Nowadays, it’s popular to tell kids how special they are. We are told that we should focus on what makes them unique, to play to their strengths, and to not worry about the areas where they may lack talent or ability. Kids are supposed to be self-assured, to be confident, and to believe that they can do anything.
Even though it doesn’t take kids very long to realize that’s not true.
They can’t do anything. After all, as I once said, despite any desire I may have, I was never going to be a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys. Some things are inherent to who we are, and no amount of willpower or fortitude will change this. So young people are forced to reconcile what they’ve been told with what they can clearly see as reality. And more often than not, this leads them to compare.
“I may not be as fast as Bobby, but I’m faster than Joe”
“I’m the second prettiest girl in the class – we voted on it.”
“I may not be smart, but at least I’m smarter than George.”
And so on and so on, until they’ve made their lists, assigned their categories, and everyone fits in a nice little box.
And then those children grow up. They take those same lists, and those same categories, and begin checking off boxes.
“Kyle got his first sports car on the day he turned 18; I want one too.”
“Susie was married by 21, so I should be too.”
“John bought his first house; that means I should be buying one too.”
And on and on it goes.
However, in reality, just like God didn’t apportion everyone the same set of skills and talents, God didn’t write everyone’s life story the same way. What He has planned for one person at a certain stage in life, may not be what He has planned for another. God wants to use you for the purposes He has planned for you, not what He has planned for someone else.
And if we stop to think about it, we should be grateful that’s the case. Because it means God has fashioned and designed our lives in such a way that through it, He gets the most glory. He’s gifted us and placed us in circumstances so that He can use our lives for His Kingdom’s sake. He’s fashioned our story so that it can become part of His story.
And for the Christian, there’s nothing that can compare to that.