I’ve been thinking about routes. One of the most helpful tools I have is a GPS. Helpful, because if there’s a way to get lost, I’ll find it. So I’m dependent on that quiet but firm voice that says, “In fifty yards, turn right.”
When I program my GPS for a long trip, it often gives me options. I can avoid toll roads, but the trip may take longer. I can choose the shortest route, but it may cost more. I can travel by freeway or select a scenic route. Different routes, same destination.
Our lives also take different routes. You may be single or married, have a large family or no children at all. You may be talented musically or tone deaf. Perhaps you’re a multi-published author. Maybe you’re not published at all.
So what happens when you struggle for a favorable response to your first manuscript, while a fellow writers’ group member announces a contract for his eighth book? What do you do when your son is struggling with addiction problems and your co-worker’s daughter just received a full scholarship to an Ivy League school? How do you respond when your husband is laid off and your brother-in-law is promoted to vice president?We can compare ourselves to others and bemoan the unfairness of it all. Or we can realize that our Sovereign God is leading us, step-by-step, along our own path. We can complain about what we do not have or we can be good stewards of the gifts and resources God has given us.
Still, it can be difficult to focus on our lives as we watch others achieve successes we wish were our own. But it’s dangerous to compare ourselves to others and question why their journey is not our journey. Even the apostle Peter learned this lesson when he looked at John and asked Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” (John 21:21 NIV). Jesus answered, If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me” (John 21:22).
Follow Jesus. Follow Him in your writing. Follow Him in your marriage. Follow Him as you lead your family. Follow Him in your relationships. Be a good steward of the gifts He has given you, follow Him, and leave the results to Him, regardless of what He is doing with the next writer…or any other person. When you do, He will get all the glory. And ultimately, isn’t that the destination we all want to reach with our writing?
How do you handle the urge to compare yourself with others?
Ava Pennington is a writer, Bible teacher, and speaker. Her newest book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is endorsed by Precepts founder Kay Arthur. Additionally, Ava is co-author of Faith Basics for Kids. The first two books in the series are Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today? She has also written numerous articles for magazines such as Clubhouse, Today’s Christian Woman, Power for Living, and Called.
In addition to her writing, Ava also teaches a weekly, Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class. She is a passionate speaker and teacher, and delights in challenging audiences with the truth of God’s word in relevant, enjoyable presentations. For more information, visit her at www.AvaWrites.com.