Truth be told, often times than not I have found myself glancing over my shoulders, to the right and to the left of me to try and see what my peers are up to, and to see how far behind or in front I am. Naturally I am a competitive person, when I play, I play to win and I enjoy the feeling of winning. This is all good when it is a friendly round of tennis or a friendly game of cards or 30 seconds, but it turns into a completely different picture when it comes to real life issues.
I cannot help but glance over my shoulder to see what exactly my peers are up to and to measure myself against them. This was all good when I was in high school and then college, because I felt I was ahead. Well on track with my career and goal plans and I felt I had everything under control. When my mid twenties then hit, and people start to branch off that’s when I started to feel like my feathers were now a little ruffled. Every other close friend of mine was now in a serious committed relationship with a significant other, and soon after college the three close friends I stayed with all got married within months of each other, and here I was in the corner without even a significant other to mention.
The next disaster that struck was that all my close married friends then decided to further their studies by pursuing masters degrees in their relative fields, and whilst this was also a desire of mine it seemed every door I was knocking on was being shut right in my face. So, truth be told, I felt very behind and like a total loser because I was just floating on autopilot as I liked to call it. Nothing that seemed significant at all was happening in my life. I had no exciting news to share, it truly was the same old same old story. To add salt to the injury, I met an ex fling at a friend’s house, and in the 3 years that we had last seen each other, he had acquired his masters degree, moved to the UK and then back, gotten married and was expecting a child. When he turned around to ask me what was new with me, I felt mortified and managed to smile and choke out a nothing, because it truly felt like nothing was new with me!
Truthfully speaking, that was not entirely true. I had been studying, just not the conventional type of studying. I had been doing a few relevant courses here and there that were adding to my CV, I was involved in teaching and in organizational admin work which was important to the department I was working for, but when I was holding it up to light in comparison with the achievements of my friends and peers, it really did seem like nothing at all was happening in my life. The more I compared my life, my goals, my achievements to those of others; the more I looked or felt like I was coming up rather short.
So of cause, because I am me, and more often than not I tend to get in God’s way of running my life and decide to take over when I feel like he has lost control or interest or whatever, I then resolved in my heart to also have a story, by hook or crook I shall have a new story to tell! So, I went about it: dating the wrong sort of fella for me, for I figured at least I could say I have someone and knocking on whichever career door I could find thinking surely one of them shall open up for me. When all these efforts crashed and burnt, I was left feeling defeated and devastated, with a minor depression looming to add to all my other problems.
Whenever I look back at my life, I truly see the amazing power and grace of God and of his Word. Is there anyone in scripture who ever felt the way I did? Feeling like he has been dealt a very bad hand in life and others just seem to have it easy? The answer is a vehement yes! Peter! Simon-Peter in the gospel of John is told by Jesus that he is to die a painful death. Jesus said this as a statement really, like an oh by the way my guy, you shall die a painful death. John the disciple whom Jesus loved was nearby, and because Peter knew and understood that misery needs company, he asks Jesus: “Well lord, what about him?” pointing to John. Jesus reply was both curt and authoritative. He simply said to Peter “If I want him to live till I return and never taste death what is that to you? You just follow me!” I’m like tjooo!!!! Come on man, what kind of a pep talk is that? Whatever happened to a ‘no, relax man, other disciples shall suffer too with you, but it shall be OK..’ tjo!
You see, Jesus knows full well that comparing oneself to other people only brings about two things, either depression or pride, and he really was saying to Peter you do not need either of these! How true his words still ring today! We all have very different paths to take in life, different journeys altogether marked out specifically for us and guaranteed to bring us victory in the end because the entire Bible assures us of this; that God marked out the race we are to run before we were even born, and he ensured that we would be victorious, and then he allowed us to be born. This is such a mind blowing and liberating truth to know and live in!
Listen, I do not need to live my life using my peer as a standard, because my race is a completely different one to the one they have marked out for them. The only being I am to ask how well I am doing, how far behind I am, or if I am on the correct lane is Jesus himself because he knows the exact race and plans he has for me, and these are plans to bring me to a good end, an expected end! When this truth really hit home and sunk in it was extremely liberating for me! I did not have to feel like I am a loser, a reject who is not doing much with her life. Instead I began to discover God’s plans for me and walk in them, and in as much as my story may not seem like much to other people, I now know for a fact that I’m walking out the race set before me by the King of kings and it is good; it is pleasant and it has a good expected outcome of nothing short of victory!