A quote that has been floating around social media for a while says, “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life thinking it’s stupid.” How many of us have spent our lives thinking we’re stupid, not talented or have no skills to speak of? We usually think that when we compare a skill we lack in with someone who is above average in it. Yes, there are certain skills and talents that get people’s attention more than others. If your skills are not celebrated the same way, it doesn’t mean you don’t have them or are not as good or better than others in some area. Each of us have certain gifts and talents that we’re naturally good at. Each of us have been through unique experiences that have educated us in those areas more than others.
Another quote I like is from Ralph Waldo Emerson. He said, “In my walks, every person I meet is my superior in some way, in that I learn from him.” He changed how he looked at people by recognizing that each person is talented in different ways making himself available to learn from them instead of being intimidated by them. When we compare our desired talents with someone else’s natural talent, we will feel inferior and useless. That’s not how God made you. You have been uniquely gifted and given a purpose on this earth by God. If you spend your life trying to fulfill someone else’s purpose wishing you had their gifts, you will never be fulfilled and feel stupid like the fish mentioned above.
Paul wrote in Galatians 6:4-5, “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life” (MSG). If you’ve found your calling, sink yourself into it and be excellent at it. Don’t spend your life wishing you had a different calling. If you haven’t found yours yet, there are assessments you can take (spiritual giftings, DISC and Myers Briggs*) that can help you see how you’re wired by God. Make careful exploration of who you are, find the work you’ve been given to do and do your best at it. That’s what God is asking of you. He’s not comparing you to others, so you shouldn’t either.
* I just did a quick search online and found these. There may be better ones out there, but these are a starting point.