A few weeks ago me and some of the church staff flew out to Phoenix and attended a church planters conference. The whole experience of going to a conference and filling my head with tons of information has always been a love/hate thing. I love flying and getting out of the office for a little while. I love going to different places and seeing new things and I love to hear great speakers and glean from their knowledge. In addition, I usually get to eat well and enjoy the company of my coworkers in a more relaxed casual environment.
I usually learn a lot from the flood of information I’m given but quite honestly that's often where the good feelings run out. I also spend about half of the time comparing myself and the work that I do with others and way too often that comparison makes me question just about everything I’m doing or sometimes even if I’m called to do what I do. I think that’s from the fact that most of the time conferences find the experts in their field to speak or teach breakouts and as a result I sink in a ocean of insecurity trying to compare myself with them.
They will give you great ideas of things they are doing and you’ll sit there and feel like a complete failure because your ideas and things you do pale in comparison. The worst thing I do to myself is to say these words: “ why didn’t I think of that?”. Sometimes, I even say things like “I’ll never be that smart or clever or creative…I stink!”. From there the defensive mode kicks in and plays to those emotions and says “well, you don’t have their budget!” or “they have all kinds of staff or volunteers that you don’t!”
This comparison trap is perhaps the dumbest thing I do. It’s unbelievably unproductive and certainly doesn't honor God. In fact, because I know I have this tendency, I actually have to self talk and pray regularly at conferences or any other place where the comparison trap can occur and remind myself that I’m not who I’m not and that my identity really is in Christ. I also have to pray that any information or ideas that are given to me at the conference not be wasted if indeed it will help me become a better disciple of Christ and leader of a ministry.
For those who actually read this blog today, can I encourage you to avoid the comparison trap and remember that God has you where you are, doing what you are doing because he needs you to do just that right now? If God’s calling you to do or be more, then for heavens sake follow his command and be and do more but if you are trying to be what your are not, then stop and be what and who you are. Don’t allow Satan rob your joy by making you feel inadequate especially since God feels exactly the opposite and wants you to know you are priceless and so unbelievably necessary.
My next conference isn't for a few months but I’ll have to gear up to not show up to it with the comparison trap ready for me to fall into. Maybe I’ll read my own words or maybe I’ll read the words of Paul who said in Galatians 1:10 -For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Amen to that!