The Wasted Life of Comparison

Four women sat down at a table together.

The first was a stay-at-home mom. The second, a humanitarian. The third, a writer/speaker. The fourth, a computer scientist.

Said the stay-at-home mom to the computer scientist, “You’ve achieved so much! You followed your dreams and accomplished your goals. You are known and beloved in your field.” Then she thought to herself, As for me, nobody knows my name. I spend most of my time grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning. Am I wasting my life?

Said the writer/speaker to the humanitarian, “You put ideas into action. You get your hands dirty. You walk the talk. What you do changes lives.” Then she thought to herself, Who knows if what I say or write changes anything? Perhaps I should spend less time with my head in the clouds and get in the trenches. Am I wasting my life?

Said the computer scientist to the writer/speaker, “You inspire people. You get them to think in a way they otherwise wouldn’t. Ideas lead to thoughts, which lead to actions, which lead to habits. Your ideas change how people live.” Then she thought to herself, I sit behind a computer most of the time. I don’t interact much with people. My code makes everything run smoother and faster. Is that a good thing? Am I wasting my life?

Said the humanitarian to the stay-at-home mom, “What you do matters! Your children need you, and you’re there for them. You’ve sacrificed everything for their good. They are on their way to being wonderful members of society.” Then she thought to herself, My work is nothing but an uphill battle. The road is long, and we haven’t made much progress. On top of that, I don’t spend enough time with my children. Am I wasting my life?

On and on around the table they go. Each one romanticizing about the work the other is doing while wondering if she is wasting her own life. Each one never realizing that if she sat in a different chair and lived that woman’s life, she would be asking the same questions.

A New Perspective

Now imagine Jesus walks in the room. What would he say to each woman? Would he walk over to the stay-at-home mom, put his hand on her shoulder and remind her, “Motherhood is tremendously hard, but you are leading your children well. Way to go!”? Would he pat the back of the humanitarian and say, “You have been my hands and feet to the helpless. Way to go!”? Would he hug the writer/speaker and say, “You have encouraged my people. You have exhorted and equipped. Way to go!”? Would he high five the computer scientist and say, “You have worked with excellence and testified to my creativity. Way to go!”?

Or perhaps would he minister to them a little differently? Maybe he would order take out and share a meal with these women. Maybe he would love them without partiality. Maybe he would give them his word: Let each person lead the life the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. (1 Corinthians 7:17).  Maybe he would encourage them with his work: Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them (Hebrew 7:25).

But whatever he did, after he left, how would each of them feel? What would each of them think? How would each of them live? And when they turned to the other women in the room, what would each of them say?

What will you say, to the women sitting at the table with you? To the women you envy? To the women you look up to? To the women you look down on? To the gripers? To the nags? To the flatterers? To the dreamers?

Tweet this: “What will you say to the women sitting at the table with you” – Anna Sargeant #vergewomen

Will you look at them and love them? Will you remind them of Christ’s words? Will you pray for them? And hope for them? And dream with them? And fight for them?

May all of us remember that everyone is wasting their lives when their lives are not rooted in Jesus. All is vanity without the fear of God. And all is worthless without his word. But he gives us himself so that our yoke may be easy, our burden may be light, and we can find rest for our ever-so-restless, wandering, weary, wanting-never-to-be-wasted souls.

Tweet this: “Everyone is wasting their lives when their lives are not rooted in Jesus.” – Anna Sargeant #vergewomen

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