If you’re like me, I would need several hands of fingers to count how many times I compare myself to others…and that’s just in one day! God is continuing to remind me of the dangers of the “am-nots.” They can lead us to “I can’t” so “I don’t.” They can paralyze us where we are and cause us to miss “I AM!”
During the last few weeks I have been subbing for an elementary art teacher for her 6-week maternity leave. I was tempted to say I “am not” an artist and can’t be a substitute for an art teacher, but God had other plans…better plans!
In introducing myself to each class I have prefaced what I’ve said with “I am not an art teacher nor an artist.” I have gone on to remind them though that although we are not all artists, we can all be creative in some way.
The same goes for each of us as believers when we look at others and think I “am not.”
When we are focused on our “am-nots,” we miss the Great “I AM.”
God has used this to further impress upon my heart that when we are focused on our “am-nots,” we can miss the Great “I AM.”
God said to Moses, “I Am who I Am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I Am has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:14
Comparing ourselves to others is like comparing bees to butterflies. They are each beautiful and unique in their own way…not one better than the other.
Stop for a minute and think about this – do you see one as better than the other? You may be like me and at first thought decide bees produce honey while butterflies just look pretty. Yes, we may be able to see a ‘product’ produced by these busy bees, but let’s look a bit closer.
Busy bees buzz close by their hives remaining within about a two mile radius. Butterflies, specifically the Monarch, migrate traveling over 3,000 miles. One’s work may show up in a product while the other covers more distance, but both have a similar purpose in pollinating plants. They both affect the world around them.
Bees are builders. They may stay closer to home, but are concentrating in specific areas such as that person who invests in the lives of two or three people or a single family, but go deep and consistent. They are making a difference. They pollinate and effect the world where God has placed them.
And although butterflies seem to just flit and fly carefree from place to place, they are connectors reaching far and wide like those who may think they are only touching the surface, but they know the names and have connected with a whole congregation or group of people making each feel welcomed and included. They are making a difference. They pollinate and effect the world where God has placed them.
Many times in life as well as ministry we may fall into the trap of comparison – thinking someone else is doing more, doing better than we see ourselves doing. God has created us each unique and special. I cannot do what you can, but I can do what I can, what “I AM” has called me to do and to be. Again, we can’t let the “am-nots” keep us from focusing on “I AM.” God chooses to equip us differently, but uses us all.
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work..All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He distributes them to each one, just as He determines.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-7,11
Whether you are more like a bee building His Kingdom close to home or a butterfly connecting His Kingdom across the miles, you have been chosen to pollinate others with the message of hope found in Jesus Christ. It’s not the bee nor the butterfly which matter the most, it’s the pollen… it’s the Gospel.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24
“Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else,” Galatians 6:4
I’m still learning it’s okay not to be able to do what others can. I am not an art teacher, but God has gifted me with knowledge of books; so we are “looking at art through the eyes of books” in our art classes. I must not let the “am-nots” keep me from doing what I am able to do. I must not let them keep me in a state of doing nothing when I can do something.
When we start to look at the “am-nots,” may it remind us to look to “I Am” and see who we can be in His hands. So the next time the enemy tries to show you what you’re not, just keep pointing others to “I AM”!