I was surfing through my social networks the other day and I realized how small I felt in comparison to all the people I looked up to. From friends to influencers, one thing I noticed in common was the nuanced dissection of mental models, the newest philosophical discussions, and the flurry of inspirational startup quotes. They all melted together into a large paint pot of complicated fraudulence.
But at the time, it had me thinking: what makes me better than them? I have always been competitive. When I was young, I wanted to be the most outspoken in Sunday school. As I grew a little older, I wanted to be the smartest in my class. Now, I found myself wanting to be the most successful out of everyone around me.
A pattern I saw myself constantly trampling upon was that especially when I admired someone, I inadvertently tried to BE them, and in many cases, lost myself in the process. What I realized was simple. I had begun determining my worth through my comparison with others.
I see a lot that so many people’s definition of success is just “to be happy”. But isn’t happiness still so unfulfilling? At the end of the day, happiness is fleeting and what my soul craved wasn’t the brevity of laughter. It was eternity with Christ.
So I had fallen into the pitfall of constantly chasing happiness. What ensued was expected. Countless sleepless nights were riddled with questions. Was I truly productive today? Have I done enough? What can I do better to be a better person? I was always chasing self-improvement because I was never enough. And in that aspect, I was right. Chasing happiness showed me: no, I wasn’t enough. I was never going to be enough. I always had something else I could prove.
Retrospectively, I look upon myself and ask WHO I was trying to prove my worth to. Myself? My friends? My family? Regardless of who it was, no amount of proving would be enough. But I realized that it didn’t matter. God had already approved of me. So what more could I need? What I was searching for was already freely given with grace unbounded.
I have always been a goal setter so I promised myself this year that I was going to make myself a motto to follow. After weeks of thinking, it came to me. Be a spiritually, socially, and mentally edifying person. And while I worked so hard to continuously achieve more and reach these goals I set for myself, I found my soul hungering just for Jesus.
I know God is good. I’ve witnessed His presence and His love. I’ve felt the peace that transcends above all understanding and I’ve experienced grace undeserved. Slowly, I have been working on tuning out the white noise of the world and setting my eyes on things eternal. What I learned from all my years pursuing God and trying to understand His will and heart was that I just needed to return to the beginning. Back before my heart was calloused and bruised. Back before I found an incessant need to prove myself. Back to where it all started, when I experienced my First Love.