Thursday, September 20, 2012

No Comparison

I had the privilege of meeting Ginger Ciminello this past summer when I attended Proverbs 31 Ministries' She Speaks Conference. As I prayed about who to ask to be guest bloggers for this Stress Point study, Ginger immediately came to mind. I know that it was the Lord's leading and I'm sure that after reading her guest post, you will see why...

In the last chapter, the last verses of the gospel of John we find an interesting story about my favorite disciple, Peter. Peter the “speak first, think later” disciple was given a unique and individual call.

“Feed my lambs. Take care of my sheep. Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17)

I don’t know how I would have responded, but Peter makes me wince...

“Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them… When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” (John 21:20-21, NIV)

Peter immediately turns and compares his calling with the one Jesus has given to John. I wince because I am prone to the exact same pattern of behavior. Rather than responding with humility and gratitude, I flippantly lament my looks, calling, and life. I pull a Peter every single day.

Peter was given the calling that he alone was created to live out. Peter could not be John. John could not be Peter. But like Peter I am so sure that if only I could have her platform, popularity, or position THEN I could find my joy. “Lord, what about her?”

Jesus responds to you and I in the same way he responds to Peter…“Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.’” (John 21:22)

When we compare our calling to anyone else, we take our eyes off the source of our joy. That’s why comparison is the thief of joy. Comparison keeps my eyes off the One who is calling my name. If we want to live and run this race with endurance we need to keep our eyes on Jesus.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith...” (Hebrews 12:1-2, NLT)

Peter listened in that moment on the Sea of Galilee. Something clicked. He spent the rest of his life with tunnel vision and the call of Jesus ringing through his ears: “You must follow me.”

Peter challenges us all in his 1st letter: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in it’s various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10, NIV)

Rather than being caught up with wishing we could be more like someone else, you and I must set our gaze and do the creative best we can with our own gifts and lives. You are unique, an original – and so am I. For us to try and be like anyone else would be wasted energy. Here’s to doing the creative best we can with our own lives… for His glory.

“Live creatively, friends… Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.”  (Galatians 6:3-5, MSG)

Ginger Ciminello may sound like an Italian dessert but she is actually a speaker and blogger by trade. She spends her time encouraging young women to live up to their God-given potential and unique design at When she’s not embarrassing herself by telling stories of her years in middle school, she can be found rollerblading, dancing in her car, and schooling her husband, David, in Scrabble. Follow along: Blog, Facebook, Twitter.

Is comparison a struggle for you? 
Can you think of one way you can take responsibility for doing your creative best for God today?


Tracy said...

Wonderful post! I am encouraged by the different verses you shared Ginger. I have always struggled with comparison-no matter what season I find myself in. I think taking responsibility requires living with "tunnel vision" as you mentioned above. I also love how the Message translation talked about "creativity." For me, taking responsibility also means to think outside of the box of my expectations for my life. God is helping me to see my current season as a brightly painted mix of challenges and blessings on the canvas of my life! Praising God for giving me a new perspective this morning...

Jennifer Roth said...

Tracy, I agree! So wonderful! I loved the different verses and various translations incorporated. I know that "I pull a Peter every single day" too! In the midst of tunnel vision over here, it's refreshing to have a truthful and encouraging reminder to be who God has called me to be and live for Him with my creative best!

Ginger Ciminello said...

Thank you both for your thoughts and encouragement! I love that reminder from Tracy about "thinking outside the box of expectations for my life." Honored to have joined in on the "Stress Point" study, Jennifer!