How do you find your voice when there are so many available to listen to?
How do you express something others may have already expressed, but better?
How do you do something with what you are good at without being distracted by what you're not?
How do you thrive being uniquely you in a world that rewards popular opinion?
How do you create in a comparing world?
I'm an artist, a writer, and a creative sort of gal, but truthfully, left to my own devices, I'm a self-critiquing, comparison addict. Left to my own nature, I'd be miserably unhappy in this world of pretty pictures, perfect lifestyles, and unending talent. I'd stop creating for all that I can't do, not what I can. I'd stop writing for how far someone else's words reach beyond my own. I'd simply stifle all that I've been given on account of comparison.
The common denominator to all of us who express ourselves creatively with any medium-- through words, paint, fabric, or ingredients in the kitchen-- is that we all begin by admiring another's work, by being captured by the beauty of another creation, by tasting another's ingenious pairing of simple elements.
We are all imitators. In fact, we were created to be so-- to be image bearers of the Master Artist, God alone.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
We were created to be set apart, to be imitators of a holy God, to live out love, to give ourselves sacrificially, and to serve others with the fragrance of Christ. We are to be captured by the artistry and majesty of Christ.
And, a life that is consumed with reflecting a beautiful Creator cannot also be absorbed with broadcasting self. When we consider our lives for God's glory, it's difficult to compare ourselves to others for the acquiring of our own.
You see, all comparison to others is ultimately about self and pride. It is about us wanting to build a tower to the skies and be like God. It is to be as knowledgeable as the Almighty with a bite from forbidden fruit. It is to want what others have because we cannot truly believe that God can create a more wonderful life for us than the one we are grappling to get for ourselves.
It doesn't matter how talented we are or how good we have it; there's always someone better if that's where we are fixing our eyes. (My friend, Joy, is setting her gaze on Christ daily this month...join her!)
I may never paint like others I've admired, write like those who've won acclaim, but I have the promise of being made like Christ...of being transformed day by day:
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
-1 John 3:2
When we are grateful and blessed by each other's becoming more like Christ, there's no room to compare how much we are becoming like one another.
Friends, let us fix our eyes on Jesus, and not on one another. Let's start creating with the gifts he's given us, and stop measuring ourselves against what he's given another. Let's be led by gratitude and not by comparison. Imagine what a creative world this would be if we did just that.
Because of Grace,