“Keep your eyes on your own paper!” Every teacher knows the importance of these final instructions and every student understands the consequences of failing to heed them. Occasionally, a teacher might provide the following philosophical addendum: “If you do look at someone else’s answers you are only cheating yourself.”
To be honest, the fear of getting caught always carried more weight with me than the thought I might cheat myself. But as I have aged, I have come to appreciate the wisdom of the latter.
When we compare our trials with others, we run the risk of damaging our relationship with God and inhibiting our personal growth. Yet we do it. We can’t help but wonder why others have fewer trials, lesser trials, and shorter trials.
Comparisons frequently overlook the unique story God is telling in our lives. In other words, our test sheets are one-of-a-kind. While we seek the same truth, we pursue its application in a variety of ways. For example, not everyone who has overcome a struggle is wired to counsel others through the same. Some are better in support roles, and others prefer to encourage through kind acts. The healing process differs, depending on the severity of the wounds and the experience of the individual. Therefore, it makes no sense to be anxious over our perceptions that we are somehow failing in comparison to others going through similar trials. God’s grace and comfort are available to all, but His calling is different for each.
How prone are you to look over the shoulder of others going through a trial? Do you ever feel inadequate in light of how others are working through their circumstances?
God, help me remember I am unique in Your eyes. In Jesus’ name, Amen.