We’ve all seen the posts. Someone did THIS and – BAM! – their marriage/body/baby/life was transformed! They did THIS and suddenly their two-day-old baby slept through the night. They implemented THIS and their marriage was immediately better than it ever had been. They started THIS and the next day lost four-thousand pounds and still got to eat whatever they wanted!
That is not real life. That is, what the modern-age lovingly (or maybe not so lovingly) refers to as click-bait. A catchy, gimmicky title that will bait you into clicking on the post and learning something not-quite-as-meaningful as you were lead to believe.
Not all posts are like that, though. Some articles are actually well-meaning. They actually believe if you do THIS or THAT then your life will be exactly like theirs. If you do this exact ritual with your baby, they will not have colic and they will sleep through the night. How do they know? Because it worked for them! And if it worked for them, it must be true 100% of the time. But again, that is not real life.
All of us are different. Each of us have different experiences and life situations. We all have different pasts that have lead us to different presents. We have different genetic makeups, body types, socio-economic levels, and opportunities. We have different talents, personality types, and preconceived notions. We are all unique. Some of us may be similar, but ultimately, we are all unique individuals and there is no one-size-fits-all THIS that you can do with your marriage or baby or body or job that will make it exactly like everyone else’s. Because none of us will ever be exactly alike. At least, not in these trivial matters. And yes, whether or not your baby sleeps through the night/eats formula/etc. is trivial.
So don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t get down about your life because someone else seems to have it all together. Don’t feel unworthy or like a failure because you don’t do things the way other people do. The only thing you are required to do like everyone else is obey God’s will – which is the same for everyone (John 6:47, Luke 13:3, Matt. 10:32, Mark 16:16, John 12:46, 1 John 1:7). But in matters of opinion – in trivial matters – don’t stress over what everyone else is doing. Don’t take to Facebook to cause contention and division. Don’t backbite or tear down out of jealousy or insecurity. In everything, give thanks. In everything, glorify God. In everything, show love.
You and I will do things differently. We will parent differently. Our marriages will look differently. Our work schedules and cleaning schedules won’t be the same; our houses will be different sizes and not everything we do will be Instagram-worthy or ripped from Pinterest. But so long as we are doing all to the glory of God, does it matter? Should we get bent out of shape about it? Should we let it define our worth? Should we let it cause division in the church? Jealousy? Gossip? Depression? No. We should thank God for our differences. Rejoice when our brothers and sisters succeed, and weep when they fail. Find joy in their talents instead of jealousy. We will do that when we stop comparing ourselves to others and start comparing ourselves only to Christ.
While we are different in nearly every way, we are similar in one thing: we are all in dire need of God’s grace. We have all sinned (Romans 3:23) and we each deserve death (Romans 6:23). And so, instead of comparing your lot in life to that of someone else, compare your lot in life to the lot that Jesus had in having to come to earth and die for your sins. When THAT is our focus, all of the rest will fall behind into its rightful, trivial place.