Pulling a piece of a letter from a guy named Paul today about being yourself.

I don’t know how much you know about Paul but one thing is clear, he was a giant in the letter writing business. Part of this was out of necessity; it’s hard to go out and see people when you’re in prison for your beliefs and part was geographic. Unfortunately Uber hadn’t gotten into his area just yet. As a result, he got really good at writing letters but in doing so he may have built up an expectation that some didn’t think he lived up to once they met him.

Expectations and impressions are a heck of a thing. Don’t think so? How many times have you met someone in person and realized they’re nothing like you visualized from your phone conversations? Yeah, me too. How about the person who is a lion via email but a lamb on the telephone? That’s a little bit of what Paul is saying here to the people in the church at Corinth. Perhaps we expect the good writer to be a great speaker and that’s not 100% fair to them. We are who we are and comparison is a slippery slope.

If comparison is dangerous, comparing ourselves with those who pat themselves on the back is a bad idea all the way around. Ever get into that conundrum? If you have, you know what a losing battle it is. First of all we’ll never measure up to someone who, in their opinion, has the best of everything. We just can’t. Even if we have the same car or the same house or the same clothes, theirs is always better. Or they had it first. Or they somehow know more about their possession therefore we’re merely a newbie to the coolness of it. And really, this is not a class of people we want to be a part of. Constantly chasing the biggest and best and newest thing is an exercise in futility. Paul is kind when he calls this group of people “not wise” but unfortunately we often fall into this trap.

It’s easy really, to succumb to one-upsmanship. They just took a vacation to Mexico? We went to the Bahamas last fall. Your kid won the conference championship? Johnny was just named MVP of his league. And even if we don’t say those things outwardly, inwardly we’re probably doing it. Or worse we’re telling ourselves: ‘Mexico is so cliché’ or ‘They’re probably a win at all costs program’ or ‘Yeah, but their coach poaches all the best players.’ Not wise is an understatement and participating in this “competition” is an unwinnable situation. We just have to let go.

Let go of the measurements. Let go of the temptation to put our lives, our possessions, our families, even our happiness up against or next to someone else’s. It’s a futile proposition and in the end we don’t really know the whole story. We don’t know if everyone got sick when they were in Mexico or if the parents and the players all constantly bicker about playing time. We don’t know and it’s unwise to think we do.

The wise thing is to remember what that letter-writing guy named Paul said and be confident in who we are, what we are and where we stand. Our best approach is to merely be the person we were made to be. Leave the comparison to someone else if they want it. I think you’ll be a happier person.

I realize this is one of those ‘easier said than done” things. It’s human nature to compare I’m afraid. I hope this might give you some comfort and encouragement to resist the temptation and if you know someone that could use it, please pass this along.

I write every week about life stuff, some related to the bible and some not pointing directly back to it. If you’d like, check out more of my writing by clicking here. If you would like to receive an email on Saturdays with links to the week’s posts you can subscribe for free. Click here or do so at the blog and please don’t worry I don’t sell or share emails so you won’t get a bunch of junk in your in box.