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Pointers along the way #106

Not in competition
- Jacob Ninan

Perhaps some of us have gone through unfortunate circumstances in our formative childhood years, in which our parents or others have told us things like, "Why can't you be like so and so?", "You good for nothing boy(girl)!", "You won't come to anything in life!" etc. As a result we feel worthless or insignificant.

Some of us try to overcome this feeling by (unconsciously) trying to prove to everyone around that we are somebody. This becomes a driving factor in our life. We become very sensitive to what other people think about us, because we have made it one of our major goals in life to impress others. We try to attract people's attention, either in conversation or other ways, to our achievements, and we feel upset when other people notice or point out our lacks.

The other tendency is to take on an attitude of denial with respect to our faults, because a recognition of our faults tends to belittle our self image. So whenever we are faced with one of our faults we get on to an act of self defence by passing the blame to someone else, justifying ourselves, or simply refusing to listen.

All this kind of reaction is totally unnecessary. OK, we can't change what we have gone through in our past life. But we can change the way we now respond to the impact of those experiences on our life.

Read Ps.139 carefully. The secret is to realise that God does not compare us with anyone else. Each of us is His special creation. He has caused us to be born to a particular set of parents at a particular time with a particular set of abilities and lacks. He knew before we were born what we would go through after we were born and how that would affect our personality, outlook on life, etc. Each of us is a unique person, and there is nobody else who is exactly like us. God has created us like this because He has a particular plan for our life which no one else can fulfill. We are not in competition with anyone else! Our success in life does not depend on how well we compare with others but on how well we fulfill God's special plan for our own life.

Do you remember that in the story of the talents, Jesus talked about giving different number of talents each to different people? (Mt.25:15-30). All were not given the same number of talents. And notice that when the master came to ask them about what they had done, he didn't compare one with another. He didn't ask the man with the two talents why he hadn't produced as much result as the one with the five talents! The Bible says that each of us has to give an account of (only) ourselves to God! (Ro.14:12).

How liberating this is! We don't have to go around trying to impress anyone. We don't have to get upset if someone else is able to do better than us. We don't even have to worry if no one seems to recognise what we have done. God knows. That is sufficient.