The day before Christmas break we sat in our classroom, and I watched as the sixth- grade girls began to open their gifts from our teacher. I looked at my package. The shape of my present looked different. I was the only fifth grade girl, and wanted to fit in with the older girls. As they began to open their presents, I saw it was cute socks that teens were wearing at that time.
At that moment, I couldn’t think of anything else that I would rather have than those socks. I didn’t want to open my gift quite yet, holding on to the hope that just maybe what I had in my package was the same thing. As I separated the paper and tape, I saw the doll. My heart sank. I wanted to fit in, by having what they had.
It’s not the first time that I wanted someone else’s gift.
I have looked at people with talents and abilities that I have wanted and felt like I didn’t measure up. Whatever gifts I have seem not cool enough, or not as good as someone else’s.
I listen to people speak in public, and wonder how in the world they do it… I would love to have that gift. Listening to people sing, play the piano, see others’ organizational skills, hospitality, leadership ability… So many gifts I would love to have, especially when I notice other people with them. Not only am I reminded that I don’t have them, but I question the very ones I have been given. I start to feel like I don’t measure up, and that maybe I’m not that great at the gifts I have anyway.
*Side note – I’m pretty sure Satan loves this. He sneaks his way into our head through that tiny crack of comparison, and suddenly has access to much more. While he is in there, he wrecks the place. He fills it with wads of doubt, and boxes of envy, and bags of insecurity – all for me to sort through and unpack for a long time afterward. He is really good at this.
If I can shine some light on them, I would be able to see that those boxes and bags and wads have no place here, and there is nothing in them worth sorting through. Everything must go. That light comes from prayer and reading God’s Word. In 1 Corinthians chapter 12, here is what I read –
“You are Christs’ body – that’s who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your part mean anything… But it’s obvious by now, isn’t it, that Christs’ church is a complete Body and not a gigantic unidimensional Part? It’s not all Apostle, not all Prophet, not all Miracle Worker, not all Healer, not all Prayer in Tongues, not all Interpreter of Tongues. And yet some of you keep competing for so-called ‘important’ parts.” 1 Corinthians 12:27, 31 (Message)
“God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is. Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful…” 1 Corinthians 12:6,7 (Message)
My gifts aren’t shabby. Yours aren’t either. When we quit comparing, and focus on the reason for having the gifts in the first place, we can see the beauty. We can see how we can all work together to “show who God is.” It really is wonderful.
To be honest, I really loved the doll. It was a good gift for me. I just had to take my eyes off everyone else’s gift to see how great mine was.