The Trap

by Rhonda, August 07, 2023

 "I always feel like I am not good enough," he said.  

We were having drinks downtown with coworkers.  It was a work meeting scheduled for the simple purpose of maintaining relationships between two companies that have mutual interests.  But, the conversation had gone beyond the normal superficial business discussions as our group talked about the new trend to hire Ivy league graduates in our city.

"I grew up without money, I went to a state school."

Others at our table encouraged him that it didn't matter, especially now as a professional with more than a decade under his belt.  His work output was all that mattered.  His ethic, his heart, and his determination were the real differentiators, not a piece of paper.

Still, it was interesting to me.  This was someone with a very successful career, and he was under no threat whatsoever from new employees.  But, he was intimidated by the new grads coming in with the distinguished degrees.  He felt diminished over a piece of paper.

Doesn't comparison get us every time?

I could relate.  I don't have a fancy degree either.  I could also relate to him for another reason.  I always feel like I am not good enough. When I say always, I mean always.  I feel that way every day, and it is one of the first thoughts I have every morning.  Sure, it takes different forms, but the overall theme remains the same.

The truth is there's always going to be someone who can do it better.  Unless you're a gold medal Olympian, you probably aren't going to be the greatest.  Even gold medal Olympians have to defend the medal and eventually someone better will come along.  No one can claim the title of permanently being the greatest at, well, anything.

It may not seem like it, but comparison is basically wanting to be the greatest.  If being the greatest is impossible and there's always going to be someone better, then what's the end goal with comparison?  Nothing productive can come of it.  To quote Solomon, it is a "chasing of the wind".  It is the pursuit of the impossible, an emptiness that will never be fulfilled.

The disciples did some chasing after the wind themselves.  Jesus caught them comparing one another in Luke Chapter 22.

24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

Jesus basically said stop competing and stop comparing.  Instead, start serving and loving others.  He knew the pursuit of greatness would lead the disciples to emptiness.  If there were anything holy about pursuing the top worldly position, Jesus Himself would have pursued it.  However, He sternly warned His disciples, "you are not to be like that".  

And neither are we.

We're not meant to live a life of misery, focused on ourselves and our flaws.  That's the problem with comparison, really.  It keeps us focused on ourselves.  We must always worry about whether someone is doing better than we are.  What if someone surpasses us and our position?  We can't let that happen, so we must focus constantly on staying ahead.  We must maintain whatever kingdom we've built and defend it at all cost.  In the meantime, we wonder why we never feel like we're good enough, yet its all we think about. 

God says we're not meant to live that way.  He says to throw it all aside, and stop worrying about our kingdoms.  Instead, in His eyes, the one who is least is actually the greatest.  God does not care about looks, stature, or wealth.  He is not impressed with your latest promotion, or whether you look younger than your age. 

He's only interested in the heart.  

This is a novel concept when the world is focused on the opposite. Social media means you don't just compete with everyone around you.  You compete with everyone.  You compete with altered images, false impressions, and faked happiness.  You compete with people you don't know, people you do know, and people who don't even truly exist except in Photoshop.

What a nightmare.

In God's economy, the servant's heart is at the top of His list.  The one who selflessly gives to others is the one who catches God's attention.  It really takes the pressure off when you realize God only wants you to love others.  Everything else is so unimportant in His eyes.

I'm so glad God doesn't put all of those expectations onto us.  He loves us so much, and His will for our lives is that we run our own race, and we cheer others on while they run theirs.

What freedom.

SHARE 0 comments

Add your comment