I’ve often found myself comparing my own sense of success to that of peers from the time that I was a child and even into my adulthood. When I was a child, it was wondering if I was pretty enough. As a young adult in college, I wondered if I was smart enough. Nine years into my profession, and in spite of all of my success and accolades, I’m still comparing and wondering if I’m good enough.
But, thank God for Jesus, who is always communicating with us by way of the Holy Spirit. He comforts us and reassures us. He reminds us of who we are when the enemy lies to us and attempts to tell us differently. He is concerned with every detail of our lives–even the secret things that lie deep within us–those things that no one but Jesus and ourselves are aware of.
Recently, as I was admiring the work and effort of a colleague, but at the same time questioning my own professional excellence, the Holy Spirit led me to ask myself the question, “What are your current goals?”
This question led me to reflect on what’s important to me, and to evaluate my progress and success based on the personal and professional goals that I had already set for myself. One major one was to establish a healthy balance between work life and home life–to put my health and family first, then work and everything else. I realized that I would not be able to demonstrate my professional excellence in the same way that my colleague does while still moving towards my own goals. It also made me realize and reflect on the fact that everyone demonstrates their excellence in different ways.
We are both excellent educators who have unique perspectives and ways of influencing and connecting with our students, colleagues, and parents. We each bring unique tools, gifts, and talents to the profession. Each of our “races” and goals are different, and they are our own.
We’re living in a society where everything is moving so fast, so much information being exchanged, where more and bigger is better–one that doesn’t value self-care, rest, and balance. We fear becoming obsolete; and instead of valuing what we have to offer this world, we unfairly compare the worst of ourselves to the best of others. This only fosters fear, shame, and insecurity. I’m convinced that it’s a subtle and effective tool of the enemy used to rob us of our Power.
How do we address it? How do we refrain from falling victim to this attack?
We FOCUS on our own “race.” We look to JESUS to define who we are and to discover our PURPOSE. We look to Him for clarity and wisdom to set long and short-term goals that are in line with him and His purpose for our lives. We make decisions that keep us on track with moving towards that purpose instead of those that move us away from it. We BELIEVE JESUS, who is the TRUTH, and not the lies of satan. We BELIEVE that we are enough, and that as long as we are aligned with Jesus we will ALWAYS be enough.
Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
Colossians 3:1-3 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”
1 Corinthians 3:8 “The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober [well-balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour.”