Each person should judge his own actions and not compare himself with others. Then he can be proud for what he himself has done. Each person must be responsible for himself. – Galatians 6:4-5 (NCV)
I spent this past week with a group of amazing and inspirational adults who are serving in ministry in a wide variety of ways. Their calls into ministry were as varied as the people themselves. Each was fascinating. Beyond that, everyone seemed to be at interesting places in their lives with a clear understanding of how they’re called to serve. There were backgrounds in mission work and travels around the world; military background and service to veterans; a mom whose son is currently serving in Afghanistan; involvements with children, youth, families and older adults; serving alongside a husband who is pastor; and serving the needs of minority church. Not to mention our instructor who has led a very interesting life that includes many distinguished honors.
Then there was me. My life consists of my husband, two sons (ages 12 & 17), a dog, a cat and a hamster. I’ve had many interests and involvements in the church, but am unsure yet how I will serve in ministry. What is God calling me to do?
As I thought about the people I met this week, I began to feel inadequate in comparison to them. This is a common problem for me, so before I got stuck in a deep pit of self-doubt, I went straight to God with my thoughts. I thanked him for these people, naming each one and asking for His blessings upon them. Then I said, “God, they’re all doing such remarkable things, and it’s great, but I don’t think I can do those things.”
In a kind, understanding, and matter-of-fact way, God responsed: “You’re right. You can’t do those things. That’s why I’m not asking you to.”
In other words, God was telling me He doesn’t expect me to do all those things. Those are the lives and experiences He called them to lead, not me. He will have other work for me to do.
It’s great to be inspired by the accomplishments and contributions of others, whether in ministry, professional, or personal settings, but we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others in such a way that causes us to have self-doubt. We can be confident in who God created each of us to be and trust in the plans and purposes He has for each of our lives.
While others are serving around the world, helping veterans, leading the youth, or helping minorities in need, God can use me as a wife, mother, friend, with others I meet throughout the course of my day, and in service to my church. We should never doubt ourselves or our abilities to be useful in serving Christ.
Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. – Philippians 1:6