I can hardly tell you how often I’ve had the following thoughts lately:
“She’s married with three kids and she is only a year older than I am, what am I doing with my life?“
“She’s traveled to six different countries in the last three years, what on Earth have I been doing?“
“He’s got a great full-time job and just got engaged to one of the most amazing women I know. What am I doing with my life?“
“She just makes the most radiant bride! And she is younger than me?!“
“Look at her beautiful baby bump, she is just glowing! What am I doing with my life?“
“He’s a seasoned songwriter, making God only knows how much money, and touring and traveling, and he’s married. And he’s three years younger than me?!“
I get it. If I’m being really honest, I know those aren’t the best thoughts. God is using each of those people exactly where He needs them to be. But what about me? It is such an easy question to wonder. I can look at just about anyone and tell you that I feel infinitely less accomplished, less put together, less well-off than they are. I can come up with things I’m doing right, things I’m blessed with, and things I’m happy about. However, with each on of those things I can easily put a caveat as to why my life isn’t as awesome as it could be.
I’m using all of my degrees in a job I love…but I’m working two jobs in the same field and I’m still not full-time.
I get to travel more frequently than most…but I don’t get paid vacation like so many of my friends.
I love my living situation…but it isn’t where I thought I’d be living at this point in my life. I thought I’d own a house by now.
For weeks and weeks I’ve been telling myself to stop comparing my life with other people’s lives. The words of Steve Furtick ring so true in my head, but they don’t penetrate my heart: “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” My behind-the-scenes is messy and chaotic, but everyone else’s highlight reel is picture perfect. I see their houses, their freshly painted rooms, their cute sonogram pictures, and their sweet engagement stories and I can’t help but wonder what I’m doing with my life. Am I wasting my time? Am I really serving God? And for goodness sake, why isn’t that MY life?
Then one night, like a train on the tracks, it hit me. My mom came home from Mass and told me that she’d told a lady at church who is about my age that I’d written a book. This lady’s response? She wrote a book!? What on Earth have I been doing with my life?!
The thing is that we all do this business of comparing our lives to others. It wasn’t until someone compared her life to mine (and felt exactly how I’ve been feeling about everyone else’s lives) that it really hit me: we are exactly where God wants us to be. God called the songwriter, and the wife, and the mother just as much as He called me to write a book. Is this the life I thought I’d have? No way. But if it is where He wants me, if my great passion is meeting His calling for my life, then no comparison can ever rob me of the joy of serving, following, and loving my God.