When you hear these words, what do you think of? What picture is painted in your head?
When I was growing up, I've often compared myself to other people. As a little girl, I would compare myself to the girlfriends/love interests of my crushes to myself. I remember praying to God, "Jesus, pagandahin mo po ako (please make me beautiful). Amen." I also remember that I felt competitive towards others with the talents and gifts I discovered. I wanted to be better with my studies, in singing, drawing, and writing than anyone else. Yet somehow, I was never the best nor the prettiest nor the smartest growing up... I graduated middle school, high school, and college always in second place (and I was even born as the second child!)... and I was really disappointed, especially at myself.
As years went on, I thought that I have finally found my niche- the one part of my life that I could be the best in! I could be the best in serving God, I thought. I could be the best in obeying Him, even better than others. So, that's how it became where I was starry-eyed and optimistic because I was involved in church work for at least twice a week, attending five o'clock prayers once a week (mostly during the summer), staying in church for more than six hours, leading Bible studies, leading praise and worship. It felt good to be good, and I was a little proud of myself because other Christians had dirty little secrets but not me!
Yet, although I thought that I was working the best that I could, I felt I was not good enough, even in church. I had no credentials and formal education to lead Bible study, I was singing in a congregation of only 10 people, I am rough around the edges, I have not the most polite mouth nor the most graceful actions, I laugh too loudly, and I do not genuinely like all children. One of my greatest pet peeves actually is spoiled and bratty kids!
Then when the transition period came when, along with my family, we decided to change churches, I was back to square one: no ministry, no service. To top that off, I was struggling with a really difficult break-up. For the first time in my walk with Christ, I felt I was walking backwards. All the talents, passion, and desire to serve, were still inside of me, but I felt weary of everything.
"Help my unbelief... "
One night, I had a dream. I dreamt about missionaries sending me a message from God. On a piece of paper was a simple, "God is thinking of you." There was more to the dream, but I really can't recall anymore. At first I wanted to pass it off as nothing more but imagination, but deep within, I wanted to believe that God really wanted to say those words to me.
That was a Friday, and in that evening was the Bible Study in our new church. That night was going to be our first night to attend any Bible Study for the past two months already, and I thought that I wanted to go. However, I started feeling cramps and a headache, and I thought about all the homework I had to do over the weekend. I first backed out. My mother and little sister were very disappointed but decided that they too didn't want to go if I were not with them. Then, an hour before the Bible Study, I began to feel fine and I asked God, "Father if I were to go tonight, would at least all the feelings of laziness and doubt go away? Even if it were just the feelings?" Soon afterwards, we were in the car bringing a bucket of KFC to our church member's house.
We had a great time eating and sharing with the group although we were new. The couple who hosted us was very gracious and kind and one of them was my co-teacher. After nearly everyone had left, I asked the wife to pray for me. I was really shy, but I was on a mission! Since I'm here already, I thought, I ought to just do what I came here for. "Sister," I said, "please pray for me..."
She spoke the most beautiful, yet powerful prayer. I felt that my heart was being revealed to even myself. From what I can summarize to you of what she said, God doesn't want me to compare myself to anyone anymore (" Galatians 6:4 MSG). There will come a time when I will be "comfortable in my own skin" and glorify God with my own personality, my own talents, and my own temperament. I am only asked to be still because He is my God and He knows His plans for me.
With those words, a ton of weight was lifted from my heart. To be still... and the blessing to be invited to come. And to come just as I am. To God be the glory!
"All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out." John 6:37 (ESV).