When I was younger (in college) I went through a phase where I wanted to be a children’s author. I even started a short story one night. I honestly don’t remember what it was about. Needless to say, the phase passed and I haven’t really thought about it much since. Until today.
I was driving down the road and saw these two clouds in the sky, and from my point of view at the time they were the only two clouds in the sky. One looked like a Chinese dragon and the other, just above it, looked like a grasshopper (please don’t judge). And it was one of those strange moments where the Lord allowed those two images to represent a topic that I have been wrestling with for some time now…comparison.
These two figures seemed to be facing each other, and for a brief moment I thought about the idea of the dragon wanting to be like the grasshopper. Maybe that dragon was admiring the grasshopper’s delicate nature and the way that it could so easily create music with its legs. At the same time, the grasshopper is esteeming the dragon above himself for his bold presence, power and strength.
Two different ends of the spectrum.
And then my train of thought went to this conflict that then ensues between the two of them, because instead of choosing to admire innocently the abilities and giftings of the other, they choose to start to pick out each others’ flaws in order to compensate for the ways that they were each feeling less-than because they didn’t possess the same attributes.
It’s an ugly truth, but if we were really honest with ourselves, haven’t we been there? I know that I have. In my insecurity, I have looked for the weaknesses of others in order to try to ‘balance’ out the score card between us, if I felt as though they had more to offer than me. (Who are we offering exactly what to, that is another question to explore at another time.)
The Lord has shown me the awful ugliness of this choice. And when I try to focus on the flaws of others, I am picking apart His creation, what He has made, and my beef becomes with Him, not other people.
And it goes both ways; I can put too much weight on what I consider to be my strengths or areas the Lord has chosen to bestow a gift (not like I can take credit for it, but my pride would like to) and therefore not appreciate others’ differences with as much esteem and value as I have placed on the things I appreciate about myself.
Ugh…this is not fun stuff to admit. Really, really yucky. I am so thankful for a loving God that pursues me in this junk and loves me through it enough to change me.
But can I ask you, in the ways that I have stepped out on the ledge and exposed some of my heart, that you ask yourself if any of this rings true in you? Are you a grasshopper? Maybe an introverted soft-spoken person who secretly longs for the outward boldness and confidence displayed in someone else you know? Or are you a dragon? Maybe you don’t feel held back about sharing your perspective and words, but inwardly jealous of those that seem more confident in silence and seem to possess the wisdom you crave?
It’s tricky. Because we see things in others that we desire. Maybe it’s part of the packaging that God gave them or maybe, just maybe, what we’re desiring is what He is doing in them. Maybe you want that boldness and confidence, and see that as more of a personality type than the Holy Spirit’s presence in that person’s life? Or the wisdom you see in someone else? That’s another indicator of God’s presence and work, not because they may be an introvert or not. And in this, the very thing that we can choose to value and esteem, can be God Himself -His Work in those people – instead of an area that we allow there to be division and envy.
What if the very things that make me long to be someone else are things that the Lord desires to do in me? Maybe not… it could be that God wants to change my heart and allow me to be more content with Who He has created me to be. That very well could be the case. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all analogy, for sure. But maybe (and I’m wondering this today) if the things that I really admire in others and have allowed to drag me into jealousy and insecurity and comparison funk, are things that the Lord desires for me as well, if I would just ask Him.
They won’t look like they do in others. Again, the packaging is different.
I don’t know. I just wonder if maybe I don’t ask the Lord enough (and I hope that you can understand my heart here) to really allow myself to be so comfortable and trusting in His love for me, as His daughter, to just ask Him for what I want. And then be open for His response. Yes, No, Maybe later. Wait and see.
Because this process is about being honest with Him. He knows already what I want; good, bad, beautiful, and ugly. So why not bring it to Him and acknowledge it? Why not give Him more of an opportunity to reveal my heart to me, to show me what desires are from Him and what are not.
He promises to give good gifts. So I can trust that whatever His response, it’s for my good. If it’s a no, then it’s because I don’t need to be a dragon. If it’s a yes, then by all means, cultivate in me the overt boldness and presence that will attract others to me for His glory, or the confident silence and trust of wisdom like the grasshopper. Whatever the case may be. Because it is about Him. The other stuff (the stuff I mentioned above), if i leave it as it is, then it’s just selfish desires for selfish means: acceptance, affirmation, applause, approval. But if I bring it to Him, then we’re engaging in heart work. And it changes me, and that’s always for His glory.