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Who Are You?
If you compare yourself and your life with others, you will find yourself in a repeating cycle and your self-esteem will take a beating.

Everybody says
I look just like my Mother.
Everybody says
I’m in the image of Aunt Bee.
Everybody says
My nose is like my Father’s,
But I want to look like me!

I’m sure most of us can relate to this poem by Dorothy Aldis. We live in a world of comparisons. Either we have been compared to someone, or we compare ourselves to others.

… one of the main reasons we compare our lives to others is for approval.

You shouldn’t compare yourself to others, people reprimand. Without an explanation this advice is about as good as the advice to just be yourself; be more confident. The question is, Do you know who you really are? Or in comparing yourself to others are you trying to find your real identity?

If you compare yourself and your life with others, you will find yourself in a repeating cycle. You will always find someone who is doing “much better” than you, and your self-esteem will take a beating. It goes something like this:

You might buy a more impressive vehicle than your neighbor, and feel satisfied for a while.  However the following day on your way to work, you notice that the guy who is always walking his poodle on weekends, now has an even sweeter ride than you. The vicious cycle continues. You purchase a better car than his six months later, only to find out that a kid down the street invented a crazy video game, made millions, and now rides to school in a Ferrari.

That is a silly example, but one of the main reasons we compare our lives to others is for approval. Sub-consciously we desire neighbors and friends to think or say: Did you see that new car? Wow! They must be doing well! This can become an obstacle to both our personal growth and our outlook on life. 

The problem with the need for approval is that it gives others license to control how we feel. We feel badly while we’re saving for a new car and perhaps riding a bike to work. We feel great when we finally buy it. We feel bad again when someone we know is driving something “better.”

We become like puppets with others pulling our strings. They limit our movements and our life.

Psalm 139:14 says, “I will praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” This text literally means, I am astonishing! I am extraordinary!

God didn’t create us all the same. He created each one of us with our own unique design. You are an individual masterpiece! God loves and approves of you just the way you are. You don’t need to compete for approval against the guy next door.

I too have struggled with my identity. I’ve tried everything from modeling to being a Goth in an attempt to “stand out” and be “approved.” However the most life-changing moment I experienced was when I realized that the God of the universe sees me as a unique individual, and that my life absolutely matters to Him. Since then my “measuring stick” concerning myself has changed, and continues to change. I don’t need to compare myself to others any more. I know who I am, and I can be me.

This is what I’d like to leave with you today:

You are unique, fearfully and wonderfully made. Unique means rare and uncommon. No-one else on this planet is like you. No one else has your fingerprints. You're not like your mother, Aunt Bee, or your Father. You're you. You're astonishing!

Rosalie Schwarm pastors Lighthouse Church International along with her husband Carsten in Waterdown, Ontario.

Originally published in Flamborough Review, October 2009.

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