This journal series was co-written with Pastor Corey Gibson. See what he says about #TCGWKY in Round 1, Fight! of the series.
In just the last few years, I’ve been in three distinctly different seasons of life and ministry. I’ve been in the role of leading a ministry that was “small”, I’ve been in the wilderness of transition, and I’ve been in the driver’s seat of a nationally recognized movement. The idea that the spirit of comparison is exclusive, or even stronger, in any season is just as rich of a lie as that destructive sirens’ promise that better grass exists. When I worked with a small ministry, I wanted to be in a bigger one. When I was in transition, I just wanted to be wanted, the way I felt everyone else who had a platform was… wanted. And when I had somehow “arrived” into my dream position, piloting a ministry that had influenced me for years, I was still just as empty and green as I had ever been. Shades of inadequacy and hues of envy colored the way I viewed everything.
I have watched friends fall at my left side and brothers abandon calling at my right hand. And in my most vulnerable moments, I can tell you that the same spirit has not just come nigh my dwelling, she has kissed my ear on my own couch as I gaze into an iPhone wondering when I will ever “matter”. She has taken my place in bed, next to my wife, while I pace through hallways and try to develop ideas like adding rungs onto a proverbial ladder. I’ve read enough books, listened to enough podcasts, and heck even preached enough sermons about not comparing peoples highlight reels to your life. It’s easy to say “Amen” to, but seemingly impossible to escape.
I chased success like some mythical white beast, that was always just far enough from my hands that I would never really reach it. I found myself constantly pursuing something other than the pursuer, and you simply can’t live like that. All in all, I found myself subscribed to the idea that working harder was the answer. There’s nothing wrong with hard work, but my every movement became about proving
something to someone. I didn’t care much who it was, but I had an intrinsic need for validation that was achingly insufficient – all because my life didn’t look like the Instagram feeds that I had idolized. All because twitter followers somehow eluded me but migrated to everyone else. Because I couldn’t for the life of me gain a blue check on Facebook. Because I only got to speak at four camps per summer, and not ten.
There’s a reason it feels like you are always chasing… running and gasping for each breath, holding your ribs in exhaustion. Because comparison NEVER wants to you to know satisfaction. No matter how big the ministry, how influential your social clout, how perfect your airbrushed photos are, there will always be another dying star that vies for your attention. And if we do not make a conscious choice to abdicate comparison’s power of our life we will make our spiritual dwelling in the slums of rejection.
Why? Because comparison and rejection are winning dance partners, and our western-progressive-Christian minds are the ballroom. A month ago, I found myself back in this place of transition. This time not just in employment, but in calling, in residence, in economic status, what felt like every aspect of life. At the pinnacle of this change, I laid in bed one night for hours listening to the same song on repeat. “I’d rather see your stars explode” by a band called Slaves. (If you’re some hyper-purist, don’t listen, they aren’t even remotely a Christian band). But I lay there incessantly hitting “play again” all for a three-line bridge towards the end of the song where the singer says, “I’m gonna show what I’ve got left. You haven’t even seen my best. Just wait.” Somehow without me even noticing, years’ worth of rejection began surfacing and I found myself weeping, gritting my teeth and bitterly declaring those three lines of lyrics over and over again
All of that to say this, the comparison had made me believe that I would never live without being in someone else’s shadow. A predecessor, a successor, an illegitimate idol who fits into skinny jeans better than I ever have hopes for, the list goes on…
That night I made a decision that the world would see my best. No matter what it took. I persuaded my own heart to trust that I still had something left inside to offer. The only way we kill comparison is regaining security in our God-given identity. Mine is different than yours. And it’s different than my wife’s. It’s different than the pastor with 12,000 followers and it’s different than the guy’s who preaches in a living room for 12 people. We must come to a place where we unashamedly embrace our differences, where we celebrate the favor of God on our friends and on our rivals, where we cancel our premium subscription to Satan’s lies and rejoice in who we are as children of God. I’m more and more convinced daily that genuine revival and comparison cannot cohabitate. The reason is, revival and comparison are at war for who gets the glory. If we authentically desire a move of God, comparison must die.Revival and comparison are at war for who gets the glory. If we authentically desire a move of God, comparison must die. Click To Tweet
Johnathan is a national speaker and church consultant with a passion for training leaders to “make things better. always.” With 13 years experience in ministry, Johnathan now travels spreading fires and coaching pastors, leaders, and volunteers to understand that revival is a choice. He is a husband to Andrea, Dad to Israel, and Unashamed Skylanders collector. Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Website