I recently turned 38 in June and reflected that I was coming close to a milestone in age – that of turning 40.
It led me to reflect on what I possessed and what I have achieved in life so far.
I have a confession to make.
A few months ago, I found myself struggling with feelings of inferiority as I started comparing myself with my peers. I compared myself with the Christians friends I had and marveled at how God had blessed them. They had high-paying, secure jobs – some of them had held the same job for twenty years! They drove big, expensive cars and lived in big houses or costly condominiums. Compared to them, I had relatively little. My salary is rather low, which means that I still have to live with my parents (can’t afford to buy my own place) and can’t afford to own a car. My friends weren’t just materially blessed, but all of them also were married and had children, while I was still praying to God for a life partner and children, prayers which He hasn’t answered yet.
So comparing myself with my friends, they seemed to have the Singapore dream – good job and happy family – while I had failed to achieve the Singapore dream. I wondered why God hadn’t blessed me in the same way even though I’ve been obedient to Him and why my life hasn’t followed the same path as my friends.
Then God spoke to me. He said to me – “I don’t want you to be the same as your friends, I want you to be unique.” Humans are made to be unique, different from each other, and everybody was meant to have a different life story. Just as we all have different thumbprints, so God designed us to have different life paths. God spoke to me and gave me the conviction that He wanted me to live a different life from my friends, to walk an unconventional path, to live an out of the box kind of life and celebrate my uniqueness rather than being upset that my life did not match my friends.
God also impressed on me the fact that though I may have materially less than my friends, I was not inferior in his eyes. In fact, I have great worth in God’s eyes. The fact that I am a Christian means that I have been called by God, a calling that many others do not have. Because of my calling, I have become a child of God, become a daughter of the divine Father. I have great spiritual worth – I am a King and Priest in Christ.
In fact, my material poverty means I have get greater spiritual attention in the body of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul writes about how the church is like a body, with weak and strong parts –
“The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
God encouraged me through this passage, letting me know that I am one of the weaker parts of the Body of Christ that has greater honour.
God also told me to focus on my spiritual blessings. God told me through Jude 1 that I am called by God. When I reflected on that truth, I felt awed by God’s mercy and felt incredibly special, privileged and grateful for His calling. I compared myself with others who are not called by God and felt very grateful. I might not be able to afford to buy my own house but I do have knowledge of God and a relationship with the abundantly loving divine Father! And that’s a comparison that’s well worth dwelling on.