy. However, comparison is the killer of contentment. When we compare ourselves with others, we are selling ourselves short on what God has created us to be, and what He has planned for our lives. When we are always looking at those around us, we are not looking up to God and asking for His guidance. He has created each of us in a unique way – he knit us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). He knew what we would be before we were even born. “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD.” (Isaiah 55:8). He has a greater purpose for our lives than we could ever imagine, and he is directing our steps daily if we follow Him in all we do. “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9) When we make the mistake of comparing our lives to that of others, we are diminishing what God has planned for us. We are saying, “God, you made a mistake when you created me to be different. You were supposed to create me to be an exact replica of ______ (fill in the blank).” Or, we are saying, “Lord, I could have done a better job of creating me than you did. I want to have this, that, and the other – and then I’ll be happy with who you made me to be.” We are certainly stepping on His toes when we think these thoughts.
Another important note is that we often see only the best side of others. We see their happy posts on Facebook, their pictures of their family trips and summer cruises, their boats and their smiling kids. We don’t see the pain they endure on a daily basis, the heartache of loss they may have suffered, the sadness that overwhelms them when they think of the struggles they’ve had. We don’t see the long hours they work away from their families, the marriages that are less-than-perfect, the kids when they aren’t behaving. We all have difficulties in this life. However, our Lord says, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Don’t look around thinking to yourself, “Everyone else has it great, and my life stinks.” Realize that no one’s life is perfect and we all have our trouble in this world. But we can rest in the fact that Jesus has overcome it all for us.
Each of our journeys is meant to be different. How has God made you different from others? What is it about your personality, your life, your circumstances, or your gifts and talents that could bring glory to God? Ponder this for a moment. What can you do to use your current life and situation to help others understand the love of God? This very question is what inspired me to write a blog about my life. My prayer is that it will somehow help others, and ultimately bring glory to God.