“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30
The other day I talked about comparisons and why we feel the need to weigh ourselves by other people. We judge ourselves according to where we fall on the scale in comparison to those who have what we want and are where we want to be. That’s a problem in and of itself.
What’s even more problematic is that when we compare ourselves to others, we open up the door for jealousy to enter in.
I’m not sure about you, but sometimes I get frustrated when I see other people with things that I feel like I should have. And it’s not necessarily the fact that they have it… it’s the fact that they have it and I don’t.
So then I begin to look upon them with eyes of scrutiny.
Why do they get to have this and I don’t?
I’ve only ever done this in regards to purpose.
I see people being successful in their calling and I feel like they are making a difference. I want to make a difference too.
Finding my purpose has always been a struggle for me. I’ve always felt like I wanted to do something meaningful with my life, but for some reason I’ve had trouble figuring out what something was.
I was mad at God for not showing me why it is that I’m here and how my life adds value to those around me and I was jealous of those who seemed to be making an impact on others and flourishing in their gifts.
I would get upset when I saw other people doing what I wanted to be doing. It’s almost as if I was a child screaming, “Hey, that’s mine… give that back!” You know, the way children whine and fuss over things they feel they are entitled to.
I knew that writing was a gift of mine or something that I knew how to do well rather, but it always seemed like other people were having more success with it than I was.
But as I began this journey of pursuing my writing, I realize why they were more successful at it than me– and the same with anyone who is successful in their calling.
WHY OTHERS ARE SUCCESSFUL IN THEIR CALLING
THEY DON’T OVERTHINK. The people who are most successful in their gifts are ones who don’t overthink. This isn’t to say that they don’t give careful consideration to what they put out, but it is to say that they are confident that they have the ability to be successful using their gifts and they go forth in it, no matter how terrible it is in the beginning. Sometimes our concern for how things will be perceived prevents us from moving forward. We never make it pass the beginning stages because we’ve talked ourselves out of it. We’ve sat and gone back and forth about it for so long that we’ve convinced ourselves that pursuing what we love is somehow not a good idea.
THEY WORK HARD. Being successful in your calling doesn’t come easy. I understand that now. I didn’t before. I understand that just because God graces you in a particular area, that does not mean that you won’t have to work hard to bring that gift to fruition. It takes a certain level of digging. It takes a certain level of grinding. It takes a certain level of rolling back your sleeves and getting your hands dirty to be successful at this. There is a certain level of molding that is required that builds our strength, endurance, and character in the process. It’s necessary for where God wants to take us.
THEY ARE PERSISTENT. I’ve given up so many times I’ve lost count. That’s the difference between those who are successful in their calling and those who aren’t. They don’t give up. They stand strong in the midst of adversity or when things try to stand in the way of them pursuing their purpose. God gave it to us, but we still have to prove ourselves. He needs to know that we aren’t just going to fall off at the first sign of opposition.
THEY HAVE A PURE HEART. Having a great career isn’t their number one priority. Gaining followers and developing opportunities aren’t high on their lists either. They do what they do out of sheer love and adoration for who God is and who He’s made them to be. Of course they set goals, but they submit their plans, their wills, and their way to the Lord with expectation that He’ll do with it what he desires. They trust Him.
THEY WAIT ON GOD’S TIMING. People who wait on God’s timing are patient. Patience is important because it’s a fruit of the Spirit. We can’t be so antsy and zealous that we move out of God’s timing. On the opposing side, we can’t get so frustrated when things are not moving as quickly as we desire and give up (that was me). Patience is required and it’s necessary for God to trust us. Thinking that we know it all or that we know more than Him about when the appropriate time is will get us into trouble. We can find ourselves in predicaments that we could’ve avoided had we trusted Him and waited on His timing. Just the same, we can miss out on our purpose and calling if we don’t have enough patience to see it through.
In practice, maybe we should ask God why we have not yet obtained the thing we’ve asked for. Maybe we should ask God why we aren’t excelling in our gifts. Not in a whiny, bratty way, thinking that we’re entitled, but out of a sincere heart.
Our focus shouldn’t be why someone else gets to have something and we don’t or why someone else is good at something and we are not. We all have the tools that we need to be successful in our calling. God has given them to us. It’s about who’s willing to tap in. It’s about who’s willing to dig deep. It’s about who’s willing to seek God first. It’s about those who have clean and pure hearts. It’s about those who are ready to advance the kingdom and not their own selfish gain.
I pray that we all find peace in our hearts concerning our purpose and that we do not let jealousy and envy take root in our lives.